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Chance me for Exeter, Andover and Dana Hall

laurasfelix28laurasfelix28 7 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
I study at the most competitive high school in my country, Brazil, and I'm planning to apply to PEA, PA and Dana Hall (for its horseback riding program) for 10th grade (to repeat 10th grade, actually). I'm a mixed-race Brazilian, with native Indian heritage and Spanish-Portuguese grandparents.
I'm in the top 10 out of 650 students, and I'm being often ranked in 4th or 3rd (let's say I'm not exactly very disciplined when it comes to my studies, so my GPA is not exactly the best), with a GPA of 3.97 -- or 9.45 in the Brazilian school system. During freshman year, I had a 4.0. I haven't taken the SSAT's or any of those tests yet, so I'm planning to take the SAT on December 7...
I'd say my EC's are pretty good:
Intermediate Cello Lessons;
Olympic Maths (making to the Brazilian equivalent of the USAMO, the OBM, getting an honorary mention);
Olympic CS;
Olympic Chemistry;
Olympic Physics;
Olympic Astronomy (with 2 Gold Medals in my country's national astronomy olympiad);
IYPT Classes;
Intermediate-Advanced Horseback Riding Lessons;
Calculus class;
IPHO TST'S Preparatory Classes;
Spatial Geometry classes;
Soccer (only freshman, but it was pretty important: I played for a major Brazilian team and got a few awards there, but I wouldn't say soccer is exactly my hook);
Rugby (only freshman as well);
Volunteering at a nearby Catholic Church, also tutoring adults and kids basic English skills and Portuguese.
I also do cross-country, but I'd say it's more of a sub-hobby than anything.
Awards:
As mentioned above, I've got 2 astronomy Gold Medals and a maths honorary mention. Apart from that, I have a 1st Trophy, two 2nd Medals and a 4th Medal in the Paulista Horseback Riding Competition (which is one of the most respected regional equestrian competition in my country). I've got a Silver Medal in a regional Cross-Country competition, but that's it.
Non-scholastic Accomplishments:
I'm the founder and current CEO of two LLC's with a huge --at least I think so :) -- profit margin (around 250k per year each). Moreover, I'm a second chair (hopefully first one day!!) cellist in a regional orchestra. I was the President of the Student Body during freshman year and 9th grade, and also student representative, being Debate Winner twice.
Rec's:
I'd say my recs are 8.5/10, since I don't really pay attention to classes, so my teachers just know who I am by my grades and the fact that I casually show up in their office to clear some doubts and things of the sort.
What do you guys think? Where should I improve (pretty sure the rec's gonna kill me)?
Thanks for reading!!
16 replies
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Replies to: Chance me for Exeter, Andover and Dana Hall

  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 1379 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Looks good. The two LLC's seem a bit suspicious. I personally find it hard to believe a 10th grader can start and run two successful organizations at that level. But hey, one never can tell.
    The math is a very strong component and the horse back riding is interesting.
    Being a Brazilian student is a strong plus.
    Financial aid might/might not be a factor based on the schools listed.
    No one can tell as PEA and PA are quite competitive.
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  • laurasfelix28laurasfelix28 7 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thanks!! I'll send them the receipts and the products that I sell, just in case. I probably won't apply with financial aid, so I think that'll help me a bit!
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  • CaliMexCaliMex 1760 replies34 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 11
    If you love Astronomy and horseback riding, you should definitely consider The Thacher School, where EVERYONE rides at some point and even goes horse camping in the nearby mountains. (The school owns 120+ horses).

    Thacher has an even smaller acceptance rate than Andover and Exeter, but they are very proud of their Astronomy and horse programs and would probably love you. (They have their own observatory and Thacher Astronomy students present their research findings at conferences where they are often the only high schoolers! Colleges seem to love the Astronomy kids at Thacher. Last year's crop ended up with acceptances at Harvard, Dartmouth, and Stanford.)

    On the Horse Program:
    https://www.thacher.org/programs/horse
    https://www.thacher.org/Programs/Horse/Equestrian-Team
    http://blogs.thacher.org/deepdives/2016/10/25/its-not-just-about-the-horse/


    On the Astronomy Program:
    https://www.thacher.org/news-detail?pk=1245298
    https://www.thacher.org/News-Detail?pk=1208731
    https://rtsre.net/ojs/index.php/rtsreconfproc/article/view/4
    https://rtsre.net/ojs/index.php/rtsreconfproc/article/view/6

    Thacher's cross-country team is especially strong. The countryside around Ojai, California, is pretty perfect for cross country. And in 2020 Thacher will be getting a new head of athletics: The coach who led Williams' women's soccer team to several NCAA championships https://ephsports.williams.edu/sports/wsoc/2018-19/releases/20190723jqtujv

    Also... If you are interested in girls schools with strong riding programs, you might want to add Ethel Walker, Chatham Hall, and Foxcroft. Grier might be an interesting addition, too. Their programs are just as strong as Dana Hall's, perhaps even better in some cases. Some of those schools might have a higher percentage of boarding students, which is usually better for boarders.



    edited September 11
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  • PrepDad2018PrepDad2018 65 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I'd recommend condensing your stats/selling points. They are certainly interesting, no offense intended at all. But items such as freshman level sports are not going to raise much interest and clutter the rest. As a reader you are throwing a little too much out there. Top student in a competitive Brazilian school, multiple awards in the maths and sciences, student body president, LLC CEO, and advanced cellist. That is more than enough to spark interest if well articulated.

    SSATs are a HUGE factor at PEA and Andover, I am not familiar with Dana Hall. So study up and good luck.
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  • CaliMexCaliMex 1760 replies34 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    SSATs are important, but as long as you score in the 85th percentile or above, you should be fine.

    All the top schools regularly reject kids with scores in the 99th percentile.

    Once you've shown you can handle the schoolwork by scoring at least in the 85th percentile, Admissions Officers shift their focus to your essay, recommendations, and extracurricular activities.

    You are much better off spending extra time perfecting your essay and excelling in a couple of ECs, than spending the same time studying to boost your score a few points -- as long as you score above the threshold.

    Having said that, you might want to take a practice test to get a sense of where you might land in terms of scores.

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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5718 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Kent and George also have strong equestrian programs, the latter on campus, the former a short van ride away (and a lovely facility.)
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  • laurasfelix28laurasfelix28 7 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Wow, thanks! I heard of Thacher before, but I never knew they had such a strong equestrian department! I'll definitely consider Thacher when applying. I'll also take a look at Foxcroft, Chatam and Ethel Walker!
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  • laurasfelix28laurasfelix28 7 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Yep, I probably will erase freshman sports and a few of Olympic classes. They're overloading my application, and making my hook go unnoticed... thanks, @PrepDad2018 !
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  • laurasfelix28laurasfelix28 7 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I think my SSAT scores will be just fine, since my school's pretty great at preparing students for general education exams. But I'll make a few practice tests just to have an overall idea of my scores! I'll surely spend half my time on my essays, but I'm just brainstorming ideas and having an initial notion of what to do and how to do it. Thanks a lot for the tip, @CaliMex !
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  • dropbox77177dropbox77177 266 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited September 11
    Only Exeter and Andover on that list can keep a math student at the rough USAMO level engaged. I'd take Dana Hall and Thacher off the list if you want to be around other olympiad level math students. Other schools that are strong in math and science (at the olympiad level) are Choate and Milton.

    If your ultimate goal is a top US college, keep in mind that once you are attending school in the United States you will be able to participate in the USAMO (or USAJMO for 10th grade) if you qualify through the AMC tests. Especially if you are female qualifying could count for an enormous amount when it comes to applying to college. Congrats on the HM in the OBM and good luck!
    edited September 11
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  • laurasfelix28laurasfelix28 7 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thanks, @gardenstategal
    I was already considering to apply to Kent, but on the flip side, I've never heard of George! I'll e-mail their horseback riding instructor so I know more about their respective programs. :)
    (oh my god, their facilities are so beautiful!!!! I'm in love with George and Kent now!!)
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  • laurasfelix28laurasfelix28 7 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    edited September 11
    Really?! Wow, I thought only American students were able to participate in the USAMO! That's actually the main reason behind my application to PEA and PA, because I'd be challenged every day, more than ever. That's what I want. But, I wouldn't really know what to do with my horse... I really love him and was thinking of bringing him to the school facilities, and without the presence of a school stable, my visits and stats would significantly suffer. :( I'm now looking for nearby stables, so my skill and his familiarity with my riding don't fade away that quickly!
    Thanks for poiting that out, @dropbox77177 !
    edited September 11
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  • dropbox77177dropbox77177 266 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited September 11
    @laurasfelix28 - No, you can definitely be from outside the US and compete in USAMO so long as your school is in the US. For instance, Alex Song was a USAMO winner out of Exeter all 4 years there (2012-2015, I think) and won IMO golds in all of those years competing for Canada (his home country).
    edited September 11
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  • laurasfelix28laurasfelix28 7 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Oh my! This is amazing, I thought I had to be American! My maths tutor even discouraged me from taking part in AIME, because of the fact that only USA-born could take the USAMO, or so he told me. Thanks for the info, now I'll definitely participate in AMC and AIME! :smiley:
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 1379 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Agree somewhat that not all BS's can offer the rigor for the math level that you are seeking. That doesn't mean there are just two schools that offer that level either( PE and PA). Check with the schools to which you are applying and see what they do with kids on the math circuit. You might be surprised to learn how it works ( each is different). Also, even if you qualify you might decide not pursue math alone as there are so many other options. Some kids take it outside of school and do camps in the Summer, some do private tutors, specialized programming and a whole range of other options. Many go and do a college level class or two. Some kids do things online, like MIT open classes or whatever interests them.

    Like sports, there's a lot out there in Math ( and STEM) based on the level of commitment and talent a kid has. For every kid who only does math there are probably 100 kids doing math at a really high level but not focusing on math competitions only. Some kids don't like the competition and some kids just want to do many things. That doesn't mean kids who aren't doing USAMO, aren't world class.

    Look at some programs. Some of these programs also tend to feed into others ( if you have taken one, you have a better chance of getting into the next one). Honestly, as the parent of math kids I find that math competitions are fairly limited. The kids are not as balanced or talented as those doing multiple things around various areas. But that is my opinion.
    One of my kid has been recruited to very high level math programs and has zero interest. Still keeps getting invites based on test scores. Finds the other kids to be coached from a young age by parents and tutors and not open to thinking broadly about problem sets. Many parents not born in the US are used to this type of tutoring and pushing. So many kids on the teams are American but have non native born parents. It's interesting.
    You can definitely find great math (and educational programs in general) at many boarding schools.
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  • RedLionessRedLioness 110 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @laurasfelix28 here's what I'm concerned about - are you only intending on applying to Dana, A, and E? If so, Dana will likely waitlists/reject you because they will perceive that they are a safety school for you and that you will not accept their offer of admissions if given a better offer. Moreover, A&E are very difficult to get into and you are not guaranteed admission, even though your stats are very strong.

    That said, I wish you best of luck! You certainly have very strong prospects. And may I also suggest UNC (or UWC)? Participants go to schools around the globe. I don't know that much about it, but I know @CaliMex has been spreading the news.
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