An English non-werewolf in the US

<p>Okay. So I'm not really good at the snappy witty titles. Sue me - actually don't. I'm trying to be an English lit student.. <em>sigh</em>.</p>

<p>All right. I'm attempting to apply to Yale, Harvard and Princeton, based on the needs-blind admissions policy extended to international students. Which is somewhat needed, even with the price hike in UK universities. </p>

<p>I have had -no- tuition in extra subjects as preparation for the SATs/SATIIs, and thus my scores are...well, 'room for improvement'. </p>

<p>I'm studying my A levels, which are a recognised qualification, and if complete would qualify as SATIIs. Only - they're not, we don't take the exams until the summer, and the results don't come in until August. Ho hum. I've taken AS levels- also a recognised qualification, and my GCSES - basically the same kind of standard as SATs, SATIIs. They're also recognised as a qualification, and are the only really 'broad' qualification I have. </p>

<p>I have GCSE -highest mark is an A*, then A - E</p>

<p>Art - B
English lit - A
English lang - A
Mathematics -A
Physics -A
Chemistry -A
Biology - A
French -A
Latin -A
History - A</p>

<p>AS levels - highest mark is an A</p>

<p>Latin - B
English - A
History -A
Classics -A</p>

<p>Predicted A levels </p>

<p>English - A
History - A
Classics - A</p>

<p>The English system isn't based on breadth so much as depth. Once we reach year eleven, and the end of GCSES, we drop six subjects to focus on four or three. (Three at A level)</p>

<p>I took the SATS, and it's my only chance at them. 1320 - 530 maths, 790 verbal. The verbal was expected, as was maths. I know the mathematics could be higher, considerably, but I haven't studied maths in two years, nor did I have time to practise mathematics, when I'm studying a full set of A levels. </p>

<p>Extra curricular - again, a problem. We don't -do- clubs, or positions in England, it's more the teachers organise something, you turn up and do it. So this is somewhat...different.</p>


<p>Second soprano in chapel choir</p>

<p>Debating team, and helping organise junior school debating. </p>

<p>Acting in productions - Grease, Guys and Dolls, The Tower, On the Razzle, A jovial Crew, Midsummer Night's Dream. Backstage - The Government Inspector, Servant of Two Masters. </p>

<p>Athanaeum - an elite discussion group, about seven or so 'Oxbridge' candidates meeting at the chaplain's house to eat dinner, and debate. </p>

<p>Piano - grade two</p>

<p>Flute - grade four</p>

<p>Ballroom dance - taking pre-bronze medal in February</p>

<p>Ballet - grade four</p>

<p>Tap - grade three</p>

<p>Training gundogs - under the overseeing of Peter Denny, gamekeeper. </p>


<p>And so forth...</p>

<p>We also don't have percentiles, or GPAs, I suspect my teachers will write down '4.0' as I have predicted A grades. I expect the essays to be easy enough to write with some practise. I'm aware my SATS are poor - I hope my GCSE grade maths will convince them, as will my teacher's note on my admissions entrance. </p>

<p>Any ideas as to my chances? What could I do?</p>

<p>No help? At -all-?</p>

<p>Dear Alice</p>

<p>Which school are you at? It sounds like boarding, a little Wycombe Abbey-ish... I have a somewhat good understanding of the UK private school system, and am applying to Harvard EA</p>

<p>Have you already decided where to apply? Indeed, are you applying to HYP all under regular decision (i.e. posting your app by Jan 1st 2005)?</p>

<p>If you are, then you still have the January SAT testing date and this Saturday, during which you could take the SATs again....</p>

<p>Let me know what's happening, and I'll provide better structured feedback in light of this info</p>

<p>Thanks for the response!</p>

<p>I go to a private school in East Anglia, Ipswich school. It's on the web, actually, so if you need a better handle on things - google it. It -is- a partial boarding school, but I'm a day pupil.</p>

<p>The test centre I use is Lakenheath High School, on an RAF base. I missed the cut-off registration date for the retake this week, because I had to apply for it a month in advance, and I was worked up about the -first- SAT. The December test date I take my SATIIs. I was going to retake the SAT in January, but looked onsite, and apparently, I can't retake the January SAT, my results wouldn't reach the unis in time. <em>sigh</em>. I also wouldn't have any time to study maths any further; I'm up to my ears in coursework for my History A level, and English essays, and the load gets heavier, as I take the first of my exams for my A level in January. Consequentally, I doubt my math grade would improve.. </p>

<p>I've chosen to apply to Yale, Harvard and Princeton, because of their international financial aid needs blind policy, and also because I'm really looking for the top, it doesn't interest me enough to bother with any other US universities. I'm applying to Cambridge, Trinity, to read English literature this year, and if I got an offer from Cambridge, conditional or not, I'd take it without hesitation. </p>

<p>I'm a year young, so instead of applying to a lot of universities (six max), I only applied to Cambridge this year, thinking that if I get turned down, I'll take a gap year, possibly take another A level, and work for the money for uni. </p>

<p>As said - I have English qualifications, which I've written out. My teachers are flustered already - it's really -not- common for English private school kids to apply to the US! I think they'd gauge from all my transcripts that I am an Arts based student, I have no interest in maths whatsoever, and if I joined the university, I have enough A grades at AS level to qualify me for over a year's acceleration. </p>

<p>Any help/guidance is taken, I really don't know how to go about this. I am trying to take the SATS, but not used to the format. We don't do multiple choice exams over here - therefore, if I had a piece of Latin, I could sit and translate it, answer questions, talk about stylistic devices in Cicero, or translate English to Latin, recite the declensions - but I'm still running scared of the Latin SATII! I can write an A grade A level standard essay - but I can't jump through the hoops, we have different criteria. </p>

<p>I've learnt to hit the goals on essays following the AO-system with English essays; making a point, using quotations, using the opinion of external source...</p>

<p>Frankly, if I get in, it would be based on English qualifications.</p>

<p>Dear Alice, I also have a UK education (9A*s and 1 A at GCSE, , A at AS level, 3 As at A-Levels - so I know exactly what you are talking about :)</p>

<p>I am an Oxford-person, so if I had applied to Oxbridge, it would have been Magdalene to read PPE</p>

<p>Judging from the info above, the following is my advice:</p>

<p>For the SAT IIs, I would recommend for you to take Latin, Literature or Writing - these are crucial for your intended major, and good/outstanding scores in these would at least cancel out the math score - and maybe history? or at least have a look at maths i (the easier one).</p>

<p>Yes, I know it's difficult, but you have taken on the monumental task of applying to both Cambridge and HYP simultaneously, and you don't necessarily have an outstanding chance of Cambridge acceptance (B in Latin, and good but not brilliant GCSE grades). Added to that is the fact you are at a private school and are applying to one of the (if not the) most competitive colleges at Cambridge for a ridiculously over-subscribed course (like the Humanities at Oxford)</p>

<p>If I were you, I would spend the next 2-3 months locked up at home, doing your coursework (get that out of the way) and spending 2-3 hours midweek and 3 hours on the weekend revising SAT</p>

<p>You have a very high chance of getting in if you have the grades, good essays, good recs etc - but these all require time and effort.</p>

<p>Additionally try to pick out a "hook" for your app, so that the content of the application is tied in with that</p>

<p>Do you have anything else that will differentiate you from the other applicants? Are you from a non-English background? You have to play up these facts to create a picture of yourself. These things may be second-nature to you, but to an admissions committee who have never met you, they will play an important role in relaying your persona, character, and generally, help them decide whether you are somebody they will want to have on campus next year</p>

<p>Anyother questions? Will help gladly!</p>

<p>Additionally, check with your test centre whether you can do a stand-by (I think this is the term) registration, where you register, and turn-up on the day to see whether there are any available spaces...)</p>