applying to Tier 1 colleges...without a HS diploma

<p>I just realized a few weeks ago that my parents won't be able to pay my tuition fees at the international school I'm at next year--financial problems, stock market crash. My parents have earned around $35k/year (poor by Western standards..but middle class in Thailand) and received support from other family members to pay for my schooling...but my parents and relatives just lost half of their life savings in a few I guess it's not a choice. I'll need to leave for someplace really cheap--translating to not good.</p>

<p>And it's been a mess, because they decided to "keep this away from me" for "my own good"; the reality is, I need to find someplace to go to next year...and that's not much time to plan.</p>

<p>I'm a HS class of 2010 (currently junior), but I'm thinking of applying to colleges right away without moving to a cheaper international school in Thailand that won't offer any challenging classes anyways. Do Tier 1 colleges and Ivies (I know...really far reach) accept students without HS diplomas--given that I have a good reason?</p>

<p>Right now I have Bard College at Simon's Rock and Reed College (with their early admission program) on my list, but I was wondering if anyone knows of people who didn't finish high school but have gotten into great schools?</p>

<p>Here's my stats:
GPA: 4.04, valedictorian..and my rich school isn't offering me any merit scholarship
Classes: took advanced classes in math/science/english since freshman year.. doing IB Diploma right now..predicted score probably around 42-43
SAT: 2130 (taken 01/08) - 710 CR, 760 M, 660 W; I've been consistently getting over 2300 on the CB blue I should be able to get it up to at least 2250 when I retake in December
SATII: 800 M-Bio, took Lit and MathII this month
Clubs: Student Council President, MUN veteran, NHS leadership positions in 3 other clubs, 3> year commitment for all activities, starting a Mu Alpha Theta chapter this year
Awards: semifinalist/finalist for essay competitions, math awards (AMC, UKMT), computer programming awards, poster/graphics design awards
Volunteer: 300> hrs of work with the Red Cross, teach/tutors unprivileged children for free
Work: Technician, Pharmacy Assistant, Translator.. nearly full-time work during breaks and summer holidays to help my family out
Summer: Full Scholarship to Hong Kong University of Science and Tech.</p>

<p>ken, I think you would be a person of interest to many colleges. It's not unusual for students in America to skip their senior year or in other words to graduate early, but they do have to fulfill basic admissions requirements. First a few questions: What is your nationality? What is your ethnicity? Would you be prepared to apply in December?</p>

<p>I would also suggest that your parents talk to your school about a reduced tuition. We live in Indonesia and the same thing happened to many families here 10 years ago when the currency crashed. The international school was accomodating.</p>

<p>I'm 100% Thai. Have been in this international school in Thailand since KG. I would have three SATIIs, a good SATI result, and a TOEFL score ready. I'm not having much work right now, so I'll probably have more than enough time to do the essays.</p>

<p>I already tried talking to my counselor. She promised that she would bring it up in a faculty meeting, but its still a slim chance--my school has never given any form of scholarship or financial aid for 50 years (since its founding). I don't see any reason why they should try to retain me.</p>

<p>I'm a bit worried right now. So far, all the need-blind colleges and those that give lots of fin. aid to intl students seem to be the really hard ones to get into (and even though Stanford is my dream college, I don't think its realistic to be caring about names over money right now). Which colleges do you think I should aim for?</p>

<p>I would suggest the top liberal arts colleges (LACs). If you can get your SAT up above 2200, I'd say you're definitely in the ballpark for the top colleges. Your ECs are good, teacher recs are good (? I assume so ?), and scores are good. </p>

<p>Reed College is a wonderful place, very academically focused and Portland's really beautiful. Please seriously consider it (: It's very unique. You can PM me or contact me via email if you want to hear more.</p>

<p>I would like to know some of your other considerations, in order to suggest colleges. Is academic rigor important? Recognition? Job opportunities? What is your prospective major? [If you want to return to Thailand, I think recognition will be a big deal. In Singapore, not many people know about colleges like Reed.]</p>

<p>I believe a lot of top school do not care if you have a diploma ... they do care about how many college prep courses you have taken so if you have those covered you should be OK at a lot of schools. The bigger issue is having one less year of school means one less year of everything ... less classes, less ECs, less leadership ... you will not be given a break for skipping a year ... and in many ways it makes it a little tougher since you have one less year of accomplishments.</p>

<p>Yep..I'm quite sure that teacher recs are gonna be good.
Here's some more info:
Major - probably Neuroscience... or something Philosophy or biology
Academic Rigor - yes =)
Recognition - not so much.. i'll probably work abroad... not worth paying for an international school and coming work for a low salary in Thailand</p>

<p>Neuroscience is a rather specialized major, the best college is University of Texas at Austin (but it's a public university, so no way)</p>

<p>I would suggest:
- Swarthmore (Pennsylvania State) - Part of a three-college consortium with Bryn Mawr and Haverford. Highly selective, Extremely academically challenging. Very beautiful campus, with lots of trees.</p>

<li><p>Haverford (Pennsylvania State) - Part of a three-college consortium with Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore. </p></li>
<li><p>Pomona and Claremont McKenna (California State) - Part of a seven-college consortium. Highly selective, but not as highly ranked as Swarthmore. Offers a neuroscience major. Located in the city of Claremont, which is college town (boring.. XD) but 30 minutes away from Los Angeles.</p></li>
<li><p>Williams College (Massachusetts State) - Extremely selective. The ex-Prime Minister of Singapore attended school there before. Need-blind, so give it a shot (: Good for philosophy and biology. In some remote college town, there's nothing to do outside the college XD</p></li>
<li><p>Also Amherst College, its highly ranked, but I didn't look at it.</p></li>

<p>EDIT: Btw, Reed feeds many of its graduates into graduate school, especially in Biological Sciences. Plus, they have an awesome introductory Humanities course (HUM 110). :)</p>

<p>Haverford has very little financial aid for international students...</p>

<p>I think the University of Southern California has an Honors program where they admit students during junior year. I'd suggest checking that out.</p>

<p>Thanks for the suggestions =)</p>

<p>But I'm a bit unsure about Amherst and Williams. Our val and sal got rejected from their last year, and their stats were nearly the same as mine...and they didn't even ask for aid.</p>

<p>Do you think that I stand a "good" chance--or are they all high reaches? that I can also brainstorm for other safety colleges as well.</p>

<p>Thanks again!</p>

<p>You have a great chance. Start working on those apps now.</p>

<p>Check out Emory</p>

<p>Amherst and Williams are need-blind, anyway. But you should balance out your list.</p>

<p>How about Bowdoin, Colgate, Macalester, Carleton?</p>

<p>ken, I think you have to take a two pronged approach. Try to continue your senior year in Thailand but at the same time apply to a selection of colleges and see how your financial aid comes in.</p>

<p>Your parents need to be involved in the appeal process, not just you, even if there are language or culture problems. You should also contact other international schools in Bangkok. Money is tight all over now, but you are a desireable student and you are likely to get help. </p>

<p>International schools advertise the colleges that their students are accepted to. As a high achieving student you would be a "good catch."</p>

<p>I really don't know if your chance of admissions to top US colleges/universities would be affected by your early status. I would think yes, but it could be overcome with proper presentation. Financial aid is difficult to predict.</p>

<p>Like everything else involving money right now, financial aid is in flux, even more so for internationals. Your ethnic status is a plus, especially for Midwestern and remotely located collges that often use international students to increase their diversity figures. </p>

<p>I think Williams and Amherst would be within reason, but still reaches. I would also consider Grinnell, Macalester, Hamilton, Middlebury, Wesleyan, Carlton, Bowdoin. I assume from your name you are male. If not, add Smith and Mt. Holyoke.</p>

<p>Good luck and let us know how you do.</p>

<p>Checked out many of the colleges suggested in here, and the list I have for now is:
Wayy High Reach - Princeton, Stanford
Reach - Amherst, Williams, Swarthmore, John Hopkins
High Match - Reed, Kenyon, Grinnell, Middlebury, Brandeis (most don't have app fees =D)
Low Match - Hamilton, Colgate, Tufts
Safety - Bard SRC, U British Columbia</p>

<p>Are Ivies and Stanford/MIT/etc. even worth applying to? I'm quite tight on application fees and they're on my list only because my friends and counselors believe I should "risk it".</p>

<p>In my opinion, they've already got such a competitive pool of seniors to select from that my chances are pretty much zero--unless I manage to spin up some essay that makes the adcom break into tears.</p>

<p>@momrath, really appreciate your encouragement. Unfortunately, my parents are not really the "involved" type. They don't even know what classes I'm taking or what I want to do in the future. I doubt that they'll be much help--except for the financial aid forms. I'll probably have to fend for myself for now =(</p>

<p>One quick question, what did you mean by "overcome with proper presentation"? You mean essay presentation?</p>

<p>I would remove Johns Hopkins - I believe they give very little application fees.</p>

<p>For Ivies/Stanford/MIT - Pick two you really like and go all out for it. You stand a chance (: But I wouldn't take MIT coz your ECs and all don't seem science-focused.</p>

<p>I'm not familiar with the policy of the Ivies, Stanford, etc on early graduation. LACs are sometimes more willing to take a chance on a person with an unusual background.</p>

<p>By proper presentation, I mean a well crafted application, which includes essays, recommendations, resumes -- the subjective side of your personality. You need to communicate what you can contribute to the campus community.</p>

<p>If you decide to apply early then I would focus on the fact that you're ready for college, not that you've run out of money. The colleges would accept you because you are a qualified, interesting student who will bring an unusual perspective to the learning community. This is what you need to get across in your application.</p>

<p>If they accept you, they may or may not offer a financial package that makes it workable for you. The international aspect makes it difficult to predict.</p>

<p>For sure, they will not accept you just because they feel sorry for you so don't go down that road.</p>

<p>If you end up staying in Thailand going to a local school, or a less prestigious private school, it won't hurt your chances when you apply next year. Diversity is a positive -- economic as well as ethnic -- as is overcoming adversity.</p>

<p>Whether they are educationally savvy or not, your parents are still financially responsible for you. Include them in your discussions with the school administration.</p>

<p>I believe most colleges will waive application fees if you appeal.</p>

<p>Are you familiar with Questbridge? QuestBridge</a> Home Page
Read the FAQ about international students and early graduation. I don't think you can apply as a junior, but if you end up staying in Thailand, it would be good for next year.</p>

<p>PS, I wouldn't worry about your SAT scores. They're fine.</p>

Are Ivies and Stanford/MIT/etc. even worth applying to? I'm quite tight on application fees and they're on my list only because my friends and counselors believe I should "risk it".


MIT is need-blind for internationals, doesn't particularly care whether you have a high school diploma, and has top neuroscience, biology, and philosophy programs. For those practical reasons alone, I think it would be worth applying if you think you'd like to go there.</p>

<p>Entering college without a high school diploma is referred to as "early admission.". Many colleges actually have formal early admission standards/criteria. It is not as unusual as you think to matriculate into college after junior year of high school without a diploma or without having satisfied the graduation requirements. And I don't mean dual enrollment. In the states, many high schools will issue a high school diploma after a student who leaves after junior year completes the first year of college, if the number of credits and other requirements are otherwise met. This was far more common 20-30 years ago when there was less dual enrollment opportunites, and less high schools with AP or IB programs. </p>

<p>Kenflyken, LAC's are familiar with students like yourself, and some will have no problem with evaluating your application for admission for after junior year. But hurry up and get your applications in. And call or write, or email the schools you are interested in and ask about their early admission options. I left HS after junior year and enrolled in a small well thought of LAC. I had no problems enrolling in medical school 4 years later.</p>

<p>I know someone who left for Harvard before she finished her senior year! Best of luck.</p>