Chance Me for ED Duke and EDII UChicago

I am an international student from India majoring in Physics.

My SAT score is 1500 though I will retake it and I am doing A levels. I got 8A* in my IGCSE.

I have a blog on physics which has over 100k+ views, 50+ articles and 500+ website subscribers
I have been published in many science top magazines like science reporter and was paid to write for them too. I also write for a science website cosmobc
Doing research on astrophysics with a UPenn grad student. We are working on finding traces of satellites in astronomical pictures.
I conducted a huge workshop with HackClub where we taught people Superposition, quantum entanglement and Quantum computing. It was a success
I have also done a lot of tutoring. My students went on to get As an A*
Did a summer project where we taught uneducated people how to read and write
Then some leadership roles in stem and chess club and school house’s captain

For awards, I think my biggest is the 2 olympiads I took part in. One was the American math olympiad where I got the silver medal and country rank of 14th and the hummingbird science olympiad where I was the zonal topper. And I also won a big chess competition. Then the other awards are just filler.

For my essay I am planning on writing about my love for science, how it began and why and how it deepened especially in physics.(if someone could read it then it would be great too)

I need a lot of financial aid so my first choice is to just get into a good school which I can afford and I came up with Duke and UChicago. Though I was considering Amherst, Northwesetern too but I decided on these two but I am still not sure so can someone please let me know if I have a chance at these colleges or I should look to ed somewhere else?

You wrote this eight days ago:

UChicago is a large school in the third largest city in the U.S.

If you continue to vary your criteria this substantially over short periods of time, then whatever help you receive here may be wasted.

Nonetheless, of the schools you have listed in this topic, Amherst aligns best with your earlier criteria.


I don’t think Duke is particularly well known for physics. What is it about Duke that makes it your top choice? (You need to be able to articulate this convincingly in your essay).

Same “why?” question for you regarding Chicago.

Yea you are right but someone explained to me that beggars don’t have a choice. So I would really choose any school I have a chance at.

The people and their focus on research. I think they are in the top 10 of the world’s colleges with the greatest funding in research. Also the people and their culture. They strive to make the relationship between the professor and students stronger thus they have a lot of programmes like frunch where they give students 75 dollars to take our professors on dinner in order to build relationships. There are so many other programmes Duke has to offer so that the people get to know each other, make a strong bond and nourish.
For UChicago its because they are one of the best for physics and honestly the best for physics out of the schools which have ed.
But it might seem that I have made up my mind already but I do not know. All of this is secondary. A school being very good is secondary too. The primary thing is getting into a good college with good aid. So I just want to get into a good college ed that’s why I am here. I do not know if I have a chance of getting into these colleges. I know no one can predict my chances except the AOs but still one could give a good estimate based on which I could continue looking for more colleges or stick with these.

The schools you have been asking about on this thread and all your others have very low acceptance rates. No one here has a crystal ball. You have the credentials to be considered but being an international student and requiring full need makes your chances even slimmer.

ED to a school that meets full need for international applicants and is need blind. That’s a short list and was shared with you on your other thread.

Do a deep dive and be able to answer the “why us” type essays. Read the student newspapers, look at the differences with graduation requirements, understand what makes the school unique.

And most importantly, have an affordable back up in your home country. I know you don’t want to hear that but that’s where you should be spending your time and energy.


These colleges are just as selective as Dartmouth which you asked about in a prior thread.


Here’s a good estimate for an international student with a strong application applying for significant aid.

Step one: Google the college’s acceptance rate for the class of 2026.

Step two: Divide by three


Yea I get you. Reading about the student newspaper is genius, not gonna lie. Also why the graduation requirement though? I do not get its importance. But all of its good, I will write great essays and work my ass off to convince the colleges with my essays but I just don’t know where to ed. I feel so lost, and I hope you get it. Being an international student, I have really no one to guide me and whenever I ask someone on the internet, they never give a straight response and I am not well off to afford a college consultant that’s why I really need help with where to ed. From my past posts, you would have realised that I am a very confused individual so I keep on changing my schools. But anyways, thanks for the advice, I will make sure to implement them once I decide on the school (if i ever do)

Also, I have looked at backups and yes that’s something i do not want to hear and you got that spot on. But I do get its importance but I just feel people don’t get why I do not want to study here. Nevertheless, I have 2-3 schools here which I have guaranteed admission in. They are second-tier colleges but if I am going to stay here then I will be depressed anyway so I do not care about a good college if I am studying in India itself. I know it might sound really weird but believe me I have a valid reason.

Yea and maybe even more but that’s why I am so confused. I feel so lost, I almost feel like drowning with no one to save. I know it sounds over dramatic but I hope you realise that this process is very confusing especially for low-income internationals with no one to guide them. Whenever I decide a school, I feel I won’t get in. Like I know I have almost 0 chance in Duke/UChicago so once again I have started to not consider them. But when i look at colleges with higher acceptance rate, I feel I could get in a better college. Thats the stigma revolving around me. I just cant make up my mind. I really want to. I really want to chose a college which I love and start working on their supplements but I really cant if I do not know where to ed. I am so sorry for ranting and I know that’s not the right platform for the same but I just had to

Graduation requirements can vary greatly in the US. For example, U of Chicago has a core curriculum that every student has to take: The Core Curriculum | The College | The University of Chicago | The University of Chicago

Other schools let you jump right into your major and have fewer out of major requirements which can allow for more depth in your chosen subject area.

Other differences can be if schools are on a semester/trimester/quarter system which impacts pace of classes and the number of courses you take in a given year.

Course sequencing can also be very different.

I always recommend that students look at the 4 year plan of study for the schools on their lists. Most schools will map that out on their websites.

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That makes a lot sense, thanks a lot!!!

That’s good to hear. In your other thread you kept saying you didn’t have a backup/safety option, so if indeed you do that’s excellent.

This attitude will impact you negatively. If you do want to be a physics researcher you will need a PhD. And if you want to earn your PhD at a U.S. college it’s in your best interest to excel at your undergraduate college and then apply. You have a significantly better chance of getting into a funded PhD program than into a bachelor’s program that meets full need.


oh man, I didn’t think of that. I guess I was just too depressed about the prospect of studying here. I don’t think I would have actually done that. Also the uni here I am talking about, its famous in India, it’s just a second-tier uni in the world. There is actually no good research uni in India, all are grad schools.

I hope you are not using acceptance rates to draw distinctions in quality between colleges such as Duke (6% admission rate) and, say, Haverford (17%). With respect to student profile, these schools reside in the same general tier. And, if you have researched Haverford, as suggested in another thread, you may agree that its astronomical observatory is among the most beautiful anywhere.

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No, not at all. I was talking about other colleges which had acceptance rates greater than 50%, I know they are really good too. I will look into haverford.

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Haverford is a terrific suggestion (as an alum, I’m biased) and they do offer financial aid to a limited number of international students. From their FAQs for international applicants: “There is limited aid available for international students, making admission for such students especially competitive; however, we do meet 100% of the demonstrated need of all admitted students.”

It is critical that you run the Net Price Calculator (NPC) on each school’s website and read all of their admissions and financial aid information for international students closely. Good luck!

thankyouuu so much, I willl look more on the same

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As an opinion on selecting schools for physics/astronomy, consider giving additional attention to colleges with relatively dark and natural night skies and accessible observatories, such as, to varying degrees, Williams, Vassar, Haverford, Hamilton, Wesleyan and Amherst.

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Should I include that in why us essay?