Chance me for Harvard and Yale + other Ivies

  • International student
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Public high school (class of 2023)
  • South Asian Female

Intended Major(s): Hopefully something pre-law/literature related

GPA: 3.9ish? Our school measures in percent and I’m at about 94% for now…

  • ACT/SAT Scores: TBD (SAT is in Dec but practice tests indicate 1500_)

*(AP Functions, AP Calculus- taking them next year, four years of french completed, one year of spanish, and one year of mandarin)

Awards Best Delegate for HMUN 2021, Oxford Global MUN 2020, some writing competition awards, honour roll, first degree black belt in taekwondo, etc


  • Bookstore Job (customer service representative)
  • Linklaters legal intern
  • Canadian Civil Liberties Association - reviewed cases and worked with a team to review documents
  • Library of Congress volunteer
  • Law office intern
  • Volunteered to teach Palestinian kids English virtually (help kids publish books, hold workshops for creative writing)
  • Taekwondo
  • Clubs (feminism empowerment club- co-president, international students association- member, newspaper club- writer. PLANNING ON FOUNDING; a book club that also volunteers and improves our school’s really unfortunately limited library)
  • Tutored kids who were struggling due to the pandemic

questions I have

  • Any other ideas for some other literature based extracurriculars? (eg. self-publishing a book (this is just bc im passionate about writing lol id just like to do this for me. maybe starting a student publishing house?? freelance writing? book podcast? book blogger? no idea tbh all of these sound fun to me, lmk what you think)
  • Any ideas for law related extracurriculars? I’m not stupid, I know it holds no weight for law school, but I want to do this because it just seems interesting? There’s not a lot of high school opportunities for law related extracurriculars so hoping for some ideas
  • Is it okay if I don’t join student council? I’m sorry I do like leadership but our school’s student council is purely based on whoever’s older sibling was in it and also whoever is pretty so lol nope not happening for me I think? Also I don’t think I’d be genuinely passionate about it? But all my friends applying for ivies keep telling me to apply to join it
  • Is it okay if I have no notable accomplishments for taekwondo? I do it because it’s fun but I’m not a national athlete or anything?
  • What else can I do to strengthen my extracurriculars for Ivies?

thanks!! please dont be too mean to me! i know im young and naive lol

Can you pay for these schools?

Harvard, Yale and Princeton are need blind for admissions and also meet full need for international students. As a canadian, you will be considered an international student. The rest of the Ivies are need aware meaning your level of need will be considered when your application for admission is reviewed.

The Ivies are very different schools…are you looking at these for prestige and Ivy purposes or do you have a genuine and explainable reason for your interest in these schools…and not just…”they are Ivies”.

These schools have extremely low acceptance rates for international students…and many many qualified applicants are denied admission every year.

What other colleges are on your application list?

Penn is need-blind for Canadians

Based on your interest in literature, you may want to expand your list (although these articles may seem oriented toward creative writing, the descriptions offered often pertain to the study of literature in general):

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Just continue as you are, as long as your current schedule is not overwhelming. I know you don’t want to hear the usual advice that there are many great colleges out there :slight_smile: (check out the website Colleges that Change Lives). . I hope you can enjoy the rest of high school! You do not need to do more, you just need to realize that chances are slim for everyone.

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You’ve taken quite a few languages which is very impressive. You might be to apply those skills on the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad which is a highly prestigious contest.

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I also grew up in Canada and I did (years ago) attend highly ranked universities in the US. Based on my experience here are some thoughts.

First of all, do not worry too much about whether you are doing the right ECs. Do the ECs that are right for you, and do them very well. You might want to google “applying sideways MIT admissions” and read the blog that this will get you to.

Do not underestimate the quality and the opportunities available at universities in Canada. This includes the big and famous ones (Toronto, McGill, …) and the small ones (Mount Allison, Acadia, Lethbridge, …), and the medium sized ones also. Canada really does have an excellent assortment of universities. They might be easier to get admitted to than the top US universities, but academically they are very demanding and will offer a lot of opportunities.

I ran into a problem after graduating from MIT and later (for a master’s) Stanford that employers in Canada prefer to hire from the top Canadian universities and employers in the US prefer to hire people who have the legal right to work in the US. Do not assume that attending a famous university in the US will help you get a job after graduation.

Run the NPCs on the universities in the US and make sure that you can afford to attend them. The top universities in the US have no merit based financial aid and are insanely expensive unless you qualify for need based financial aid. Some offer need based aid for international students, some do not.

The top schools in the US will know how your 94% compares to other students in your high school and will compare you to other students who are studying in the same system. They will understand the Canadian high school grading systems quite well. Where I went to high school an average of 94% would have made you solidly the top student in the high school, but I do not know whether that is true where you are attending high school.


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