Chance me for RD Intl Relations JHU, Tufts, etc


  • white female
  • from rural Maine
  • middle class (by rural Maine standards)
  • attending public/private high school


  • Fordham EA for International Studies (absolutely rooked me on FA, so unless I appeal FA, not going)
  • UMaine Honors Program for International Studies, received a scholarship covering tuition and mandatory fees for being at the top of the applicant pool and for dedication to community service and leadership

Like an absolute moron, I didn’t ED anywhere.

Applied to:

  • Tufts
  • JHU (for the rejection letter because I’m ballsy)
  • American
  • William and Mary
  • Bates
  • Bowdoin

The majors I applied for/selected interest for were International Relations, European Studies, Eurasian Studies, and Poly Sci to fill the last option even though I cringe at the thought of it.

My school doesn’t allow us to take AP/IB classes until junior year. I’ve only taken honors-level classes when available.

3.89 W GPA (school doesn’t do UW)
Class rank: 3 or 4 out of 83
Applied SAT optional because I didn’t study either of the times I took it and didn’t want to submit a score in the low range for these schools :star_struck:

Junior year:
IB Biology HL
IB English HL
IB History HL
IB French SL
AP Calc AB
Latin III

Senior year:
(dropped bio because I took it for the credit; they fired our French teacher :neutral_face: so I wasn’t able to continue with that)
IB English HL
IB History HL
AP Calc BC
AP Euro
AP Stats
Latin IV, V

I got a 1 on the AP Calc AB exam because my teacher did not prepare anyone for it/didn’t have us doing anything since March.

This is where I will note why my GPA is unnecessarily low. Sophomore year, I got the opportunity to be a ‘student ambassador’ for my school at a sister school in Europe. Long story short, I left 6 weeks into semester 2 with two Bs (which nobody told me would be factored into my GPA since they told me I would finish my credits at the new school. So yes, still butthurt) because I progressively slacked off in anticipation for my departure. Anyways,


  • 3-month exchange program (I hate saying this, but the program was informal, and I was hand-selected by the administration) where I was the guinea pig for my school’s little experiment; note that this was an English-taught school
  • 4 years of varsity soccer (received regional academic team award); defense; said that it taught me the importance of sportsmanship and teamwork during losing streaks
  • 4 years of school competition cheering (‘most valuable cheerleader’ three years in a row)
  • 2 years of track if we have a season; short distance sprinting and javelin
  • 4 year Key Club member; former VP; noted that I created a fundraiser my freshman year used three times that profited around $1500 each time; somewhere around 300-350 hours solely through this; was VP the year my club raised $12,000 for a specific project
  • 4-year StuCon member; current StuCon VP; duties include putting on Homecoming, Winter Carnival, and Spring Fling under our own guidance and raising money each money for a different cause/charity
  • been a class officer every year (9: treasurer, 10/11: VP, 12: president); highlighted that I am responsible for fundraising for prom and our Project Grad trip
  • 2 year National Honor Society member (restricted to juniors and seniors); tutoring and helping local churches with community dinners pre-pandemic

I’ve also received manga cum laude National Latin Exam awards in Latin I and II.

My Common App essay was about being pretty harshly harassed about only speaking English, being told how ignorant Americans are, and how I study a dead language of which I have no apparent use for. Then I transitioned it to ‘thinking I was prepared to handle the onslaught when in reality it gave me an identity crisis.’ I wrote how I did pick up on the native language simply through immersion but never to the point of verbalizing a thought which somehow made me self-conscious lol. Then I blab about how my time there opened my brain to the world of diplomacy and other cultures and how I switched my goals for the future from pursuing bioengineering to international relations, foreign policy, and languages. It concludes with the realization of how important language learning is, the paths it can open for anyone, how important humiliation is for development in adolescence, and the self-prompted ultimatum I gave myself to become fluent in one language before I die. I foreshadowed the ultimatum by saying how the next school year I took French and Latin simultaneously to dip my toes in the waters of new languages.

As for my letters of rec, the two teachers I had were my IB History teacher who’s had me for 2.5 years, and my IB English teacher who has also had me for 2.5 years. My English teacher and I went together on the exchange. I have read it because I applied to a university in the Netherlands (conditional acceptance yay) where I had to submit the letter, and she told me to read it. It pairs well with my common app essay because it talks about me becoming confident as an individual and a student, my eagerness to try new things, and, as cliche as it is, my aspirations to see the world and meet people all from her perspective.

As for supplementals:

  • The ones that wanted something about what I can contribute to the school were meh.
  • For the ones that wanted something about my background and upbringing, I talked about how grateful I am to grow up in Maine despite the lack of diversity and how the chances I have had to leave the country by myself (solely thanks to my school) have given opportunities most people from rural areas don’t get before they turn 18.
  • For W&M, I wrote about being vegan for the health benefits, backpacking, and managed to slip in my favorite fish recipe with the expectation that they make it and tell me how it was when I roll up to campus in the fall (indirectly of course).

For the writing pieces, I kind of just wrote from the gut and went with it because I definitely don’t have much riding on these, so my personality certainly came through quite strong without getting carried away from what I can tell. I’m sure just reading this you can gauge my personality lol.

I’m not really sure where to put this, but, as I mentioned above, got a conditional acceptance from Maastricht University, the Netherlands for European Studies (waiting to hear back for the Global Studies major as you apply directly for the major) with the conditional being receiving 3 AP scores of 3+ (I can sub my HL certificates which is nice). Side note, anyone who is younger than a HS senior, seriously look into applying directly to international universities. They typically have the AP scores requirement and some nations are stricter than others (cough, Switzerland), but you get more bang for your buck, a crazy experience, and for non-science degrees, the program is 3 years rather than 4 in most countries. It’s a great way to go to a prestigious, internationally well-regarded university without stressing about American universities.

Anyways, I have been working on this post for 2 hrs and have probably overstepped the unofficial rules of CC, but I’m mostly curious as to what anyone thinks about my credentials and choice in schools. If you would like more info, lmk. If you are interested in something that I rambled about, lmk and I can give you my contact since you can’t pm me.

TIA :)))))

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You already have been accepted to one school from the below link and should get at least one more:

What does this mean?

Sorry, that doesn’t make any sense. I should’ve said semi-private. It’s public for people who live in district (what I am), but it is private for anyone outside of it (day and boarding) with an inflated tuition rate.

So that was a long email but you have a 3.89, did not submit a test score. Have good rigor starting in 11th grade. My take…it doesn’t matter as we are not admissions people. You will get in at American and maybe some $$, W&M but they don’t give OOS money.

Oh, and you’re not a moron for not applying ED - because if money is an issue and it sounds like it is - I would say that only morons apply ED. Yes, you’d get in - but many/most hit the financial aid donut hole…and people think their FAFSA shows an EFC of x $ and find out because of CSS they get a lot lot less.

I probably would have thrown other safeties in that are mid range and known to give aid - such as, for intl studies, South Carolina, Miami Ohio, Charleston (safety, etc). but intl studies itself is not a good major. Similar with the others. It’s a complementary major - meaning a good double major but it’s just a mish mash of classes that don’t prepare you for the workforce vs. Intl Relations which is a tad better.

If you applied ED, where would you have? But I think ED, unless you are rich or on a pell grant, is a huge huge mistake unless you are willing to pay up!!

btw U Maine Honors…save lots of $$, you’re going to end up in grad school or a low paying job…sounds like a winner to me.

Yes, it may be harder to find employment (or not) - but saving $50-60K a year is well worth that tradeoff.

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Thanks, @tsbna44 for summarizing.

You will get into American and William and Mary. I think you will pull Bates or Bowdoin. Tufts and JHU are less likely IMO.

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I should have clarified that I applied to these schools because most have reputable Russian departments which is my area of interest. International Relations as a degree can be a combination of a million things, but I would try to specialize in security, terrorism, and try to squeak in some high-level Middle Eastern classes for fun. I also chose most of these schools because they make you take 3-4 years of the language in the area of interest, in my case Russian. I feel like if I try to narrow down my interests in undergrad and be able to speak a second language at the level of a middle schooler by the time I graduate (in addition to the practically compulsory studying abroad), I will end up in a better place when job hunting in comparison to people in my grad year that didn’t (?).

I would have applied ED to Tufts (it was between that and American), but my counselor didn’t submit her things on time, and I didn’t care enough to change the situation. I feel poorly about myself on the ED thing since my friend got into NYU on practically a full-ride who definitely isn’t poor with very little rigor and ECs and no connections. I shouldn’t compare, but it felt like a missed opportunity.

Thoughts on transferring out of UMaine Honors if I end up with a strong GPA? I really don’t want to go to UMaine because my dad is a prof there and might turn into a helicopter parent which is why I’m less than excited about their offer. I’m also considering taking freshman year completely online through UMaine and move to an Eastern European country to start Russian properly and then transfer to somewhere in Western Europe.

Tangent: are you aware of the NSLI-Y program? The acronym stands for National Strategic Language Initiative. It is a State Department language immersion program that is not only free but pays you a small stipend. Russian is one of those strategic languages. If you want a language to influence future prospects I would aim for fluency, btw.

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And if language is your thing you should look at the Russian Flagships. These are the schools to go to and they throw more money at kids who do the flagship…in addition to what the post above stated.

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Russian | The Language Flagship

This is the website - but there are language flagships for just about any language. They are the best bet for one taking the university route.

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Haha, oh yes. Very well aware. Current semi-finalist for Russian AY and applied to YES too

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Thank you, very interesting. Somehow I haven’t heard about this. Definitely will look into these.

Excellent! Good luck! One of my sons did the Farsi program.

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Curious why Middlebury didn’t make your final list. Did you consider it?

A bit out in the boonies. I really didn’t want to move from one rural area to another and am in desperate need of a change of scenery.

Update: waitlisted at Bates and American