Do You Think My Personal Story Could Outweight Somewhat Weak Extracurriculars

<p>Hello, dear CC Members!
This year, I plan to begin transfer process to a 4-year school. Not surprisingly, there is a number of related thoughts that consume my mind on a daily basis. As I've found this forum to be a found of information and helpful advice, I really hope you'll be kind enough to take a few minutes of your time to share your thoughts regarding my situation. </p>

<p>First, some facts:
1. 23 years old, female
2. International Student from Ukraine
3. Finished High School in 2004 (3.54 GPA)
4. Attended university in Ukraine for two years before moving to the US (4.0 GPA)
5. Have been attending a Community College (58 credits/4.0 GPA)
6. Took SAT in 2007 (Score: 2000)
7. Will retake SAT this Fall (Scored 2300+ on 3 Blue Book tests I've taken)
8. Plan on taking SAT II as well (Math II (750+) and Literature (???))
9. Financial aid is a must!</p>

<p>Colleges: Amherst, Bryn Mawr, Middlebury, Mount Holyoke, Smith, WUSTL, as well as a few others that claim to offer financial aid to international transfer students, all of which are, of course, very competitive.</p>

<p>From what I've read on this forum, as far as my GPA and SATs are concerned (assuming I do as well on the tests as I plan), I seem to stand a chance in the colleges that I've mentioned. Unfortunately, up until last year, I had had no extracurricular activities that are worth even mentioning. Elementary through High School, I attended dance and art studios, which is considered more than sufficient involvement by the standards of my country as our schools don't offer any extracurricular activities. As evident from my GPA, I didn't work hard enough to earn any academic distinctions. University studies are much more time consuming in Ukraine - I was in school 5 times a week from 9am until at least 4pm - so I did nothing but studied + worked part-time during my two years there. Finally, this is what I was able to accomplish since starting my studies in the community college:
- Business Club Vice President (2 semesters)
- Phi Theta Kappa member
- Reading Buddies
- Was elected as Business Club President for the next year
- Was elected as one of 8 Student Ambassadors for the next year
- Plan to join another club and maybe do some volunteer work if time allows
- Received "You Make a Difference" award
- One of 20 recipients of "Student Excellence" award</p>

<p>Now for what I consider to be the greatest accomplishment of my life. At a tender age of 18, I've decided to quit everything and try my luck in the US as an au-pair. It took me almost a year to persuade my mom, who wouldn't allow this craziness because we had neither relatives nor acquaintances here, to let me go. Finally, having just turned 19, I boarded a plane for the first time in my life and set out on what turned out to be my biggest adventure. The beginning of my new life was pretty tough: I had to change 4 families before finally finding one I felt comfortable with. Having settled down, I immediately started to attend college full-time, which my J-1 status allowed, combining my studies with 45 hours of au-pair work per week. The toughest part, however, is that I have neither been back home nor seen my family since I left. </p>

<p>I know that my chances are extremely slim as I am an international transfer student with huge financial need. But would you say I stand chance in any of the schools I've mentioned, particularly Amherst? Do you think this personal story of mine could outweigh otherwise weak extracurriculars?</p>

<p>Your EC's from the CC look pretty good to me, particularly the Business Club and Reading Buddies, you may want to incorporate them into your essays. Also, you may consider getting an internship and/or doing research in your related field. I think you have a decent shot at the schools listed.</p>

<p>Thanks a lot for the input!
I was actually offered internship by the marketing department of our college, which I'm planning to be doing throughout next year if they don't withdraw the offer...</p>

<p>Thats great. I transferred into Vanderbilt which gives great aid to transfers(Id imagine the same is true for intl students, but double check to be sure), not sure what you want to major in but you can look into their programs. I was a finance major at my previous school and will be majoring in econ at Vandy.</p>

<p>You have been studying and working full time. You don't need any ECs. Don't worry about that at all.</p>

<p>Great story!</p>

<p>Good luck with your applications!</p>