european student with GED applying to Ivy schools

<p>Hey!</p>

<p>I am an international student from Europe. I have moved to US a year ago. I got my GED and applied to a local community college. I have completed 24 credit hours with a 3.0 GPA while working full time. I am really dissatisfied with my GPA. As much as I wanted it to be perfect, I was struggling with some immigrant issues such as: ESL, making ends meet and working two jobs, adapting to a new country.</p>

<p>However, things have turned out well and I am able to focus completely on my education now. My big plan is to enroll/transfer to an Ivy School. I have read a lot about how selective these schools are, but I am sure that putting my mind into achieving this goal will eventually work out.</p>

<p>Given my situation with a GED, how should I go about getting applied to Ivy schools? This is the point where I am confused and am asking you guys for help. Should I take the SAT tests and start from all over, or can I somehow transfer? I have a weak GPA and that's my problem. Would getting perfect scores on my SAT work? I know that extracurriculars and community service are very crucial, how can I go about that? I am eager to do just about anything, even if that means repeating all those 24 credits to even it out to 4.0 and enrolling in any kind of extracurricular activities. What do you think I should do? Any input would be greatly appreciated.</p>

<p>I respect you for juggling two jobs and a full-time course load all while dealing with the challenges of a recent immigrant. That shows some dedication!</p>

<p>Forget about community service. (Jobs count as extra-curricular activities, by the way, so you are good on that front!) If you want to transfer to a top university, your first goal should be to get your grades up. You can take the SATs if you think you would score well, but they are usually not required for transfer students with enough credits. And yes, you would have to apply as a transfer student. Unlike European universities, American universities don't let you start over with a clean slate.</p>

<p>Do you mind sharing your immigration or visa status with us? Would you qualify for federal financial aid, or are you restricted to four-year colleges that provide financial aid to international students?</p>

<p>I do not want to lie to you, it will be challenging for you to get into the Ivy League. Especially if you are looking at a 3.0 GPA right now. You sound smart and dedicated enough to attend an Ivy, but the Ivies get so many high-caliber applicants that they can admit students who are as smart as you and have had a perfect GPA all along. Sub-20% admission rates means that the Ivies reject many qualified applicants every year.</p>

<p>Can you share with us why you want to attend an Ivy in the first place? The Ivy League is a sports league... </p>

<p>If you want a first-class undergraduate education, you can get that at a number of other universities, both private and public. Stanford and MIT are as selective and prestigious as the Ivies, for example, but not part of the Ivy League. Most states have at least one public university that caters to the smartest students in the state (who might also consider the Ivies, for example). You can get an excellent education there and a degree that comes with the same prestige and job prospects as a degree from an Ivy. Those state "flagship" universities include UC Berkeley, the University of Michigan at Ann Harbor and the University of Virginia, for example. The state flagship universities frequently admit community college transfer students. There might even be a some sort of guaranteed transfer agreement between your community college and the state flagship university.</p>

<p>If you want a prestigious degree from a private university, you might be better off shooting for that prestigious degree in graduate school. The graduate degree is much much much more important than the undergraduate degree anyway. Graduate school also has the advantage that it is easier to pay for. Many graduate students get a tuition waiver and their living expenses covered in exchange for 10-20 hours of TA service per week, for example.</p>

<p>The only reason I can see why you might want to limit yourself to private universities right now is financial aid. If you would be considered an international student, there are only very few four-year universities who might consider you for financial aid, the Ivies among them.</p>

<p>You should make a appointment with the transfer counselors at your community college, and talk with them about all of your options. They help students like you transfer into good colleges and universities every year. Depending on your choice of major, there may be an articulation agreement or guaranteed transfer option available to you.</p>

<p>Thanks very much for the reply.</p>

<p>To answer your questions, I do happen to have US citizenship, which would mean I am eligible for financial aid and would not be considered an international student. Actually now I'm thinking why I titled this post as international student, well maybe because I feel like one, because adapting to US has been quite a cultural shock to me. English is my second language.</p>

<p>I live in South Florida and the top public school in my state would be University of Florida in Gainesville. That is a good school but I am focused on the Ivy's (any one of the top 10 most prestigious schools Stanford, MIT included). I know it is very very very challenging -- I have read a lot of stories of very talented and bright students who have not made it, but that does not discourage me to try. I have been working a year just to save money to come to US with the intention of going to a suberb school and if there is one thing America has taught me, is that when you really truly put your mind into something, nothing is impossible. </p>

<p>However, that is still a far way ahead of me right now. I have a lot of work to do, first of all improving my GPA. So let me make sure I understand what you are saying. The fact is that it is going to be very hard transferring from a community school to an Ivy, but improving my GPA would be the main thing, is that right? If I would improve my GED to 3.7+ and get perfect SATs and some volunteer work, how much would I improve my chances? I know that SATs are not included when transferring, however are they a benefit? Hell I would study all I could just to increase those chances. How about getting a perfect ACT in addition to that? What can I do? I know I can pull it off somehow.</p>

<p>Thanks very much for the reply.</p>

<p>To answer your questions, I do happen to have US citizenship, which would mean I am eligible for financial aid and would not be considered an international student. Actually now I'm thinking why I titled this post as international student, well maybe because I feel like one, because adapting to US has been quite a cultural shock to me. English is my second language.</p>

<p>I live in South Florida and the top public school in my state would be University of Florida in Gainesville. That is a good school but I am focused on the Ivy's (any one of the top 10 most prestigious schools Stanford, MIT included). I know it is very very very challenging -- I have read a lot of stories of very talented and bright students who have not made it, but that does not discourage me to try. I have been working a year just to save money to come to US with the intention of going to a good school and if there is one thing America has taught me, is that when you really truly put your mind into something, nothing is impossible. </p>

<p>However, that is still a far way ahead of me right now. I have a lot of work to do, first of all improving my GPA. So let me make sure I understand what you are saying. The fact is that it is going to be very hard transferring from a community school to an Ivy, but improving my GPA would be the main thing, is that right? If I would improve my GED to 3.7+ and get perfect SATs and some volunteer work, how much would I improve my chances? I know that SATs are not included when transferring, however are they a benefit? Hell I would study all I could just to increase those chances. How about getting a perfect ACT in addition to that? What can I do? I know I can pull it off somehow.</p>

<p>
[quote]
know that SATs are not included when transferring, however are they a benefit? Hell I would study all I could just to increase those chances. How about getting a perfect ACT in addition to that? What can I do?

[/quote]

That's misdirected effort. The two primary factors will be your grades and letters of recommendation. Make sure to make a good impression on at least 3 professors. You will need letters saying, "This is the smartest and most dedicated student I have worked with in years!"</p>

<p>I wish you good luck for the Ivies, but I urge you to have a satisfactory backup plan in case that dream does not come true. The transfer adviser at your community college might be able to help.</p>

<p>I would like to add a tid-bit of personal experience. As a Bryn Mawr student who has been quite involved at Haverford and the University of Pennsylvania, I can tell you that there is nothing prestigious about an Ivy education once you set foot on campus. I think a Haverford education is actually better than an education from Penn, except that students at Penn have access to graduate-level classes which liberal arts colleges do not offer.</p>

<p>Think about what you want from your education, and then find out where to get that. Blindly shooting for the Ivies is bound to leave you disappointed.</p>