Expatriate Games - cont.

<p>This is a continuation of the thread "Expatriate needs college suggestions" -- concerning US children who have some or all of their secondary education in foreign schools. The topic has expanded somewhat, and now includes discussions about recommendations, PSAT, SATs, -- as well as colleges that seem to be more open to "unique" high school experiences.</p>

<p>If you're new to this thread, I encourage you to look at the old one, as there is a lot of good information on there!</p>

<p>Here is the response from PSAT that I received this morning:</p>

<p>"yes, you can contact a near-by DOD school to see if they would be willing to administer the PSAT to your daughter. if you provide us with a fax number, we can fax you a list of participating schools in Germany that you can contact and make arrangements for your daughter to test.</p>

<p>You should have your daughter indicate her home school on her answer sheet, that is where we will send her score report."</p>

<p>Binx - I was wondering if you feel any more sure about which schools to aim for given your D's situation. Like you, I read the Rice University blurb about taking into consideration more than just test scores, but I'm getting the idea that those tests matter very very much at almost every school. </p>

<p>Trying to help D choose where to apply for engineering has become a nightmare. I got her to post a query on the college search bit so hopefully someone will know schools that value cross cultural experience and understand foreign education systems. Many schools have told us they do understand and process citizens with foreign educations all the time , but then ask or say something which reveals that they don't! I was pleasantly surprised by the UCD site giving explicit instructions on how to report a British style education. D was not pleased either by the info on the test thread about internationals being in a more competitive pool. She already feels disadvantaged because of the difference in the way math is taught in Europe. Any thoughts?</p>

<p>Not Binx, but let me try to address this query:</p>

<p>I believe that a US citizen who has lived and studied abroad will not be considered an international student. </p>

<p>Elite colleges do have experience with foreign students and curricula (MIT, Caltech, STanford, the Ivies, BU all have many foreign students. They are most familiar with A levels, the French Baccalaureate and the German Abitur. Depending on the student's performance on these tests, students can receive Advanced Standing, though this is a matter to be decided after the student matriculates, as is the case for students with AP and IB scores.</p>

<p>My understanding of the Euorpean math curricula is that they are generally stronger than American ones. It is true that math is taught in a different way, but I actually like the European way better. Students who take AP-Calculus BC are on a par with European students, but those who do not are behind. My French niece, who was taking a social sciences track in her lycee, was exposed to calculus as part of her math curriculum (which continued algebra and geometry into 12th grade). Many students in the US do not take AP-Calculus. </p>

<p>There have been threads discussing engineering programs on the parents forum that you could look up. I expect that schools with engineering programs actually have experience dealing with foreign students and foreign transcripts.</p>

<p>Hope this helps.</p>

<p>Hello. My daughter (a US citizen) applied to universities in the US last year during her final year at an international HS in Wales. She did run into some complications, none of which turned out to be major. </p>

<p>We were in the US at the time so I do not remember them all...and she was admitted to all 5 of the schools where she did apply. She was in a more competitive pool for national merit (I think cut off her year was 222 for americans abroad; our home state was 210 or so), and probably for some other merit awards. One "complication" was that her school in Wales requested each student apply to no more than 5 US schools (too many forms for them to process), and that they wanted all apps to be in by early December. I think that she ran into a problem with some paperwork for a scholarship comp (intel maybe?) because the standard paper size differed (she ended up trimming paper down by hand!). And there was a US school (or maybe a scholarship corp - don't recall details) who required extra materials from her school regarding their certification (they provided it but were a bit "put out"). Luckily, many admission officers (and Deans) from US universities visited her school so she was able to meet with them and explain her situation, answer questions, etc. She is now a freshman at Yale, and hoping to save enough money from her 7 hrs/week job there to go back to the UK spring break!</p>

<p>Hope this helps, I guess that I should change my username to "2done" (but 2 more to go) Ellen</p>

<p>Marite - yes, I agree on the math, but D felt that no trig or calc on the SAT and having been taught less algebra disadvantaged her when she took it last year. I'll bet she could test out of a lot of math after finishing A levels, but first she has to get in with that low SAT score as she refuses to retake....</p>

<p>2applying - wow, good to know someone has been thru the hassle of "my stuff doesn't fit" right down to the paper size! I will have D read this and hope it makes her feel better. I'll bet your D had better SAT scores tho' to get into Yale. I would love it if they would only look at A level grades.</p>

<p>Hi!</p>

<p>I'm a freshman at Yale as well... I'm not an expatriate, but an international student who did the A Levels.. so I get to relate with someof your difficulties eg : "the hassle of "my stuff doesn't fit" right down to the paper size!"</p>

<p>USMom, most of the US unis will 'get' your daughter's qualifications. Of all the majors, engineering has historically had the most foreign students--my guess anyway.</p>

<p>What sort of engineering did she want? Did you say Chemical? You should post a query on the parents board asking parents for suggestions for chemical engineering programs for a girl who refuses to retake SAT, lol. OR something like that. You'll get heaps of responses.</p>

<p>Girl plus engineering is a hook btw.</p>

<p>Does she have particular interests? Big School, little school, etc? what about Univ of Michigan? Fantastic school with a wide range of students and engineering majors. </p>

<p>Are you going to visit any school?</p>

<p>For what it's worth, my husband is an engineer (mechanical) and had plenty of foreign students in his classes, way back when. He (and I) went to U. of Pittsburgh. We hosted an International Students Thanksgiving Dinner a couple years ago, which included international engineering students from GA Tech. Wash. U has a great engineering school - a friend's D goes there. But I have no idea how much they would weigh a low SAT (esp. math) score against other things. My best guess would be to try to get your D to at least take SAT IIs in math and physics, to show aptitude.</p>

<p>My sister's engineering degree is from Grove City College (masters from Ga Tech), and a friend's son is there now -- he had several years of high school in Germany at an IB school. He had high SATs; my nephew, who is also there, had much lower scores. But the school does have a Christian background, which may not appeal to everyone.</p>

<p>There is a school in Rome, Georgia called Berry College -- absolutely beautiful campus -- that does a joint program with Ga Tech. I don't know all the details; but might be worth a look. </p>

<p>No, I am no closer to figuring out colleges for D. I'm looking at some already suggested, and still open to more suggestions.</p>

<p>Cheers - Thanks for the encouragement; I hope you're right! I do feel stressed because as the American in the house, I'm supposed to know all this stuff already! D wants a swim team (Low Div 1 or Div 2 level), doesn't care about size of the uni but won't have a car, weather hopefully better than England's, and she will need financial aid. We can't afford to go look unless we know the money offer is do-able, but we did a trip summer before last and I can cetainly see the advantages of having a look. One school we all expected her to like we both felt was totally wrong for her. Sometimes, she will say she doesn't like just the name of a school, though... She also keeps saying she's not a classic "techie". </p>

<p>Binx Thank you for the info on GA Tech - Christian background is a huge plus and we didn't know that about the school. D has been a bit put off by all the negative stuff on another thread about the school - how happy were your relatives there? She is also scared about not being "geeky" enough for a tech school. And then there's the money... She will take SAT IIs in Nov, but she's drawing the line after that, so I just have to hope she'll find a way to do SAT prep for those. At least I've got her reading the thread about the Oct tests on this site. I will look at Berry College. I hope it's not a 3/2 program. I thought they sounded wonderful (3 yrs LAC plus 2 yrs engineering school and both a BA and BS in 5 years), but every engineer we've talked with felt it was a waste of a year and why would you need a BA? What does your husband think about that? Thanks again</p>

<p>No-- The Christian emphasis is for Grove City, not Ga Tech! Sorry to confuse you.</p>

<p>About Georgia Tech: We lived in GA, and visited Tech with my oldest. Also have many, many friends who go/went there. Has an excellent reputation for engineering. My D went to a camp there (invitation only) one summer in middle school sponsored by the "Women in Engineering" program at Tech. They are working hard to attract females. It was very well done, but both S and D didn't have a strong enough interest in engineering.</p>

<p>Drawbacks to Tech: It is geeky. They weed out lower performing students early on by the tough classes. There are more boys than girls there, and many jokes in the area about the nerdishness of both. The campus is on city streets (as opposed to an enclosed campus.) The positives are the reputation, the high caliber education, and the low cost. Have a (female) friend now in Emory medical school who graduated from Tech and loved it. And Atlanta is an "active" city with much to do. Ga Tech is not Christian (but, being in the south, not anti-Christian, either.)</p>

<p>My S is now a senior in college, so it's been awhile since we looked at schools with him. His attitude about Berry was, if he wanted engineering, he'd go straight to Ga Tech, not via Berry. So I can't remember whether it was 3/2 or not. Was just thinking that if the SATs were going to hold your D back, this might be a back door.</p>

<p>USmom:</p>

<p>If your D is not a classic techie and if there is a chance that she will want to switch to a different major (as many students do), she would be better not attending a tech college. It is possible to begin with an engineering major at many liberal arts schools. Ariesathena, a long time poster now in law school, double majored in chemical engineering and classics at Tufts. Take a look at state universities; some have excellent engineering programs and even for out-of state students, they can be less expensive than private colleges.</p>

<p>To clarify a point Marite made: in my experience, an American living, studying and applying from abroad is considered an international applicant. I am glad to see this thread - it can be lonely being the only family in school applying to a US university. Does anyone have experience in getting a UK school to supply a transcript? I have broached the subject with D's school and they are nonplussed - GCSE grades, AS grades and predicted A2s should cover it, they think. Does anyone have experience with Yale - specifically the statement that completed A level grades can be substituted for SAT 2s? I am assuming they are referring to A2 grades which would imply a gap year as those aren't available until summer and Yale requires the official grades by February. I did email Yale but no reply. And I laughed at the mention on the old thread about the tendency for UK recommendations to be less than effusive - I remember the headmistress of D's junior school calling her 'a most able pupil' - I felt this was faint praise but it turned out to be of the highest order. After so many years here, I feel I am billingual but maybe not yet...</p>

<p>No, Marite is correct. American-born citizens are NOT put into the "International Student" stats for individual schools. The schools want to give extra assistance to true internationals who are adjusting to a different culture. It's not a big adjustment for a student who has lived in the US.</p>

<p>American born internationals (expats) ARE in the (tougher) international pool for SATs, sadly. </p>

<p>They do get a special look in admissions at schools BELOW the tippy top because they add character to the student body. </p>

<p>Yale, however, gets heaps of applications from amazing kids all over the world so it's not a hook there or any of the other Ivies or Georgetown...IMHO</p>

<p>Samuck, haha, getting those enthusiastic recs is a problem in Anglican countries! Let me know how you fare!</p>

<p>As we will be back in the states for D's senior year, I think she will be up against US students at first glance. I am counting on some adcoms reading a bit closer to notice her background. That's what I'm hoping, anyway.</p>

<p>As for SATs and PSATs, if she takes them at a DOD school, I wonder if that will affect how they're categorized. Her scores will apparently be sent to the German school, so she may still be lumped with internationals. But DOD schools do have their SAT averages and such posted, and wondered if hers would be included? I think they are still considered US schools.</p>

<p>Experience, anyone?</p>

<p>We'll be in the states at Christmas, and I think I will look for the study books to bring back with us.</p>

<p>Binx,
If she takes the PSAT?SAT tests overseas, her scores will be lumped with the international scores. </p>

<p>Perhaps she could take some of the SATs in the US? Not sure which state you're going back to and what the difference might be...Wyoming might be worth the delay, but not California?</p>

<p>Also, you don't have to wait to go back to the US to get books. You can order from Amazon. Don't know if Ten Real SATs has been revised yet...</p>

<p>Cheers, this has been my experience as an international interviewer for Harvard: applications of American nationals resident abroad are handled in the same way as those of the non-Americans applying from that country. The area person is the same for both groups. On the application form, both must fill out the section headed "For students applying from schools outside the US and Canada (Regardless of Citizenship)." Admits are listed in the same category as 'Foreign Nationals (excluding Canadians) and Students Admitted from Abroad.' There are no quotas for international students at Harvard and I totally agree that residence abroad is not a hook at the top schools. The daughter who returns from Germany for her senior year and applies from the US will of course be treated as a domestic US applicant. Responding to another comment, there are many US expats who were not born in the US or indeed have ever lived in the US - how their adjustment 'back' in the US compares with that of a foreign citizen is the subject of a whole other thread!</p>

<p>How do you find out about the effect of where you take the tests? Why is Wyominging worth the wait bur not California? (Sorry to be stupid about this) </p>

<p>Samuck - transcripts from the UK, yes, we have created one with our school's help and that is what we used: GCSE grades and A/S level grades showing all modules and which test board and predicted A level grades. I, too, was wondering about "send your A level grades". We had a bit more of a problem because apparently my D was in the only year where a "humanities" subject wasn't required at GCSE level, but US colleges count Year 9 if there is any subject you need to show your child has taken in addition. </p>

<p>What do people think about Binx's hope that some adcoms will take a closer look at D's background? I would like to think so too.</p>

<p>From what I can recall after talking with the folks from National Merit last year was that your "pool" is determined by your school - not your state of residence or where you happen to take the test. This was relevant for two of our children last year (one was in boarding school in another state and one in the UK). They are very receptive to questions; I simply did a search for national merit and called the listed number. </p>

<p>This is different for some other awards. Presidential scholar program, for example, is another honor divvied out so many per state, but they determine your state based on the number of years you have been home or away. I suppose I could think of several other examples as well.</p>

<p>Is the overseas experience a "hooK"? I think it is like anything else. Having the opportunity is nice, but not nearly as impressive or valuable as being able to convey to others what has been done with the opportunity.</p>

<p>As far as Yale goes (in response to a comment above about SAT 2's) - this is a chance for the interested student to make contact with the overseas admission rep. Our daughter did take SAT 2's so I am not certain about the substitution factor. I don't really know how she reached the decision (to take the SAT 2's) but I do know that she was fairly active/proactive in e-mailing several different schools and clarifying the process and requirements. Having the exchange of e-mails directly from the student seemed to help establish a relationship which - as the year went on - ended up being rather valuable. </p>

<p>If I learned anything from the college admission process last year it was to let the applicant own the process. This turned out to be much easier with one child than the other. I still remember my hair slowly turning grey as we watched our son revise essays New Years Eve to e-mail them in before the stroke of midnight Jan 1! Interesting side note however...I traveled with D to U of chicago in early January (right before she flew back to UK). I was sitting in the waiting area of the admissions office and struck up a conversation with a gentleman who turned out to be the assistant to the dean of admissions (or something like that). I told him about our New Years experience and he replied that traditionally some of their best applications come in last minute...and are usually from males.</p>

<p>Usmominuk, Thanks very much for the transcript suggestion. I notice that the Fulbright Commission website has a sample transcript to give UK schools an idea of whats required but your version sounds more substantive. Did you warn the school at the start of year 10 that you'd need this or did the school go back and recreate it? (I'm a bit confused as to whether your student is applying this year or next.) I alerted our school in year 10 (or Lower Fifth) and each year subsequently that a transcript would be necessary but I know I will be chasing them up this time next year. I'm also intrigued by your remark about US colleges looking at year 9 - I thought only the last four years of school would be relevant. 2applying - I am guessing your d was at the Atlantic UWC - a fantastic IB school with an international reputation. Her experience must have been incredible - that school sends its graduates to top universities around the world. In contrast, my d's school, while 'premier league', is geared only towards unis here in the UK, Oxbridge in particular. While my d will certainly 'own' the application process to UK schools, I have had (very reluctantly) to take on the role of GC for the US side of things. All this advice on CC has been a lifesaver!</p>

<p>Hi All,
I have recently moved to Europe from the US, and I am taking classes at a well respected, near by college. I graduated early from my US high school as a Junior, once I learned I would be moving. I am applying ED to a school in the US, but I have a question. Do you think my being abroad will help or hurt my chances? Also, will the fact that I graduated a year early be frowned upon? Thank you very much.</p>