Help me!!!

<p>I'm an international student from Brazil and I sent an e-mail to Duke explaining that I attend a small school that offers no extracurricular activities nor honors and they aswered: "Thank you for your message and your interest in Duke. We do understand that the availability of extracurricular activitites varies greatly, and we will consider your application in the appropriate context. If you decide to apply to Duke, it's probably a good idea to include a short explanation (just like what you've written below) in your application. And of course we would welcome your telling us about your interests and how you spend your time away from school, even if your interests aren't ones you pursue through organized clubs or teams."</p>

<p>Do you think I should still apply? There's no such thing as GPA here in Brazil and my ACT is 32. I also need a great amount of financial aid (full ride) and I know they're need-aware for internationals. What do you think?</p>

<p>What's the social life like? Are there any good clubs nearby? Would you label Duke as conservative or liberal? Thanx!</p>

<p>What you have to understand about ECs is that it's not always about doing school-related activities, it's about participating in activities that you find interest in. Therefore, if your school does not offer any activities, just participate in something you like to do around your community, church, etc. I'm sure you'll find something that you enjoy. </p>

<p>As far as not applying, you shouldn't think about that at all. Definitely apply because you're not giving yourself a chance until you apply! As far as your school goes, Duke gets applications from virtually every nation in the world and they have admissions officers accordingly, so they pretty much know exactly what situation you're in and compare your application not to US applicants, but to other applicants from your area, so don't worry about someone not knowing what situation you're in by applying from Brazil.</p>

<p>Definitely apply! If you actually have a 32 ACT and are actually from Brazil, I'd say you have a decent chance.</p>

<p>There is no "social life". Each individual has their own social life...it can be reserved or you can go to frat parties every night. Don't expect very many classy ways to go out, though. There are some clubs for dancing but remember you have to be 21 to drink. Again, nothing classy. Duke is conervative for an elite university but liberal for the US in general.</p>

<p>Is it true that because I'm brazilian I have BIG chances? Why?</p>

<p>rfsmolina</p>

<p>I'm a Brazilian parent and know quite well the Brazilian school system. Being Brazilian is not bia hook. The competition among international students is tough. You will be competing against the cream of the crop from around the world. I've seen your other posts and you are looking at schools that accept 10% or less.
I'm guessing you attended a private school, is this right? Admission officers know well the top school in Brazil (mainly in Rio and Sao Paulo) and the international schools. If you have attended a school that haven't sent students to US colleges, will be important that your counselor provide information about the quality of education in this school (ex: how many student were accepted at top universities in Brazil).
Your lack of EC is a concern. ECs are not only activities provided by the HS. These are activities that you are interest in and invested a significant amount of time. It could be volunteer at a "favela" or help at a church, tutoring children at public schools, or sports, art, dance classes taken outside HS.
Another concern, did you say you graduate in December 2007? If so, what have you done this past 2.5 year besides work? Did you take any college classes? Any community service? Are you involved in any organization?
On the positive side, don't diminished your ability to learn Spanish and Germany by yourself. This is very import and you should consider it an EC, you more likely put a lot of time into it, make it look special. Also your written English is very proficient, which is quite surprising.
You never said what you wants to study. You seem to be more interest in knowing about the college social life and proximity to clubs. College is about academics first, the rest is what you make of it.
Pomona and U Penn are very different what attracts you to each one of them?</p>

<p>Here in Brazil, in order to get into college, all you have to do is get a very high score on a very hard exam called "vestibular". If you don't, you can try again next year and in the meantime you enroll in "vestibular" prep classes that last 1 year to get the score you need. That's what I've been doing this past 2.5 years besides working. I attended a private school in a small town (Franca/SP near Ribeirao Preto/SP, aprox 252 miles away from SP) that doesn't provide ECs and doesn't aware students about voluteer activities, therefore, we never even think about it. All they want from us is to break our backs studying to get that high score on the "vestibular" and put the school on the top list of the country. I'ts not our fault, we were "raised" like that. I guess the only ECs students in my town pursue are language courses and sports(non varsity). There are designated teachers at schools to help students who have difficulty in any subject, so there's no such thing as tutoring here (at least not where I studied).
I want to double major in political science and psychology and then Yale Law School, that's why I'm looking at top schools (my top choice is Brown).
Pomona= academics and wonderful environment, besides it's close to LA.
Penn= GREAT academics, social life and % of students that go on to attend top law schools.
Despite everything, I'm still appying to Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth and Tufts. But for my fifth and last choice, I wanna apply to a college that I have big chances to be admitted. So I'm still in doubt whether to apply to Penn, Duke or Pomona or to a safety (Lafayette College) but not THAT good academically. What you think?</p>

<p>I think most people at CC will agree that any college with less than 25% acceptance rate should be considered a reach even for the top students. Colleges with less than 15% is a luck of the draw for all students. </p>

<p>Since you need full ride
From Duke website
The university will meet full demonstrated financial need for a limited number of international students applying for first-year admission. Because financial resources for these students are limited, each year Duke expects to enroll 20-25 first-year foreign citizens who receive need-based financial aid."
"There are two applicant pools for foreign nationals: those not applying for financial aid who will be considered for admission along with US citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents, and those applying for financial aid who will be considered in a separate process for a limited number of places in the entering class. </p>

<p>If you need full ride your chances is less than 0.6% (25 out of 422)</p>

<p>I think you have very little chance at Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth or Penn. But is better to apply than regret later.
Tufts loves diversity, make sure you let them know why it's a perfect fit for you.</p>

<p>Although this is a Duke forum I'll post this about Lafayette:
"Lafayette meets the full demonstrated financial need of international students through a combination of loan, job, and grant aid. The awarding of aid is extremely competitive, and the need for such aid may affect the admissions decision."
Which means they are NOT need blind for international students therefore you shouldn't consider it a safety. And they WILL include loans in your financial package.</p>

<p>I've just got this e-mail from Cornell and it kinda gave me hope: "It is not uncommon for international schools not to offer extracurricular activities, so you will not be at a disadvantage. You may wish to send an explanation as mentioned in this email with your application."</p>

<p>So, I'm still applying. You're correct. It's better to apply. It's my dream, I can't give up right now. I'll follow the advice of a guy from another post to seek a counselor at an international school here in Brazil or at some private institution once they would have a better understanding of my situation and could give me a more accurate advice on what to do than any other people here could. Anyway, thanks for helping me out.</p>

<p>BTW: Where in Brazil are you from?</p>

<p>25 out of 422 is actually 6%.</p>

<p><em>4222</em> (class2013 profile)</p>

<p>I am sympathetic towards rfsmolina's situation, but I must say there is something oddly amusing about him/her.</p>

<p>I liked what u said. Could you elaborate more? btw, I'm a boy!</p>