International student with super complicated situation. What are my chances?

The complicated situation:
Ok, so in Taiwan (where I’m from and have lived/gone to conventional public school my whole life), secondary school is split by between 7th to 9th grade (middle school0 and 10th to 12th grade (high school). In middle school, my grades weren’t too bad, so my transcript for 9th grade shouldn’t be a problem.

Once I went through a long and stressful exams process to get into high school (10th grade), however, I realized how fed up I was with the archaic educational system in Taiwan that I basically gave up on regular schoolwork as a form of protest. But, at the same time, I realized that many international universities turned to SAT’s and AP’s or subject tests to evaluate a student’s academics. So instead of working hard in school, I worked hard on those instead.

I THEN realized, that even though my AP studies became more important to me, the fact that I still had to spend nine hours a day at school meant that I wasn’t devoting enough time to what I truly wanted to study, in fact it became a vicious cycle of failing school classes and not having enough time/energy to work on my AP’s (which I self-studied). So I applied successfully for homeschooling starting the second half of 11th grade.

So currently I’m a homeschooler. I’ll have official transcripts for 9th, 10th, and the first half of 11th grade, but homeschooled transcripts for the rest of high school (that’ll most likely be written by my parents who are both educators themselves). That means, the “official” transcripts will look awful compared to the homeschooled ones, and I’m afraid that’ll come off as biased or suspicious. My parents definitely aren’t afraid to be critical, it’s just that hated the system and curriculum before, and now that I get to study what and how I like, I’ve worked much harder.

I took the SAT for the first time on 5/5, and got a 1360. Won’t get my AP’s back until July but they shouldn’t be too bad (but I only took 2 this year).

In terms of EC’s, Taiwanese students only get to choose one club to belong to, so I don’t have a lot of clubs under my belt, and even if I did that would just mean I switched clubs a lot and didn’t stick to anything.

Was chosen for a school volunteer trip to Thailand during the summer.

City Youth Ambassador.

Want to major in philosophy but hoping to be a filmmaker in the future. So far I’ve made a couple video projects and I’m a photographer for our school and also some club events.

Will be a volunteer translator at an international performing arts festival in October.

Have ADHD and mild social anxiety, hence was not highly involved in “leadership” except when I directed the short movies we made. That was the first and only time I felt like a leader and did a good job, so I’m planning to write my personal essay on that.

Planning on taking a gap year to build up some more AP’s and extracurriculars, and hopefully get a better SAT score (my absolute dream school would be Columbia).

We don’t have GPA scales in Taiwan.

All in all, I’m gonna try applying to the New School and Loyola Marymount this year, what do you guys think my chances are?

I know this was super long-winded and complicated, but if you guys have any advice at all I would highly appreciate it. Thank you so much!

For the “homeschool grades” part, I guess if you have high SAT and AP scores, it will justify the quality of your homeschooling. So if you have high grades on both, you should have pretty good chances of getting into great schools.

Strong SAT and AP scores would validate your homeschooling grades.
That being said, not sure Columbia is realistic.
Will you be applying for financial aid?
You could always apply to Fordham, Holy Cross, various Catholic (especially Jesuit) universities since they’re strong in Philosophy, and some state flagships in states of interest and with good honors colleges. Finally, I’d add UNC Asheville, College of Charleston, St Mary’s of Maryland (all of which are public honors LACs).

@jh5829 @MYOS1634 Thank you both so much, I posted this so long ago with no replies I kind of gave up checking. Yes, unfortunately I am applying for financial aid, and quite a lot of it as well. My family can afford less than 10000 for the first year from savings, and less every year after that, so financial aid is a huge problem.

Only submit the 33 unless the college required all scores.
Any subject test taken in December?
Apply to Kenyon, Bates, Dickinson, Holy Cross, Grinnell, St Olaf, Gustavus Adolphus, but also colleges with merit scholarships such as Fordham, Loyola Chicago - CHECK DEADLINES for merit scholarshis as many were on December 1st, but there may still be some on December 15.
Perhaps College of Charleston, UNC Asheville, u Miami Ohio, Ohio U (with the HTC, honors tutorial college), UKentucky have Dec 15 deadlines?

Hi everyone! I’m an international homeschooled student from Taiwan, and would really appreciate it if you guys could help chance me.

I only became homeschooled from the second half of 11th grade onward, it’s a weird situation not justified by hardship but I think I explained it well enough on my Common App. Before homeschooling and under the Taiwanese public education system, my grades were, well not great. My homeschooling “grades” have been much better but I’m afraid that will just arouse suspicion, even though I know my parents (both educators) aren’t the type to go easy on me. So I’m hoping my standardized testing scored can justify that.

SAT (only try): 1360 (not great I know)
ACT (only try): 33
AP: English Language 5, World History 3 (might take this one again)
I don’t have GPA’s, before or after homeschooling.

Internship at an arts festival for three months, was the only intern still in high school (took advantage of homeschooling flexibility).
Photographer/videographer for many events both in and out of school.
Volunteer trip with my old school to the Thai/Myanmar border for two weeks and was group leader.
Youth Ambassador for New Taipei City.
Teaches acoustic guitar to friends once a week.
Mandarin to English translator, worked on essays, articles, a script, professional emails, etc.

I think it was pretty good. Wrote about how I’m not a natural leader but was able to lead well during a filmmaking assignment. Showed passion for filmmaking and gave insight to my personality.

Writing supplements:
I think most of them are at least ok. Was aware to come off as confident but not cocky. Wrote in personal anecdotes for each of the “why this school?” essays.

Managed to get a letter from my old English teacher before I started homeschooling, should be pretty good.
Counselor the other teacher rec are both written by my parents, so though they’re good I don’t count on their weight.
“Other recommender” letter from the curators of the art festival I interned at, we’re close so it should be very nice.

Financial aid:
Loads. Full ride or at least full tuition if possible. My dad’s a professor so I’m afraid that admissions officers might be thrown by our financial situation, but professors in Taiwan just don’t get paid as much as they do in the states. The maximum I can afford for my first year is less than 10000, and the number only declines after that.

Hope to major in philosophy and double major or minor in English. Applying to a ton of dream schools because they seem to have the best financial aid (Ivies, Duke, Amherst, Swarthmore, etc.). If there are any schools I should consider, any advice, or any words of encouragement you can offer, I’d be super appreciative. I’m freaking out here.

@MYOS1634 Thanks! I haven’t taken anything this school year yet since they only administer SAT’s at specific times in Taiwan. Can I ask why submitting other scores might hinder my application?

Try Earlham. They have reputation for giving need-based aid and also merit to international students. Your interests and educational philosophy mesh well. I don’ know how great their philosophy department is now but it’s traditionally been strong.

They produce a lot of PhDs in the Humanities. Maybe Columbia for grad school?

Because submitting the 33 yields merit scholarships whereas a 1360 doesn’t. Therefore, no need to submit the 1360… However, homeschooled students are typically required to submit two subject test results.
Are you a junior or a senior?
I’m hoping you’re a junior applying for Fall 2020?

@MYOS1634 Unfortunately no, I’m applying for Fall 2019. But to be honest, I’m prepared to take a gap year and try again if I don’t get in anywhere this year.
I did take Math II and Literature subject tests, but the scores weren’t that great (630 and 700). This might be a juvenile question, but is it allowed to not disclose scores from every test? And what about submitting the AP scores? I know the 3 on world history doesn’t look great but would the 5 on English Language help at all? Also forgot to mention that I scored a 115 on my TOEFL, hopefully that’ll look good compared to other international students?

@CCtoAlaska Hey thanks! I was just thinking of Earlham.I’ll definitely look into it more.

@Pcjetgenius I thought of it immediately when you posted. Earlham is known as a college for professors’ kids. Back when rankings were based on faculty surveys and not scores and such, it was #15 or so for national liberal arts colleges. The education is stellar but it has never been impossible to get into. You sound like someone who craves an amazing education but a little bit on your own terms. Earlham will give you that. It’s heavily international in comparison to most US schools that are similar but it does not skew wealthy international - its international student body will be more like you. Good luck with all of your applications!

@CCtoAlaska This is the type of info that I can’t find online, so thanks so much for your help!

I second Earlham. But… it isn’t for everyone. Make sure you really look into it and that you will be happy there.

It is a top notch education and good with aid… and… generally speaking test optional (although that may be test-flexible for internationals… but they will accept your 1360. And it won’t DQ you from their merit. They use a more broad-based rubric, anyway. Your ACT is good…and they might even let you submit one of your APs instead.)

But: the deadline is coming up, if you haven’t yet applied…