Overconfident International tries Yale and other T10s

Cmon, bring it, chance me

International student
Eastern Europe
Specialized Public School (Have to go through Mensa tests and achieve an IQ of over 130 along with entrance exams in order to be admitted)

Hooks: Aspergers? (dunno if that counts)

Intended Major(s)
Economics and History (best as a double major, maybe preference for economics)

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores
UW/W GPA and Rank:

None (I go to a central European public school with a system similar to the German one, but my transcripts will show that my grades are quite good - best grade possible in all subjects throughout high school except maths in sophomore year)

SAT Scores: 1540 (790M, 750R&W) - 1st take
English Proficiency - IELTS, taking in october, expecting 7.5-8

As many Matura (like the German Abitur, similar to Honours I suppose) seminars as possible

Self studied for 3 AP Exams (Micro - 5, Macro - 5, Stats - 4)

2nd place national Economics Olympiad (keep in mind that “national” means a country of 3-5 million people, so less impressive than it sounds)

Chair recommendation at an international MEP (best award possible)

Part of the Winner Team of the EP Ambassador School Programme

Outstanding Delegate at a well-known Polish MUN

Director’s Award (I’m told it’s like Dean’s list in America)

(5 is maximal possible for coalition, through which i am applying)

DofE International Award - about 3 years, Currently Silver, working towards Gold

High school specialized activity project - 1 year, Involves making a research project similar to a Bachelor’s thesis

Under Secretary-General at an MUN - 2 years (underSG only the 2nd one)- organizing the MUN, handling promotion, communication, and finance

Member of the Marketing team of a Student Non-Profit - about 6 months

Team member of a student project - creating a platform of freely accessible school notes for subjects in my country’s schools (now defunct - is that something I should mention?) - about 2 years

Assisting a history professor with a project about recovery of old photos - about 1 year

Essays: Honestly, probably one of the weaker points of the application. I am not that creative of an essayist, but I will get assistance and feedback from some teachers that may improve them.

School counsellor - 8/10 - there is no such thing as a school counsellor, so this role had to be filled by the assistant vice-principal. He knows me quite well, but he doesn’t do American applications, so it will be probably a bit unusual

English teacher - 9/10 - great guy, native from the US and went to some prestigious LAC = probably knows what he’s doing, and I was fairly good on his classes

Social Studies teacher - 7/10 - I think I was very active on his lessons and we understand each other quite well, but he also, like the vice-principal, doesn’t understand the system and may focus on things unimportant for the colleges

Cost Constraints / Budget
Income - cca 35000 dollars/year, will need full aid

EA - Yale
Safeties and Targets - European Schools (Charles University in Prague, University of Vienna, University of Bonn, Heidelberg University…), I’m mostly shooting for the sky in the US
ED2 - UChicago
RD - Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, Brown, Columbia, Upenn

I feel like the weakest part of my application is the fact, that it is largely Euro-centric, without such international programs as IB (since that used to be basically the only way Central Europeans would get admitted, and I feel even today the Matura seminars won’t mean much to the people at the AO)

So, is it worth it to even apply?

Guessing that’s a typo?

Is “fairly good” being modest? b/c I promise you a “fairly good” is not what Yale, etc are looking to spend their $$ on. You got the highest grade possible from this American teacher. S/he should be so impressed with you that they can say ‘this student is the student who needs and deserves the opportunities that Yale can provide, a student who will take those opportunities and make something of them, a student that will bring something rare and special to your campus and classrooms’.


If u averaged all by grades throughout high school, the ending result is about 1.05 on a 1 - 5 scale. I had just one lower grade in the entirity of my high school (2 in mathematics in sophomore year), so make of it what you will, i suppose.

Also, is that income too high/low or smth? My father makes about 1200 euros a month and mother about 800 (gross wage). This should be about 30-35k dollars/year (im upscaling bcs honestly i haven’t seen the completed CSS profile yet so I don’t know exactly)

But thanks for the feedback!

That was my guess! But what you wrote was three hundred thousand, not thirty thousand

My larger point was not the grades but the “fairly good”. Does your English teacher (who gave you top marks & is American, so knows what US unis expect from an LoR) only see you as a “fairly good” student- or an exceptional student?

Yeah, I see the issue now :smiley: , although I obviously haven’t seen the LORs, I think I was the most actvie member of the English teacher’s class, and both of us enjoyed talking about topics presented during class even long after class, so I’m sort of betting on his letter

So long as you have a number of good safeties where you would be happy to attend, go for it.

However, since you are requiring financial aid, you may want to focus on colleges which are need blind for international students: Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.

Your English seems pretty decent, and you have 750 on the SAT EBRW, so you’ll probably do well on the IELTS.

The expectations that colleges have in regards to the classes you take are based on what your country and your high school offers. APs and IB are simply considered the most rigorous course sets in many US high schools. If your high school is specialised, your regular courses are likely pretty rigorous.

AOs, especially at the colleges where you are thinking of applying, are fully familiar with the education system in your country, and likely with your specific high school (not that many high schools in any country which are specifically for gifted children*)

You are an international student without any “hooks”, so your chances are, unfortunately, very low, meaning at the bottom of the single digits. However, you should apply, if you feel like taking the chance. The best, though is to apply, assume that you won’t be accepted, and go on with your life. If you are accepted, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

BTW, as others have written - do NOT downplay your achievements. There is nothing to gain by being modest. These colleges are claiming to be looking for “the best” so you need to make a case that you are one of “the best”.

-* I have worked in advocacy for gifted kids, so I know what the IQ of 130 signifies.

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Isn’t this the qualifying mark for Mensa membership (i.e., top 2% of the general population)? For the schools OP is targeting, I’d imagine IQ of 130 would not be exceptional.


Not the individual IQ as such, no. But a whole school filled with above 130 IQ kids? That’s rare, particularly in Europe, where they have barely started testing and providing educational opportunities specifically for gifted kids, but have relied on achievement tracking for decades.

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Yes, I see. Thanks.

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Many could score at least 130 on some of the test. I am no great believer in IQ tests, BTW, for many reasons, so I look at tests like the Binet Stanford as no more than more sophisticated versions of the SATs.

So I don’t think that the OP’s test is not all that different than the use of the SAT for admissions to IMSA. The point is not the 130, though, it’s that the high school, like IMSA, is set up for kids who score very high on these tests, and so the courses all tend to be at a rigor that is comparable to AP and IB classes.

I wasn’t aware of the 130/131/132 requirement for MENSA until I looked it up online right now. tend to ignore phenomena like MENSA, since it is pretty meaningless. Identifying giftedness in kids is important since they have educational needs which are related to that. For adults, I don’t see the point.

In any case, MENSA uses it for the same reason - above 130 is considered gifted.

BTW, the curve is normalized so that above 130 is the top 5%.

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I also wasn’t sure about 130 (but somehow made the association) and had to Google it. Yes, I now understand what you mean about the academic rigor at such a school.

On a different note, I also noticed OP mentioning Asperger’s as a potential hook. Is neurodiversity something US universities look for in assembling a class (or is it something to be accommodated for for the affected individuals)?

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OP, an Asperger’s diagnosis is not a hook. Unless there is something you have done with it that has benefitted the community somehow (advocacy, founding some kind of group etc) I wouldn’t mention it. US adcoms don’t like to read about something that could be a potential problem, and you are not required to disclose a disability. But the university is required to accommodate you once you are admitted (ie if you need a single room, or a calmer environment for exams, that sort of thing)so it is not to your detriment not to disclose a disability at this point.

In a similar vein, of course they like to admit very bright students, but not on the basis of their IQ score - they want to see what you have done with it. Great results in rigorous classes in a very intellectually demanding environment, competitions, published work, that kind of thing.

Try to make the most of your US English teacher. He knows the ropes. He can teach you how to gush. The confidence in yourself you need to project is on a level that might feel like intolerable bragging at first to someone from a Central European culture.


And only on CC would people talk about a top 2 percent IQ (no, it’s not top 5) as not that special, could have happened to anyone. lol.

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Yeah, I suppose it isn’t that uncommon to pass that 130 IQ threshold, but it is a defining characteristic of our school, the principal designed our curriculum a bit differently, and I’m sure the vice-principal will make it a big deal in the recommendation letter (bcs or leadership takes prowess in it i suppose), so i thought it was important to mention it. But I know that universities, especially these top ones, don’t really take that into consideration, since apparently you can even prepare for IQ test if u have the money to buy the materials.

I didn’t quite understand how hooks work, I thought it was something that made your possibilities harder (i.e. being poor/from a marginalized minority etc.) so thank you for clarifying it. And yeah, I am relying on the US teacher quite a bit XD.

Sure, apply. I suspect your weakness is that I don’t see anything in your resume that indicates some kind of meaningful impact in your community or beyond.

As for your LOR’s, in general, the most selective colleges prefer one from a humanities teacher and one from a STEM teacher. You might want to reconsider one of your recommenders. The one who went to the US LAC is prob the better bet.

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A hook is something a college needs, or at least strongly wants. It needs athletes for its sports teams. It really wants US Black men for diversity. Asperger’s is not a hook.

Look again. They wrote 35 w/ three zeroes. That’s 35K

While you don’t want to undersell, you also don’t want to come across as unlikeable. Saying you attend a specialized school is fine. Saying you’re in Mensa or your IQ is 130+ is not.


Thanks for the feedback! I will be sure not to be modest in the application, and thank you for clarifying the thing about Euro-centric education. As far as I’ve seen on the Harvard website, which is the only one that allows you to view this information, the number of students in the undergraduate college from my country is less than 5, so thats why I was so unsure about their knowledge.

Thank you for the tip, but my humanities teachers don’t speak english, so the only alternative is the social studies guy, or the economics teacher, and the latter doesn’t know me very well.

Didn’t you say your English teacher went to an LAC? That’s humanities. You really need a rec from a science or math teacher. They don’t have to speak English. They probably use a great translation website. Many international kids apply to top schools. Your goal should be to ge the most stellar recs you can get.

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