Please, help! Extreme Situation!

<p>Hello, </p>

<p>My name is Abraham and I am a junior in a private, Jewish high school in L.A. I am very interested in the programs, diversity, and beautiful campus UCLA has to offer. I am a 1st generation American/ Persian, so my English is not that great but I am getting better quite rapidly. But, I have recently been stressing over the fact of applying to UCLA or not (For Fall of 2013). The reason for that is because my high school does not emphasize on the strength of their academics and clubs etc. I have been in the highest level classes we can be in since the 10th grade.[Our school actually has the UC school requirements, but we have to go to school during the summer too, if we want to get the a-g courses.] In fact, I am taking calculus right now. But, the problem is that our school does not offer any AP classes. And since we start school at 7:30 AM and end on average at 9:30 PM, 6 days a week (excluding Friday's due to religious observance) it is very hard for me to reach higher levels of secular studies. I am currently self-studying for the AP English Language and psychology exam. And I know I will do well because when I have a goal, I achieve it. But what worries me is: I don't know if I am heading on the right track. We have no school counselor to help for this stuff! Also, my parents are very busy since we have a family of 8, so they do not really have time for this, so I have to take care of myself and my 4 younger siblings. I have also tried to make school clubs/groups; however, my school does not allow it. I even got a petition from many kids in my school that they wanted one of these groups, but no matter how many times i tried my school turned me down. Still, I have gone out of way to help my community and temple (volunteering), fundraising, setting up, tutoring, recycling, etc. Also, I took a practice ACT test and got something like a 28-29, but I am sure I can bump it up to over 30. Also, I forgot to mention I am planning on also self-studying AP Biology, Chemistry, and probably Calculus in my senior year (We are going to end at average 10:15 a night, so it will be pretty hard, but manageable). And if it helps I understand 3 languages, almost 4.</p>

<p>So I was wondering can you please help me. </p>

<pre><code> What can I do to improve my application?

   What should I be doing in my summer/ free time etc. (I mean, when I am not in summer school or studying)?

    What should I do about the Clubs, and AP's?

</code></pre>

<p>Please tell me of anything you think that can help me; I am forever grateful!</p>

<p>Thanks, Abraham.</p>

<p>Firstly, don't stress out! You sound like a hard worker. As for your school, the UCs will look at your application in the context of your school, so if your school doesn't offer APs, they will know. Secondly, explain your high school environment in your personal statement and that it's very non-traditional. Mention the fact that you have gone above and beyond; it will be a big point in your favor. </p>

<p>What can I do to improve my application?</p>

<p>Keep volunteering, and improve your ACT. This is more important than taking a bunch of APs. I would say focus on outside activities, GPA, ACT, over the APs. </p>

<p>What should I be doing in my summer/ free time etc. (I mean, when I am not in summer school or studying)?</p>

<p>Volunteer, work, intern, take classes at your community college, work with your synagogue</p>

<p>What should I do about the Clubs, and AP's?</p>

<p>Explain the club situation in your personal statement (if you want), and don't stress about APs. The application readers will KNOW your high school doesn't offer them! Also, get someone who knows english better than you to read over your app before you submit it. Good luck!</p>

<p>THANKS A Billion! I really appreciate this.</p>

<p>As a parent of a senior, the advice above is good--maybe even take a practice SAT in addition to improving your ACT score just to see which test best showcases your abilities. Also, if your school doesn't offer honors or APs, the UCs will know that (or you can tell them in your application). Do your absolute best in your other classes, straight As speak for themselves. Straight As this current final semester of junior year would be great if you can pull them off, that is MUCH more important than self-studying an AP or two if that self-studying takes valuable time away from your classes and damages your class ranking.
It occurs to me, have you had "the talk" with your parents about finances for college? It does no good to be admitted somewhere if there is absolutely no money to pay for it. It may be that your best option is a community college for two years and then a transfer to a UC or perhaps instead go to a school like Cal Poly SLO which is a great school and a lot cheaper. Forgive my ignorance, but I seem to recall some private colleges that would really value (and give scholarships for) your very specialized knowledge, experience, and training in languages and the Jewish traditions, you might noodle around here or post on the specialized boards.
Good luck, you sound like a hard-working kid, give yourself a break, I am sure it will all work out.</p>

<p>Thanks wordworld. YOURE MY DAD/MOM! SERIOLUSLY.. And regarding the finance... I plan on borrowing/ scholarships.</p>

<p>By the way, it would really cut out alot of stress if you tell me these private colleges!</p>

<p>Thanks again, and good luck for your senior:)</p>

<p>Does Yeshiva give scholarships or are you looking to go more mainstream? You have probably already been there, but you might try Hillel.org for financial aid possibilities for Jews. Here is a link to smaller $ opportunities, money is money!
Jewish</a> Scholarships There may also be additional resources because you are Orthodox.<br>
Also, one thing you may not have considered--the fact that you are a twin might get you a little money...
Scholarships</a> for Twins | Scholarships
Think outside the box, loans are NOT the way to go if there is money out there:
FinAid</a> | Scholarships | Unusual Scholarships
Good luck!</p>

<p>Well thanks Again. I will fish around and try to find something.</p>