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UK applicants to US colleges?

anon2012anon2012 Registered User Posts: 71 New Member
edited June 2013 in United Kingdom
Has anyone here already applied to US colleges, or are currently studying at one (not as an exchange student)?

What did you do for extracurriculars, internships or competitions? Did you participate in sport or music? Or any Olympiads? What did you do about GPA or class rank? And which colleges did you apply to?

Do you have any advice for someone in the UK who's interested in applying to American universities? (Also interested in German universities, if anyone has any experience there. But I'm pretty confident with this part. :))

Thanks for reading.
Post edited by anon2012 on

Replies to: UK applicants to US colleges?

  • TheRealKEVPTheRealKEVP - Posts: 986 Member
    Note that university admissions departments in the USA will understand that foreign students have different qualifications, and they will be able to interpret your qualifications.

    No, you don't have a GPA, and possibly not a class ranking either, but they will understand.

    In terms of the other stuff, what did you do with your free time in secondary school? Did you just hang out with mates, watch TV, and play video games? They might not be too impressed with that in the U.S. If you did anything else (volunteering? working? clubs? sports? music? religious activities? ANYTHING?) be sure to talk about that.

    KEVP
  • anon2012anon2012 Registered User Posts: 71 New Member
    Thank you for the reply.

    I volunteer once a week and my hobbies are programming, reading about science, creative writing, and learning languages. Unfortunately I'm only in a club for creative writing; the others I can only do online. :( I want to volunteer more often, but there aren't a lot of opportunities for that here (either no vacancies, need a car, or during school hours), same with getting a part-time job (applied so many times over the last year). I don't really watch TV or play video games.

    If you're from the UK, do you know what sort of opportunities would be available? (I know it varies depending on where you live.) I would try the Duke of Edinburgh bronze award, but I'm already doing CAS for the IB (50 hours of service, 50 hours of sport, and 50 hours of creative activities). I guess the two could go together, though.
    I can't pay £500+ for a summer camp, foreign exchange, or volunteering abroad, though I'd love to.

    Really I'm looking for people who have gone through the US application process (or know people who have) and what their experiences were. Like how there's the "Class of 2017 ED/RD" threads and the threads of the other countries, but one that focuses on the UK education system, ECs, competitions, etc. as not every country has the same systems.
  • anon2012anon2012 Registered User Posts: 71 New Member
    I've just been looking at online, local, and European volunteering opportunities, but they all require you to be 18 or older.
  • TheRealKEVPTheRealKEVP - Posts: 986 Member
    Okay, it looks like you have quite a bit to work with already.

    You volunteer once a week. Make sure they know all about that. (Don't say "once a week" unless they ask). Let them know what it is you do with this volunteering work.

    Tell them all about your creative writing club.

    Tell them about the programming you do on your own.

    Tell them all about the languages you have learned completely on your own without any classes. (Remember, most Americans can't speak ANY foreign languages, so this will be particularly impressive)

    You have to learn to talk about yourself a bit more the way that Americans do. You know, that way that when British hear Americans talking they consider it "bragging".

    KEVP
  • killerheelskillerheels Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    My S has just auditioned for Berklee in Boston. All we did was get his college to send a certificated results sheet to a credential evaluation service and get his grades converted to the US equivilent. He is entitled to a decision to admit on this basis. There are two streams for application, the place and funding which is merit or means based. We need both!
  • peter1412peter1412 Registered User Posts: 154 Junior Member
    I left school in the UK in June 2012 and during my gap year applied to US colleges and was lucky enough to be accepted to University of Chicago. Also applied to Yale (waitlisted) and UPenn.

    As KEVP said, class rank and GPA don't apply to you unless your school gives you a specific ranking.

    I did plenty of ECs (music, sport, student government etc.) and volunteered as a teacher in India. I also did an internship during my gap year. I was a bit OTT with ECs but I just enjoyed a lot of things. Yes they put emphasis on the ECs but as long as you have some decent ones, which you seem to do, you'll be fine!

    I'd recommend taking the SATs as early as you can so you can take them a couple of times at least. This is one thing I really regret not doing as I only had one chance to sit mine as I think I could have done better. There are some good revision books out there (college board and barrons are good!).

    Which colleges are you looking at?

    Good luck and let me know if you've anymore questions!
  • verylumpyverylumpy Registered User Posts: 25 Junior Member
    good advice from realkev. work experience is the big thing in the UK - that can easily be one of your ECs - spend a week doing WE anywhere - newspaper, law courts, hospitals, research labs - apply apply apply - you'll get something. then dazzle them - and get a good reference. do something amazing that stretches you beyond what you think you're capable of - a triathlon, swim the channel, read all of proust in french, the inferno in italian, re-write 'beowulf' in jamaican patois - have fun! then make sure you learned something important about yourself you can use in your essays.
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