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What are my chances... (From the United Kingdom)

RonzoRonzo 1 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2 New Member
I'm currently in my penultimate year of high school in the United Kingdom (junior year I think) and I don't know too much about US college admissions processes. The exams in the UK are always government issued so everyone sits the same final exam at the end of each year and that final exam is 100% of my grade. For GCSE's I got six grade 9's, two grade 8's, one grade 7 and two A*'s. The top 4% of test takers receive a 9, top 8% for 8 and 10% for 7. Top 7% receive A*'s (highest grade). My ACT score is 34. Other extracurriculars include running my own charity helping homeless people (raised over £2000 =approx $2500), model UN, prefect in school, 2 jobs in catering and a job in a logistics company, one week internship at HSBC bank, one week internship at the Institute of Economic Affairs (biggest think-tank for economics in the UK), one week paid internship at Ernst and Young (in the top 4 biggest accounting firms), black belt in karate, peer mentor at school, helping out younger kids at economics clinic at school, mock trial. There's some other activities I missed off. My A level predicted grades are 2A*'s and 2A's. For reference Oxford university only give out a maximum highest conditional offer of an A* and 2A's. I want to major in economics and I'm doing an extended project qualification on economic history as an extra thing alongside school and it counts as half an A level. I'm looking to apply to pretty much all top 20 schools and I am currently studying economics, maths, history, and French at A level. I will also most likely need financial aid.
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Replies to: What are my chances... (From the United Kingdom)

  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6375 replies50 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,425 Senior Member
    Good news, there are plenty of people on CC who are very familiar with the UK system, as are US universities.

    I'm sure you already know that "top 20 schools" are extremely competitive, with pretty much all of them taking less than 15% of applicants, and many taking less than 10%, from very strong, deep pools.

    Bad news, needing financial aid + being international makes it extremely difficult. Most take ~13% of their class from international applicants.

    => There are only a tiny number of schools that won't consider your need for financial aid in deciding whether to accept you: MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Amherst.

    => There aren't many that will meet full need for international students. the 5 above do, and Williams, Swarthmore, Stanford, Davidson, Colgate, Vassar, University of Richmond and Duke all used to (& I think still do, but these things change from time to time); other posters may know of more.

    => Even colleges that say that they will meet your 'full need' get to define what that need is: you submit massive amounts of financial info and they make you a financial offer. Sometimes it really does meet your full need- but sometimes it doesn't.

    Your predicted A level grades are strong, and your ECs in the UK context aren't bad. But tbh from what you have posted, I don't see anything that is going to make HYP say "wow!"

    If you are pretty confident of a top UK choice, and the only reason to go to the US would be if you got into a famous name, then sure- send in a few apps even though the odds are long. On the other hand if you really, truly want to go to the US then expand your list past the ones that you (your parents/teachers/friends) know about, and look for schools where you would be a star.
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 1426 replies16 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,442 Senior Member
    This is a good thread from an English girl who went through the process of applying (successfully) this year: https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/international-students/2056643-finding-an-intellectual-college-for-a-clueless-17-year-old-p1.html
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,697 Senior Member
    More important is determining _why_ you want to study for undergrad in the US and why "top 20" schools (which would be a disparate collection of schools that could differ a lot.

    Also, as you're probably aware, meeting minimum requirements (or even blowing past them) isn't enough for Oxbridge, though as their admissions is much more like grad school admissions (to an American), you have a good shot if you are seen to have the potential to be stellar academically in the subject(s) you choose to study.
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  • RonzoRonzo 1 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2 New Member
    I forgot to note that I do have a green card registered to New Jersey if that changes things
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6375 replies50 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,425 Senior Member
    Well, yes...it moves you from international to domestic, which is a huge change. For a start, there are a whole lot more schools with 'meets need' financial aid for domestic students than for international students! Now the tippy tops are just ordinarily mad competitive, not insanely competitive.
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 1426 replies16 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,442 Senior Member
    When you say "I will also most likely need financial aid." do you mean merit or need-based aid? Do you have an idea of your family income? Have you tried running the net price calculator for any of the schools you are looking at? Does that make them affordable? You should do that first and then any advice can be tailored to your situation.

    If you need merit aid rather than need-based aid then your target list would have to be very different (generally a lower level of prestige - if that's important to you then Oxbridge would be a cheaper option),

    Also, have you maintained your green card by visiting the US every year? Can you explain any absences as temporary? Have your parents maintained their green card status? It's quite possible to have your green card withdrawn if you move and live abroad and don't maintain a close connection to the US (e.g. owning a house here).
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