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Chance Me for U of T, UC Berkeley, Caltech, UCLA, MIT, Cornell, and Stanford pls

cm86881cm86881 13 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
edited August 24 in What Are My Chances?
Background:
Korean, Middle Class, Live in Indonesia (planning to go as INTERNATIONAL STUDENT), goes to a private international school. Currently in 12th grade and planning to apply as a chemical engineering major. Preferably, I am aiming for a scholarship as I don't want to burden my parents.

Grades:
GPA - 4.0 (have never had an A- my whole high school career, only A's or A+'s) It is weighted, however.
Class Rank - 1/20 ish
PSAT - 1380 (enough for a commended scholar, but not semifinalist in Texas)
SAT - 1520 (Got 800 for math and 720 for english, planning to retake this OCT)
AP tests that I have taken: AP Calc BC, AP Chem, AP English Lang, AP Seminar, AP World History, and AP Microeconomics (I got 5 for all of them except WH, I got a 4 for that)
AP tests planning to take this year: AP Physics C mechanics, AP Macro, AP Bio, and AP CSP.
SAT Subject: Math 2 (800) and Chem (790)

Extracurriculars and Volunteering:
I have joined varsity badminton (9th and 10th grade). I have joined varsity basketball (11th grade) and varsity soccer (11th grade). I joined JV soccer and basketball in 10th grade. I joined varsity swimming (1st-4th grade)

I joined after school band (9th and 11th grade). I also received awards for physics (11th grade) and social science (10th and 11th) from school as a stellar student (only 1 per class).

I have joined orphanage visits led by my church when I was in elementary and middle school.

I also helped out with bake sales, been a scoreboard keeper for major sports competitions held in our school, have participated in beach conservation efforts (2 years) in a nearby coastal city (planted coral) and another island (making signs to stop littering), planted trees in the coastal city (Banyuwangi), and made gift baskets to give back to the school staff as a way of thanking them (69 staff and each received a basket of quite a bit of goodies, the baskets weighed more than 3 kilograms).

STUCO (HS) 10-12th grade (Became secretary in 11th grade and president in 12th grade)
GIN - 8th grade and 12th grade
World scholars cup global qualifier - 8th grade
MS STUCO 6-8th grade
NJHS 8th-9th grade
NHS 11th-12th grade (secretary in 12th grade)

I helped organize a fundraiser that raised over $10,000 in two days. I helped organize this for two years and acted as a liaison for large corporations to collaborate and create this fundraiser for multiple charities. Got the whole school to be involved in the fundraiser and even got the head of school to approve that one regular school day would be dedicated to this fundraiser.

I also acted as a representative/medium for the students to have a voice when there was an administrative problem with the school and when a Head of School got fired. (We helped solve the problem and prevented the head from getting permanently fired).

I am planning to get 5 letters of recommendation (1 from math teacher, 1 from science, 1 from social science, 1 from english, and 1 from the counselor/maybe head of school?)
edited August 24
45 replies
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Replies to: Chance Me for U of T, UC Berkeley, Caltech, UCLA, MIT, Cornell, and Stanford pls

  • HamurtleHamurtle 2453 replies32 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    International student needing some form of financial aid is the anti-hook. Even with decent test grades/test scores.

    The ECs don’t really scream science or engineering major even though it looks to be a lot of community service. More than is typical of an international student.

    Finally 5 LoRs are absolute overkill. At most 3 are needed.
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  • GumbymomGumbymom 27663 replies152 threadsForum Champion UC Forum Champion
    What is your college budget? I cannot comment on the other schools but UCLA/UCB give mainly need-based aid to in-state California students. Merit scholarships are small, few are available and very competitive so plan to pay full fees at $65K/year to attend. You are competitive for the California UC’s academically, but nothing else stands out. I would find out what your parents are willing to pay and then target the schools that will meet your need.
    Best of luck.
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  • cm86881cm86881 13 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Hey thanks for your replies, so if I were to ask my parents to fund my schools would I be able to get into some of the schools I've listed? Btw I don't really know what LoRs are because I'm fairly new to this website. Sorry for asking so much but can I ask what would help me stand out and get accepted into these dream schools?
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6590 replies54 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    LOR = Letter of Recommendation. Do NOT send 5. More does *not* equal better. The applications usually want one from the school and 2 from teachers. Follow their advice.
    ECs before Grade 9 are not relevant to university applications.

    Having the money in itself won't get you in anywhere, it just makes it (somewhat) less difficult.

    You have two types of schools:

    UCLA, UCB & UT: State funded schools who will not give you meaningful money.
    CalTech, Stanford, Cornell, MIT: Privately funded schools who could give you money.

    All of them (except Cornell, which has some differences from the others) accept less than 10% of their applicants, and have 7-15% international students. So, you are looking at 7-15% of the 10%. Rule of thumb is to halve your odds if you are international. You have excellent grades and test scores, but so do thousands of other students. What stands out about *you*? we can't know that, and it is hard to figure out from your ECs, which from here comes across as a good kid who is active in the community and is modestly athletic. Nothing to give any idea why you want to do ChemEng.

    MIT has some great admission blogs on their website- go read them.
    Also, figure out what you *really* want: if you only want to come to the US if you can get into a top-tier place, that's completely fair. If you want to come the US for university no matter what, you need to also look much farther afield. There are places with names you don't know who would be delighted to have you, and some of them would be happy to help pay for you to come.
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  • cm86881cm86881 13 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Hey, thanks for the response! I'm starting to get a clearer picture of what I should do. Right now, I am mostly planning to apply to the US or Canada for top tier universities. If I can't get into these ones, I would apply to Seoul National University, which has a decent Chemical Engineering course. However, I would much rather prefer the environment and language use of the United States, it is much more convenient. Do you guys think I can do anything as of now to help me stand out as a ChemEng student? I really want to try my best to get into these universities. Sorry for the troubles. :)
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3985 replies86 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I would stick to SNU. Save the money for grad school here in the US.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29248 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    There are only a handful of schools here in the US that are need blind for admissions for internationals. So, yes, bring full pay makes a huge difference in your chances at all but those schools. Do your research. Also, skmrvschools have country quotas for international students. Korea is over represented. Sobthose things cut down on your already low chances at these selective schools.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3985 replies86 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I guess from this side of the fence, it's a no-brainer if you're going to be admitted to SNU to go there. The top school in the country, outstanding reputation in the world university rankings. Tuition is what, like $4-5K US a year, and you can easily get a nice living arrangement for $500 US a month. You add up 4 years, that's probably no more than $40K US. As opposed to spending a minimum of $250K on those schools you mentioned - unless you get a scholarship, they're all going to cost $60-75K a year before any transportation costs. A $200K savings can let you do a lot of things for post-graduate work.
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2453 replies32 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 28
    Agree with @ProfessorPlum168. If you are guaranteed admissions to a SKY school, take it and save the money.

    Go for a funded graduate program in the US if you can get good grades at SNU.
    edited August 28
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  • cm86881cm86881 13 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    But there is one issue: I'm not that very proficient in Korean. I was born in Indonesia and attended an English-speaking school for my whole life, so I am most accustomed to speaking English. What do you guys think I should do?
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2453 replies32 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 28
    I don’t know what the OP’s visa status/citizenship is, but he should try colleges in Hong Kong or Singapore where the language of instruction is English. Nanyang Technological University is highly rated in the APAC region.

    Given the political situation in Hong Kong, I might not want to apply to schools there, but the University of Hong Kong and HKUST should be considered as well.
    edited August 28
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  • cm86881cm86881 13 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I have Korean citizenship so that means that I do not need visa to get into most countries. I heard that Singapore's tuition is also quite high compared to US.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3985 replies86 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    What TOPIK level are you at now? Korean is fairly easy compared to say Chinese and getting to say Level 5 would probably be good enough for undergrad. Maybe 6 for SNU.
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2453 replies32 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    OP, also how proficient are you at reading Chinese characters? I assume that the Korean university exams are similar to the Japanese ones where you need to know a certain number of Hanja/Kanji.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3985 replies86 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The Korean Suneung (national entrance exam for universities) does have a section for foreign languages, of which a small majority do take Chinese as their choice.

    To the OP, now that I think about it, I think you’re underestimating your Korean ability. If you’re good enough to get into SNU, your Korean is obviously good enough. Just like no ESL student is going into Harvard. BTW, the SNU acceptance rate is the same as Harvard, at around 5% for Korean students (higher for international students which you aren’t).
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6590 replies54 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Just like no ESL student is going into Harvard
    @ProfessorPlum168, can you clarify?
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3985 replies86 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Meaning that you have to be pretty good at English in order to get into a good American university.
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  • cm86881cm86881 13 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Well, I heard that Korean students who lived abroad for 12 years get an advantage and do not need to take TOPIK. I heard that SNU also provides courses in English, but I'm not sure if they provide Chemical Engineering in English. I'm quite afraid to go to Korea as I am afraid I would not be able to understand the jargon of Korean chemistry. Do any of you guys know if there is a less prestigious but still decent university that would provide scholarships for international students of my caliber? Sorry for the troubles.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6590 replies54 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I am afraid I would not be able to understand the jargon of Korean chemistry

    Actually, that you are a chem student is a help: the 'jargon' in STEM subjects is typically quite a finite set of vocab, and (relatively) easily acquired.
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  • cm86881cm86881 13 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @collegemom3717 The problem is that I don't know basic things like sodium in Korean
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