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Chances at top Engineering Schools (GATech, Stanford, UW Seattle, ...) -- US Citizen in France

yungkaviaryungkaviar 8 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
Hey there, I'm looking to apply to top Engineering schools and was wondering if I had any real shot. MechE or AerospaceE

Desired schools: GATech (EA), Stanford (REA), UW Seattle, Carnegie Mellon, Purdue, Rensselaer PI, USC, MIT, Ivies

--> White Male, US Citizen, Expat (living Abroad)
--> No need for Financial Aid. Any and all price ranges are OK
--> 1510 SAT (730 EBRW, 780M) Retake in October. Expected 1550+ based on practice
760 Math lvl. 2, Retake in November // Physics in November (Expected 800 based on Practice Tests) // French 800

--> 17.59/20 GPA. French School. Extreme grade deflation with the French system. My Counselor said anything over 16 is converted to an A+. The school doesn't rank but 17 is basically a perfect GPA. Hardest course load I could take. Advanced Physics and Chem, Advanced Maths and Biology, 3 Languages (French, English, Arabic, fluent in all 3), other Humanities.
Quick question, how is my GPA /4 calculated since it's not really evident off of a /20 grade.

--> Awards:
*3rd Place in Maths Sans Frontieres (National Maths Olympiads)
* National level Recognition by Minister of Education for archeological work described in ECs
*2nd Place Regional Physics Olympiad
* 3-time Debate Finalist in Ambassadeurs en Herbe (French MUN basically). No leadership there, it's not a club just a competiton

--> ECs
*Captain of FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics Team. Leader of a team of 5 Programmers
4x National Champion, 3x World Championships participant, Dean's List Finalist in France, Judges' Award at Houston World Championships. This is my main EC, I've put in 4 years of my life into the Robotics team and we've won basically everything there is in the country. I programmed 4 seasons worth of robots and learned so much. If any of you know FIRST, you know what I'm talking about
*Co-Founder of a Company. I built over the course of a year and a half a Machine Learning algorithm that uses cameras to help in the recycling process. I won't give too many details because I'm kinda paranoid but whatever. Part of a Startup Incubator, 7 clients on board, patent-pending with my co-founder. Super proud of this, idk how colleges view it. I'm not super involved in groups at school besides robotics, I do things outside of school usually
*Spent a year with some friends building an audioguide for archeological ruins in Lebanon. I had to learn about its history, consolidate information, meet with Historians, and then write and record audioguides. It's in official use at the site in Lebanon and I got to meet and receive an award from the Ministries in France and Lebanon. It was incredible and it made want to pursue this more. It's not related to Engineering though
*Owner of my own Computer Building business. It's small scale, I build and design custom computers for friends at school mostly for gaming. 10-15% commission on each build. Over 14 builds to date.

OK thanks for bearing with me. I'm really into engineering, ECs and Awards mostly reflect that. This is a big write-up and I'm sorry. I just want to know, realistically, with a good essay and LORs if any *top* school would really consider me.
My dream is Stanford because of the entrepreneurial spirit that I share with them, finaid is not a problem so go ahead with more suggestions if you have any.
12 replies
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Replies to: Chances at top Engineering Schools (GATech, Stanford, UW Seattle, ...) -- US Citizen in France

  • racereerracereer 138 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    You sound like a very strong candidate, but even for strong candidates Stanford, MIT, and the Ivies are still reaches though I would think you will get some serious consideration. For Ga Tech, CMU, and USC I woild consider them lower reaches to posible high matchs. Submit to Ga Tech EA if possible. Purdue should be a match for you if you apply EA as they fill engineering spots early and waiting until RD can make acceptance harder. I would think UW and RPI are safeties with your stats. Other possible schools with strong engineering programs to consder would be UC Berkeley, U of Mich, U of IL, and Va Tech.

    When you say advanced Math, what level have you covered? College Calculus, Multivariable, Linear Algebra, Differential Equations?
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  • yungkaviaryungkaviar 8 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @racereer
    Advanced Maths for the French is the equivalent of Multivariable Calculus. Physics is pretty much what an AP Physics C student would have covered at this point. What’s trickier is Chem and Bio as the curriculum differs in many ways, so I cannot estimate that.
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  • yungkaviaryungkaviar 8 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @raceceer
    Also, I can apply Stanford REA whilst also EA’ing to GATech, UMich, and Purdue, right? I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks a lot for the suggestion.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22709 replies15 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
  • racereerracereer 138 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @yungkaviar yes if you do Stanford REA you can still do EA for any of the public state universities as long as they are non binding.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77793 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Regarding grade conversion, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_grading_in_France#Comparison_with_American_grades lists several different scales to convert high school grades from France to the US.
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  • yungkaviaryungkaviar 8 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @ucbalumnus
    Great read, thanks! This does alleviate a lot of pressure I had built up, according to all (!) of the scales in the article, my French GPA would translate into an A+. I assume an entire course-load of A+’s is equivalent to a 4.0, right?
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41788 replies450 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 7
    Any GPA 14+ is a 4.0. (13-14 on the French scale is an A. 40% American students get A's.) You don't "divide" - just like for the IB grading scale, you have number equivalents. 13-14= A, 10-11+B, 8=C (a student with an 8 average gets the Certificat d'Etudes Secondaires and qualifies for Round 2 in the bac).

    Your grades and EC's are superlativ,e but as you know US universities don't admit all academically qualified students - acceptance rate makes most universities on your list reaches since they're reaches for everyone (ie., odds of admission are low due to sheer competition).

    The French S program was redesigned in 2010 (Chatel reform) and in math it is equivalent to Calculus AB, no more (even single-variable integral/differential components have been cut and there's no MVC material before semester 2 of prépa!) but unlike the American class, there's Discrete Math and some Linear Algebra too, especially in the spé.
    Same for Physics: the 1S course is just honors Physics and the TS matches a lot of AP Physics 1. S is more in-depth for Chemistry even if the concepts don't necessarily match well with AP Chem.
    Your SAT Subject test scores indicate great mastery so you're good on that account - no one will question you for not taking AP classes.
    Just be ready for a significant step up content-wise compared to S and with classmates who'll have covered a lot more material than you did. (The same issue occurs when French students go to EPFL, only the S-mention TB are even allowed to enroll and half fail because the Maturité STEM content is so much more advanced than S.) Some S students use MIT's OCW courses as well as Khan academy to try and bridge the gap over the summer vacation.
    When you take Subject tests in November, beside Physics, take your LV2 as a test, too. The subject test is mostly A2/B1 and doesn't require much specific training. The 800 in French will be discounted since you're living there.

    I'd recommend Mech.E since it's more versatile. (See if a minor or concentration in Aerospace can be done at your various schools). Or CSE?

    Look into Northeastern, NYU, UMD-CP, UCLA. Any interest in more undergraduate-focused schools such as WPI, Lafayette, Bucknell, Harvey-Mudd?
    (Check with Harvey-Mudd that the S curriculum is considered sufficient preparation - they're the only college with CalTech for which a strong background in calculus is a pre-req before applying.)

    You may want to try for Penn's M&T, as long as you have excellent philosophy and HG grades (to demonstrate interest in more than science&entrepreneurship).
    Being full pay will help.
    edited September 7
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  • yungkaviaryungkaviar 8 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @MYOS1634
    I described the curriculum a bit more in the PM, I still think my previous assessment of MVC and Physics C is correct, it's not a regular S curriculum.
    Anyhow, I'll definitely take my LV2 language (Spanish) in November, thanks!
    Harvey-Mudd is on my radar, thankfully, and so is WPI. I'll look more in-depth into their programs. I was also attracted to Duke because of their outstanding robotics programs and funding. I've also grown fond of Bucknell for their strong mechE.
    Looking into Penn's M&T, it looks absolutely wonderful. It's such a robust program and I think I'd fit in well as French schools put so much emphasis on Humanities, too.
    I'll be applying MechE to most unless the Aerospace there is a top program, like at Georgia Tech where it's a flagship major. I'll be full pay to all colleges, but as far as I know, Ivies are need-blind, right? Their admission decision will not be made based on my ability to pay their full tuition, it's something they take care of after admission.

    I appreciate all of your help very much, it's been tough lately and CC has proven to be incredibly nice and helpful to me, thank you!!
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  • yungkaviaryungkaviar 8 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    shameless bump :blush:
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41788 replies450 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Will write back later today!
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  • yungkaviaryungkaviar 8 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @MYOS1634 Thank you! I'm very thankful for your advice, it has been incredibly helpful.
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