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My Chances for a Top College? (Ivies, MIT, Stanford, UChicago, ...)

TheGermanGuyTheGermanGuy 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
Hey guys,

I'm an international student (Germany) and I'm planning to apply for US Colleges for 2021. The problem is that the school I go to is pretty small and literally offers NOTHING for us students to do - no clubs, no community service, no awards. This is the reason why there are just few long-term ECs in my CV and why I did a lot of shorter projects. I just had no oppurtunities to join any group or similar.

Anyway, this is (or will be) my application profile:

- White male from Germany

- GPA: around 3.85 (depends on my performance next year), #2 of 140 students
- SAT: 1550, didn't take subject tests yet

Extracurriculars: My main ECs will be Economics/Business (I want to major in Econ), STEM (I got interested in it because of Elon, now I love tech and science) and sports.

Econ/Business:

- I built a business with friends that makes around 6500$/month (we're renting a club in the city once a month and organize a party)
- I got #3 at a national student competition of the biggest German econ-magazine (created a video about the impact of startups on society)
- I took part in a youth-startup-competition but I didn't win anything

STEM:

- I learnt to code and created some smaller programs (e.g. one that calculates how profitable an investment will be based on inflation rate and other factors, or one that visualizes data of some physics problems)
- I attended a youth physics program of a university near me
- I'm actually going to attend university besides school for half a year and study physics
- I got into the finals of our federal state in the math olympiad.

Sports:

- played soccer (goalkeeper) since elementary school for a pretty good club, they're one of the best teams in our federal state, but I stopped this year to focus on school
- I'm playing volleyball for a pretty good team as well, but not on the same level as soccer
- I volunteer as a trainer for holiday soccer camps for small children
- I'm doing powerlifting for fun - guess that's not worth mentioning

Others:

- class representative
- I work at a discounter for like 10h/week
- I will volunteer for 1-2 months as an English teacher in an African country after high school, haven't decided where to go yet
- internship at a fitness startup


You probably know what I mean by few long term ECs - I just like to try things out and be spontaneous and my school didn't offer any clubs.
What are my chances?
13 replies
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Replies to: My Chances for a Top College? (Ivies, MIT, Stanford, UChicago, ...)

  • tdy123tdy123 743 replies14 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited September 22
    First, are you able to pay the full cost of attendance at the schools you are considering applying to? If not, be aware that very few US schools commit to meeting full financial need for international applicants.

    Second, while your stats are in the ballpark for accepted students at the schools you mentioned, acceptance rates for international applicants are generally about half what they are for the broader applicant pool, which puts the success rate for international applicants to these schools in the very low single digits.
    edited September 22
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2534 replies33 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I’m assuming that you will take your Abitur and apply to top level German universities as well (Muenchen, Heidelberg, etc).

    German universities are highly respected and are going to be way cheaper than any equivalent American university. Any reason why you want to do an undergraduate degree in the United States?

    I would advise that you do postgraduate work in the US after earning your undergraduate degree in Germany. There will be a chance of being funded for a PhD.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34123 replies377 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 22
    Gads, the 7th kid in about a week who wants to talk money earned as a tip or plus. It's not. And not throwing parties.

    When the hs doesn't "offer" many ECs, that's exactly when tippy top colleges want to see your own awareness, vision, and choices. And get an idea of what you're thinking, based on choices you do make, how all that lines up with what *they* look for.
    edited September 22
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2534 replies33 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The European experience is that ECs for the most part are not as important/weighted as highly as getting good grades. So the OP may have a different idea as to what US schools are looking for.

    Perhaps a gap year is a good idea. It’s actually more common in Europe than in the United States, although a lot of the top schools are encouraging it.

    Perfectly fine for the OP to apply to US Top 20 schools. As long as he has a good German backup and understands that American schools will be expensive. And I’m sure that he’ll pass his Abitur.
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  • TheGermanGuyTheGermanGuy 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @Hamurtle I will actually take a gap year (currently in my last year of high school and I will apply for 2021) and I am aware of the fact that I won’t receive any financial aid from the colleges itself.
    I want to study in the US because I want to work there. And finding a company that wants to hire me and pay for my visa after graduation in Europe is surely not possible.

    @lookingforward I don‘t really understand why you think that a kid earning money by throwing parties is something that is that bad as an EC. We did actually have legal work to do, we hire employees and pay for security in a pretty big city. What we‘re doing is not just playing a Spotify playlist on a blaster and selling some beer in our garden. I saw a yt Video about a girl that told she got accepted to Wharton mainly because she started selling waterproof socks online as her “Business“. And it’s not as if I wouldn’t have any other good ECs such as the Math and Econ awards or playing soccer on a pretty high level (which is probably even harder here in Germany since almost everyone plays soccer). About starting something at my school by myself: true, it showing initiative would be great here. The thing is just that at my school, most people are really unambitious and don‘t care much about any academic topics. I‘d probably get beaten up on the schoolyard if I started a math club or anything like that. Besides that, in Germany, it’s just not usual to spend your freetime at school like many do in the US. And that’s why I do these other projects I talked about
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2534 replies33 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 22
    @TheGermanGuy You will need to be careful if your intent is to stay in the United States post-graduation.

    You could be denied a student visa if there is any hint of seeking employment in the US after graduation. Given the current political climate, it’s not a good idea.

    Are you a German passport holder/citizen? Just curious and you don’t have to answer the question. But your comment about no company paying for a visa indicates that you are not a German citizen and have no rights to work in the EU. And maybe that’s why you don’t want to do a German undergraduate degree.
    edited September 22
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7267 replies56 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It is becoming very difficult for international students to remain in this country even if they graduate from a US university. Many companies have stopped hiring internationals even for summer internships and co-ops because they know they wont be able to keep them on permanently. If that's your only reason for looking to study in the US, you need a different plan.

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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34123 replies377 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 22
    In the US, kids don't generally know exactly what got them into a school like Wharton. It's holistic, not a matter of being the "best" in stats or winning some awards, not earning some big sum. These might help or might not.

    My comment reflects that being entrepreneurial is not a tip into a community that sees itself first about the four years, your learning and personal growth. Plus what you contribute back to the whole. It's different than Euro unis in that respect. Here, top holistic colleges want a feel for how you'd "fit and thrive," not just in academics. It's tricky.

    And for tippy tops, community service first means your own location. Adcoms are aware going to another country generally is expensive, a privilege, and not always fully challenging.

    You don't need to start hs clubs to get involved in a balance.

    It's worth it to stop and try to learn more about the individual college targets, from what they say. Even what they show about about students they brag about.

    And the competition among international applicants is not just fierce, but balanced among countries. You'll compete against other top German students for what may be a limited number of German openings.

    Yes, also look at work permit rules. And it's not just that the student visa could be denied, but that a top college can mind when they think any applicant is using them for a future job purposes. Or the prestige of their name.
    edited September 22
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34123 replies377 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    On the visa issue, I suspect OP means a US job that supports his process, after a German or EU degree.

    It is possible. But another topic.
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  • TheGermanGuyTheGermanGuy 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @lookingforward okay, I guess I understood you wrong. I was honestly just a bit triggered about you saying that this EC wouldn’t be worth anything even though setting this ‚business’ up was not too easy and I think it is indeed quite impressive to make twice as much as the average adult worker by just putting around 20h a month into it. But that this doesn’t necessarily indicate that I would enrich a college‘s campus makes sense. I am a German citizen, I just meant that a US company wouldn’t pay for my visa after graduation in Europe.

    @momofsenior1 that‘s pretty interesting. Keeping in mind that my chances would be low to stay in the US, I‘m really wondering wether it would be worth it to be in student loan after graduation even though I could have studied for free in Europe. Thank you for your comment, I honestly implied that with a degree from a Top College and good grades, companies will compete to get you in their team, regardless of wether you are international or not
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  • TheGermanGuyTheGermanGuy 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Student debt*, not student loan
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7267 replies56 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    companies will compete to get you in their team, regardless of wether you are international or not

    Unfortunately my experience with my husband's employers, is that companies no longer have the pull they used to with being able to push through work visas for international hires. As such, many companies won't hired international interns/co-ops because they have no way to ensure the time they put into student development will pay off for them in terms of permanent positions. My H's company just lost an amazing employee because she was denied her visa and the legal team could do nothing to help her.

    I would not take out any college debt that couldn't be paid back working in your home country. At this point, working in your home country needs to be your assumption. My advice would be to study for free in Europe if that's an option. If the political climate should change in the US, you could come here for grad school.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9233 replies495 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Love it when a student says “there’s nothing offered in my school/community” and then has a mile-long list of stuff he does outside of school.

    I won’t chance you, but I will say that you seem like a very strong applicant. You have some interesting activities and I think your party business sounds legitimate. I also like the sound of the African teaching opportunity you plan on doing. Be sure to include that in your app if it’s officially happening.

    You should realize that your odds are microscopic. They are for anyone, and even more so for an international. Have a balanced list of schools to apply to.
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