Foreigner trying to get into MIT

  • #51
Yes I know but the one or two that imply i'm superficial and egotistical. obviously me having no hope is fact so I don't mind people saying that.
 
  • #52
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I'm good at physics. I'm 16 now so not near university. I've studyed calculus and linear algebra so as to start studying QM. Science is my passion.
What is this then? I am not trying to put you down, but please do not lie.
 
  • #55
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Just try to improve your grades, and if possible, relearn some of your foundation-material such algebra - since you learnt from resources such as KA, increase your ECs etc. Doing this will require effort, but will improve your chances of getting into a prestigious university.
 
  • #57
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Extracurriculars such as sports, clubs etc. I don't know about ECs in South Africa though...
 
  • #58
Vanadium 50
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I agree I could do better in science and math but I really suck at second language, do universities care?
Of course they care. Particularly elite universities. They will be asking questions like.

Are you the sort of student who performs well only doing things he likes?
Are you the sort of student who could do better....but doesn't?
 
  • #59
I ha a bout of depression for two years and became too wrapped up in it to care about anything for a while. But I'm improving now. As for ec's I play chess and enter whatever I.T. competitions are available (I love programming, main language C#, want to start C++ though).
 
  • #60
HayleySarg
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Just a suggestion, but perhaps try creating something you're passionate about. Some sort of simulation or useful applet. Or perhaps something to streamline the education in your area.

Programming is a powerful skill. The top universities are looking for people who apply themselves, and as corny as it sounds, make a difference. Not a 2 or 3 sentence long difference on a resume or application.... no... a real difference that will impact their community for years.
 
  • #61
Evo
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please do not lie.
People that live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
 
  • #62
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I think this thread highlights an interesting question: what's the right balance of aptitude vs. achievement for top universities? Does an applicants contributions to their community or field supplement any deficit in the applicant's perceived aptitude? Vise versa? And for mere "slightly above average" mortals coming from mediocre public high schools seeking physics degrees, is the 4-5 year, full time student model appropriate? And where does Socio-Eco status fit in? I ask because some of you may have experience and I'm curious myself.

One thing OP should do is some self-reflection and ask himself if he is at the level of the typical admitted MIT. Perhaps you have the aptitude, but are you as mature, as accomplished, and as hard-working as the typical first year student at these schools? Perhaps another environment where you have greater liberty to explore yourself, your passions, and your interests will suit your development better than MIT. Especially if you aren't competitive anyway....
 
  • #63
To the OP: to be brutally frank, your grades aren't nearly good enough to get into MIT or anything like it. Out of the people from my country at my university, the lowest scoring one who wasn't a recruited athlete came in the 99.8th percentile in high school. He had other things going for him though. From your grades, it doesn't sound like you're in with a chance.
 
  • #64
Thank you but as I'm saying for the third time: a) I was happy with the first couple of answers b) I didn't expect to and had no delusions off getting in, it seems as though those posts have disappeared.
 
  • #65
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Worth noting that different countries/schools/exam boards have different grading systems. A 16/20 on the French Baccalaureate is a very good score, while 80% in the US is what...a B?

Superposed_Cat, here's the deal. If your main hobby is programming, and you're applying to any of the top 20 US colleges, the admissions office will most likely compare you to other kids whose hobby is "programming". And successful (even unsuccessful) applicants to those schools have usually taken their hobby as far as the resources they were allocated with could take them, and then maybe some more. Case in point: the guy who wrote a book about game programming got into Stanford. And MIT's admissions office mentions the guy who built a functioning nuclear reactor who was rejected.

Another example is community service. While showing up every other day to help old people is a great thing, it is insignificant from a "get into a top college perspective", as there are kids who've done community service which had a state or country wide impact.

So, buckle down, pick something and work hard it. But for your own sake. Do it for yourself, not because you think MIT might like it.

The bottom line is you like physics. Guess what? You don't need MIT for that. Just do physics. How? Learn the math (consolidate the basics like trig, geometry, and especially algebra first), and then pick up a book. Heck, use MIT Open Courseware.

At the same time, figure out how to take things to the next level. When you can program C++ and have a code portfolio, e-mail professors/postdocs at local universities and ask if they have a job for someone who's looking for some experience. Don't mention you're in high school and let your code speak for you. I have no experience with that, but that's what I'd do.

Don't get too involved in things you cannot control, like what arbitrary things X school will want with you. A good idea is to just achieve stuff, and then make 10-20 applications (you'll need that many if you're looking for a lot of aid), and let the chips fall where they may.

What you can control is: how you spend your time. Will you spend it debating what ifs or will you spend it studying and exploring your interests?

If I could go back a year or two and talk to my self of then, I would slap him a few times and tell him the same. Other people here had advice along the same lines. I didn't listen. I still got into university somewhere, and I am happy with the outcome. I am also glad on some levels that I didn't listen. I learned a few things. But, if I had been wiser, my current situation would be better.

Anyway, I'll stop here. Regret is not useful after a certain point. Accept reality, and work your way from there.

Good luck.
 

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