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International Student - chances of getting accepted?

  1. Oct 11, 2011 #1
    Hi. I'm going to be starting my applications in about a week or so. I'd just like to know my chances of getting accepted based on some info about me.
    First, here's my list :
    Princeton, Cornell, Harvey Mudd, Swarthmore, Williams [These are the ones where I know I have very less chance]
    Georgia Tech, Carnegie Mellon, UIUC, Purdue, Amherst [These are the ones where I think i have an average chance]

    My SAT scores are average : 2040. Will be giving SAT2 in Novemeber, get 800 on my mocks, hoping to get the same in the actuals.

    I have participated/won in 3 gaming competitions, 2 physics model building competitions,a theatre competition, a maths quiz, am a member of my school's Computer, Maths and English clubs, the Student Council, House Captain. Have also been an academic prize winner for 10 years in my school.
    For Community Service, I spent 2 years in the National Blind School and an institute of education for the Disabled here.

    Any chances in the above mentioned colleges?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2011 #2
    I'm not sure, but if it is any consolation, according to the book "Higher Education?", those who graduate (at least in undergraduate) from an Ivy-League school , or some other top-10, do not, on average, do better down the road, after, say, 10 years, than those with a degree from a state college. Some of the measures were salary, job satisfaction, but I do not know the rest. Sure, you'll get an initial bump from being in a top school, from the contacts, and because of the prestige with employers, but, over the longer-run, according to the data and analysis in the book, the extra $100,000-or-so in debt are not worth it. Still, if you are fully-funded by some top school, just go for it.
  4. Oct 11, 2011 #3


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    And what has it to see with the question asked?
  5. Oct 11, 2011 #4
    Well yeah, agreed there, but then again, no harm shooting for the stars right? I know I have a 0.1% chance in the Ivies, but I don't want to think later on that I should have atleast tried ya know?
  6. Oct 11, 2011 #5
    By all means, apply*. Let us know what comes out of it come next year, 'kay? ;)

    It's pretty cool that you get mocks and what not for your SATs. I'll have to work on everything on my own. The CR section looks tricky, I should say.

    *Hey, it's not like any of us 'round here work in the admissions committee or anything, ye' know.
  7. Oct 11, 2011 #6


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    I don't know your chances dreamlord but could you clarify one point? What do you mean by "Academic prize winner for 10 years"? In the thread https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=528529, you stated that
    , hence my doubt about the meaning of academic prize winner.
    One thing I can say for sure is the more schools you apply to, the greater the probability to be accepted in one is.
  8. Oct 11, 2011 #7
    Academics Prize Winners in our school are simply the top 10-15 out of a batch of approx 170 students who get overall grades A1 (the final grade is based on your marks in 5 subjects ; Physics, Maths, Chemistry,Computers and English). I consider myself to be within the top 15, but not the top 2, if you know what I mean.

    I'd just like to ask one question - I was worried that my extracurricular wasn;t going to be enough - based on the above list, is it decent considering i'm not good at the standard 2 - Sports & Music?
  9. Oct 11, 2011 #8
    The top Ivies are gonna be tough for you to get into. Even people with 2250+ SATs and perfect GPAs cannot say for sure that they'll get in. I would say that you have a decent shot at the non-Ivies like Purdue and Carnegie Mellon though. What's your financial situation like? That may also be a factor for schools whose admission policy isn't need-blind for internationals.

    Oh and by the way, I wouldn't lump Amhest into those schools, from what I've heard it's much more selective.

    And I'd retake the SAT in November (or December if you've already registered for SAT II for November) and try to bring it up to 2200. That would increase your chances by a lot I feel.
  10. Oct 11, 2011 #9

    Just thought I'd give DreamLord something to think about in case of being accepted to both an Ivy with low funding and a non-Ivy with higher funding. Is the extra $'000's of debt seriously worth the Ivy degree? Still, like I said, if you get good funding for an Ivy, go for it, and enjoy the initial bump, and , even better, ride it so it becomes more than an initial bump.
  11. Oct 11, 2011 #10
    @ahsanxr : yeah, thought so too, ivies are a no go. Still, i'm going to ED Cornell just as a try, and probably remove Princeton from there.
    Are Purdue/Carnegie Mellon good for physics? Or are there any other in that level of difficulty that are better. University of Chicago perhaps? And I will be needing financial aid, as much as the college as willing to provide, the rest will be accommodated through student loans.

    My personal favorites were Harvey Mudd, Williams and Swarthmore. Are they as selective as the Ivies?

    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  12. Oct 12, 2011 #11
    Certainly, you should still apply. That way you don't wonder "what if..." and you may get lucky. Try to write exceptional essays because they matter a lot.

    Although I'd be careful with ED because you basically make a deal with the school that you will attend if you get accepted and if they don't give you a good enough package for financial aid, you're screwed or you have to break the promise you made to them. Thus ED isn't really advisable for students with financial need.

    The quality of the department isn't really that significant at the undergrad level and neither do I know much about these specific programs although I have heard that Chicago's program is quite rigorous.

    Certainly do your research about this. Apply to schools who are generous with giving financial aid to international students, otherwise if you're gonna be taking up loans, I'd think long and hard before doing it. You certainly do not wanna be $200k in debt to a country that's foreign to you only after doing an undergrad degree. If it were to come to that I'd just go to an undergrad institute at my home country.

    Again, not exactly sure but I think Williams is more selective than the other two. Look up collegeboard for the specific percentage of applicants accepted by each school and other statistics like the middle 50% of the SAT scores of the accepted students.
  13. Oct 12, 2011 #12
    Your SAT is too low for ivy...
  14. Oct 12, 2011 #13
    Thanks a lot ahsanxr. About the ED - I thought you could refuse going to the ED'd Uni on the basis that they didn't prove you with the aid you needed? Or will I be stuck into going there if I get it. I thought ED increases your chances significantly.
  15. Oct 12, 2011 #14
    Well I'm not exactly sure about how it is right now but when I was applying a couple of years ago I recall that you agree to attend regardless of the financial aid package you are given. And secondly, I don't think it's ED that increases your chances but instead people who apply ED are better qualified, and less financially needy (which is also a reason some places stopped the practice for a while), hence the higher acceptance rate during that cycle.
  16. Oct 12, 2011 #15
    How are SAT and SAT II scores used? My guess is it's a way to compare GPAs/grades from various schools in various states/countries?

    Let's look at this little hypothetical case:
    1) Applicant Z has A+s and As but the usual "this is the best student I've had this year" recommendation letters and SAT scores on the 600s.
    2) Applicant X has Bs and Cs but their recommendation letters are great and they smoked their SATs (750+ across the board).

    What is better regarded? Is this how the SAT is used to differentiate things? Maybe applicant X comes from a school with more stringent grading? Perhaps they were better able to do the SAT exams as opposed to doing their school-based exams? And so forth.

    If that's how they use the SAT, then somebody, despite a great GPA, might not get in because of his inability to perform very well in a high pressure environment or in limited time.

    DreamLord, are you requesting fee waivers? I'm not so sure how I will go about that. I'm not currently at any school and apparently it's the school principal who's got to send them a letter or some such, requesting one. Is that correct? Or can I just mail them myself?
    I'm thinking of applying to about 10 schools. ~$500-700 on application fees alone is, frankly, too much for me.
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