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What are my chances?

  1. Sep 28, 2015 #1
    What are my chances to get accepted into a university with a strong physics program taking in account that:
    1- I'm going to apply after taking a gap year because I haven't taken the SAT exam yet as I never intended to apply for college in the US before. (I attended high school abroad)
    2- I repeated my senior year because I suffer from perfectionism and I didn't want to attend the finals because I thought I wasn't well-prepared.
    3- I haven't done any ECs in high school because in my country schools are more concerned about academics and they RARELY offer any activities to do.

    During my gap year I will do intensive charity/community work, translate English science articles to Arabic, write articles myself,join a scientific research program, and participate in a science fair at a university.
    I will do my best to score around 1500 in the new SAT and 800 in SAT physics and Math 2.
    I scored 96% in my senior year and my overall high school score is 92%. I have found online that that score is like getting 3.6 GPA in the US. (I'm still very uncertain about how colleges in the US will view my score)

    UVA, BU, UNC, USC, Reed, Emory, Rochester and Rutgers are some of the colleges I've listed to apply for till now. ( All of them will consider me as domestic student because I'm a green card holder). Do I have any chance to get accepted into the universities I listed above or should I apply for lower-ranked ones or Will I have to apply for a community college?
    What should I do to improve my chances? What are your advices?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 28, 2015 #2
    You... you what?
  4. Sep 28, 2015 #3
    Perfectionism can be mush worse than that.
    I made a very big mistake and I will never ever allow myself to be a victim of perfectionism again. The admission process in my country is very ridiculous. You MUST get the minimum score of the college you want to get accepted. They are brutally unforgiving, if your score is 0.1% less than the required score they will reject you even if you have a stellar application. I think that what made me too anxious. I really do regret that horrible decision but their is nothing to do about it now.
  5. Sep 28, 2015 #4
    It's easy to say you're going to do all those ECs and score high on the SATs. Doing it will be harder than you probably think; be prepared for that. Also, having to repeat a year of school will look bad to any admissions office, so you're at a bit of a disadvantage there. Note that because you studied in another country while applying domestically, you're going to be treated as a special case for better or worse.

    All of the schools you listed except for Rutgers are very selective (unless USC refers to South Carolina rather than Southern California). Some of the best students are rejected from them. Because of your unique situation, you need to apply to a broad range of schools. Apply to a range of publics, like Drexel, UMass, etc. Just about any large public school will have a sizable physics department. Also try some small, less selective schools that look at unique applications in more detail. If money for applications is a concern then cut down on some of those selective schools.

    Don't worry so much about finding a school with a strong reputation for undergrad physics. That's the best advice I can give.
  6. Sep 28, 2015 #5
    Thanks very much!

    Due to my financial circumstances, I'm going to apply for colleges that meet 90% - 100% of financial need. The colleges that I mentioned are the least selective universities that meet full financial need. I don't care about BIG names. I just want a decent physics education without the need of paying much, that's all. However, I'm a NJ resident do I have any chance to get accepted into Rutgers - New Brunswick?
  7. Sep 29, 2015 #6


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    Drexel is private, not public.
  8. Sep 29, 2015 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    You previously described your performance in high school as bad. There aren't many top tier schools that feel they have to accept, much less pay for, students with bad performance. I would enlarge your list of schools you are considering.
  9. Sep 29, 2015 #8
    I was in the top 10% of my class as a freshman and senior and the top 15% as a sophomore and junior. Which makes some of the colleges I mentioned above a good match. But that would be very bad if I were considering HYPS or any of the Ivies. I wanted to transfer to a very top school if I didn't get into one that's why I created that post previously. Now, I believe that it doesn't matter where you go for college as an undergrad as long as you get into one of the top 100 colleges. It depends most on one's discipline and work ethic.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
  10. Sep 29, 2015 #9

    Vanadium 50

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    I'm just going by what you tell us.

    Class rank may matter less than you think if your school is not very good. (You have in the past complained about your textbook and your teachers). My advice is unchanged - you want to expand the list of schools you are applying to.
  11. Sep 29, 2015 #10
    Yes, that's very true. It's not just my school that wasn't very good, all the schools in the country were bad. I've emailed some universities and they said they'll view my grades in the context of my class. WES mentions that my score is equivalent to getting 4 GPA. Other websites say that it's equivalent to 3.6, and another one says 3.8.

    Having a great degree of uncertainty about how universities will view my application, I believe now the best thing I should do is to take your advice. I'll apply for a wide range of colleges that meet 100% of financial need and just hope for the best. :)
    Thanks a lot! :)
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