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Possibility of studying in the USA (Hopefully Harvard) watch

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    (Original post by Hydeman)
    I'm in agreement that the OP's GCSE grades just aren't up to it -- my point was rather generally about subject combinations.

    Fair point about GCSEs being one's chance to show excellence in a wider range of subjects. They probably wouldn't penalise applicants studying exclusively science subjects at A Level but they might look favourably upon somebody taking, say, three science subjects and one humanities subject without discriminating against people whose subjects complement each other. :dontknow:

    It's kind of like UCL's preference for people who don't do all sciences or all humanities -- they don't subtract points from people for not having a slightly different subject but they still make a point about saying that they like it when people do have it. I'm actually tempted to email the admissions offices for various schools now...

    On a separate note, you say you're an Ivy League graduate -- can I ask whether you're British, American or some other nationality? And what were your grades, SAT scores and extracurriculars like, if that's not too intrusive?
    Of course it shows diversity and a flair for a broad curriculum but as you said they wouldn't penalise or favour someone with that profile over a pure science/maths candidate. That's kind of where GCSEs come into play in that it's a chance to show off an ability to excel in subjects beyond your comfort zone and are perhaps a better indicator of success at university level than A-Levels.

    It does sound unfair to really penalise someone on something they did at 15/16 when they probably had a vague idea of what they wanted to do in life but it is what it is and sadly for every person with a weak/average profile, Harvard, the Ivies, MIT, Chicago even UCLA and UVA will have plenty of exceptional candidates to choose from. Of course they may look at the profile holistically but it's very much like a business "they want to recruit the best candidates".
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    (Original post by Gridiron-Gangster)
    It does sound unfair to really penalise someone on something they did at 15/16 when they probably had a vague idea of what they wanted to do in life but it is what it is and sadly for every person with a weak/average profile, Harvard, the Ivies, MIT, Chicago even UCLA and UVA will have plenty of exceptional candidates to choose from. Of course they may look at the profile holistically but it's very much like a business "they want to recruit the best candidates".
    You can still get turned down if there are too many of you in the applicant pool though, brilliant or otherwise. What I mean by that is that at least Harvard, whose website for international applicants I've had a look at, makes admissions decisions with the overall composition and diversity (in terms of background) of the class being recruited for in mind.

    So even if somebody did play national-level sport in addition to having high grades, SAT scores and other extracurriculars, if the applicant pool that year had an unusually high number of such people, most of those people, despite technically being among the best, would be rejected simply because the admissions people are trying to structure a class in a way they like as the first priority rather than reward individuals just for being brilliant.

    That's one reason why I think admission to top U.S. schools is more difficult than admission to, say, Oxbridge. With Oxbridge, it's very much about the individual and, as far as I know, they don't really care about making the 'class' fit together -- they just want the most academically able people rather than (in addition to academics) having X percent of people who play national level sport or Y percent of people who've started and successfully run a charity/business.

    We're agreed on the main point though -- top U.S. schools are a long shot for OP (OP: I'm not trying to be mean but I have to be honest) unless he or she is related to some foreign head of state or finds a cure for cancer that costs less than $50 or something of that sort.
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    (Original post by Hydeman)
    You can still get turned down if there are too many of you in the applicant pool though, brilliant or otherwise. What I mean by that is that at least Harvard, whose website for international applicants I've had a look at, makes admissions decisions with the overall composition and diversity (in terms of background) of the class being recruited for in mind.

    So even if somebody did play national-level sport in addition to having high grades, SAT scores and other extracurriculars, if the applicant pool that year had an unusually high number of such people, most of those people, despite technically being among the best, would be rejected simply because the admissions people are trying to structure a class in a way they like as the first priority rather than reward individuals just for being brilliant.

    That's one reason why I think admission to top U.S. schools is more difficult than admission to, say, Oxbridge. With Oxbridge, it's very much about the individual and, as far as I know, they don't really care about making the 'class' fit together -- they just want the most academically able people rather than (in addition to academics) having X percent of people who play national level sport or Y percent of people who've started and successfully run a charity/business.

    We're agreed on the main point though -- top U.S. schools are a long shot for OP (OP: I'm not trying to be mean but I have to be honest) unless he or she is related to some foreign head of state or something like that.
    Well I think the OP's first goal should be to get some decent A-Level grades.
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    (Original post by Gridiron-Gangster)
    Well I think the OP's first goal should be to get some decent A-Level grades.
    Yes. I'd definitely recommend a post-qualification application to the OP. A*A*A* (which might unrealistic -- I don't know the OP well enough to judge) would be a good bargaining tool, I'd think. If not American universities, the OP would still have a decent shot at a lot of top 10 British universities if they had A*A*A* in hand (although I think some GCSE resits would definitely be required, particularly in English, maths and science). Although the subject choices might be a hurdle in that respect, unless he or she is applying for Media (I've heard that even Business courses usually prefer traditional subjects)...

    To the OP: I'm sorry if what I and others have said is somewhat harsh but I'm trying my best not to be dishonest about your chances. :/
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    (Original post by Hydeman)
    Yes. I'd definitely recommend a post-qualification application to the OP. A*A*A* (which might unrealistic -- I don't know the OP well enough to judge) would be a good bargaining tool, I'd think. If not American universities, the OP would still have a decent shot at a lot of top 10 British universities if they had A*A*A* in hand (although I think some GCSE resits would definitely be required, particularly in English, maths and science). Although the subject choices might be a hurdle in that respect, unless he or she is applying for Media (I've heard that even Business courses usually prefer traditional subjects)...

    To the OP: I'm sorry if what I and others have said is somewhat harsh but I'm trying my best not to be dishonest about your chances. :/
    Yeah I'm fed up of the attitude on TSR where people think that AAA or A*AA predictions will be "fine" for Oxbridge and usually end with despite the overall profile of the applicant being poor and not having a chance in hell of even making it past the preliminary stage to even an interview. Giving false hope is the worst thing anyone can do.

    Again OP I am sorry and I am not trying to sound unnecessarily harsh but even you must realise your academic profile is poor even for a top 20 UK university never mind Harvard, as it stands currently. Even if you were given AAA predictions and were somehow able to make the jump, those predictions would more likely than not be dismissed by admissions tutors who will simply look at your profile and say, "this doesn't add up and there is no evidence to suggest he/she will make the jump to AAA". Also, being "lazy" or "choosing the wrong subjects" isn't really a strong argument either. If it was a C or B in one subject then yes but you have Cs, Bs even an E I believe in there and especially in key subjects like English and Mathematics. Even if you did somehow get AAA or A*AA (in subjects which are not really considered rigorous), you would struggle to put a strong case to an admissions tutor (focussing on Ivies/Oxbridge here and Stanf, MIT, Chicago etc) who will have plenty of people who worked hard all the way through school even in subjects they wouldn't have otherwise wanted to study. Frankly it would be totally unfair to reject those applicants in favour of someone with your profile (in their eyes). Again I am not deliberately being harsh but trying to give you an insight into how you might be viewed in the application process.

    I commend you for wanting to aim high and everyone should always aim high. But I honestly feel that you don't seem to appreciate the situation and that you seem to think oh it's ok I will pull my socks up etc.

    Finally on another note the jump from GCSEs to A-Levels is one thing, being in an environment like Oxbridge or the Ivies etc is another thing. The work is tough, as is the workload and especially in the US if doing 3 or 4 (maybe 5) classes a term, there's going to be lots of exams and mid-terms, weekly assessments etc. In other words you need to maintain a level of excellence all the way through and if you're not enjoying the challenge of GCSEs and A-Levels then do you think you would cope at that high level? In that sense it would be a disservice to you to be admitted to a programme/college where you just wouldn't cope with the workload and in a worst case scenario, fail the course, get kicked out and having wasted time and money.

    It isn't impossible for you to go to Harvard or Oxbridge etc but based on your current profile you don't stand a chance. I would explore options like the BA through the LPS at UPenn if you're keen on undergrad at an Ivy League school but that might just be for matures/US citizens. Harvard have things like the Extension School, a Harvard degree but certainly not one from Harvard College and without the required admissions tests and rigorous entry. Also if you took that option as a UK citizen I do not think you would be granted a study visa.....you need to check. I will put that post here if I can find it from another thread.

    So what I am saying OP is sadly yes your profile atm is poor if you are aiming for a reputable US university and even strong UK universities. It isn't a situation you can't change however but would require a lot of hard work on your part and a lot of thinking i.e. do you enjoy studying, what do you enjoy studying, can I sustain a high level of study across a range of subjects with the pressure of many assignments and tests in a short period of time, over four years? etc. I saw many people in Cambridge and in the US who came from unconventional backgrounds, some failed high school went away worked for years, did their high school exams at community colleges etc and got 4.0 GPAs but then absolutely struggled to get B grades at UPenn. They will no doubt graduate but they have found it incredibly hard work perhaps due to the fact they are returning to study but they cite the competitive environment, the intensity of the workload, the rigour of the work etc.

    If it's what you want then you will simply go away and work hard and use all the hours of the day to build the strongest profile you can academically and non-academically and give it your best shot. It isn't impossible but don't be under any illusions as to how tough it will be not just getting but once you get there. For all the stereotypes people have about Oxbridge and the elite US schools of public school boys, preppies prancing around in tweed jackets and college scarves or the tomfoolery of drinking societies, frat parties etc., most (not all) but most work incredibly hard.

    I hope you do aim to apply for a top college be it at undergrad or postgrad but encourage you to take on board all the views here and also talk to colleges, tutors, other students, maybe on linkedin, and get a clear idea of what's involved and also study hard.

    But honestly, there is nothing from your profile so far that suggests you would be a strong candidate for even a reputable UK university and if your A-Level choices and your attitude to your GCSEs are anything to go by, then you really do have your work cut out for you.
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    However, there are many universities especially within the Ivy League that accept non-standard/mature students like yourself onto undergraduate programmes like the LPS and GSE at UPenn, a similar one at Colombia and I think Brown and Dartmouth have a programme where people can return to complete a Bachelor's. For Harvard there is the Extension School but you wouldn't be given a study visa for that on a full-time basis except in the summer school.

    Here is an example of what I'm talking about: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/lps/undergraduate

    https://gs.columbia.edu/program-overview

    https://www.extension.harvard.edu/ac...aduate-degrees







    These were the non-standard routes to undergraduate education at the Ivies I was discussing. Note that you may not be eligible depending on age and if they are only open to US citizens so check carefully. Also, Harvard Extension schools whilst carrying the Harvard name, isn't necessarily viewed upon highly. This might be more of an issue in the US than the UK but those who tend to go for HES are usually local students juggling work commitments alongside the degree. There has been a trend of people recently moving to Cambridge MA to do the HES B.S. to somehow pass it off as "Harvard College" but the university make it quite clear that this is not allowed i.e. that in any future CV you must list the degree as "Bachelor of Arts in Extension Studies, Concentration in (insert subject), Harvard Extension School, Harvard University, as opposed to "BA in (Subject), Harvard University".

    LPS at UPenn is unique as it doesn't have this issue i.e. the BA you get from them is the same as the BA you'd get as an udnergrad except the support you receive is from the LPS as opposed to the College of Arts and Sciences.
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    (Original post by Gridiron-Gangster)
    Yes, but the OP is discussing applying for places like Harvard whom I am pretty sure would not consider Media Studies a particularly strong subject. I can't think of any "top universities" in the UK that offer media courses and anyone going into media from traditional universities i.e. Oxbridge, will normally have studied English or an Arts subject.
    I think this is a biased analysis. The University of Chicago, considered a peer amongs HYPSM and Columbia, has a program in cinema and media studies (undergraduate and graduate) and has amazing professors within the department and who teach alongside the department. Lauren Berlant comes to mind. Harvard also offers a major and graduate degree in film studies. As do Yale, Princeton and Stanford. It's a common department to find alongside/working in tangent with English, or other languages departments.
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    (Original post by NYU2012)
    I think this is a biased analysis. The University of Chicago, considered a peer amongs HYPSM and Columbia, has a program in cinema and media studies (undergraduate and graduate) and has amazing professors within the department and who teach alongside the department. Lauren Berlant comes to mind. Harvard also offers a major and graduate degree in film studies. As do Yale, Princeton and Stanford. It's a common department to find alongside/working in tangent with English, or other languages departments.
    As I said I was referring to UK universities with the Media Studies analogy and indeed UPenn is strong in that field too but as you point out, they work in tangent with the English departments and more often than not candidates would be strong in that field as opposed to Media Studies A-Level which would be frowned upon on both sides of the Atlantic at the elite institutions.
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    I think the OP may be a troll
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    (Original post by Gridiron-Gangster)
    I think the OP may be a troll
    I was tempted to think that but trolls are normally more obvious than this and sound less concerned... What can you do. :dontknow:
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    (Original post by amelia may)
    I achieved a B grade in every subject at GCSE level, and I am predicted 3 A's and 1 A* at A level would i have any chance at being accepted into an ivy league?

    No. And those predictions may be over inflated.
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    Where did you end up going?
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    (Original post by MiracleLeaf)
    Where did you end up going?
    Probably UEA, definitely not Harvard.
    https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...84&postcount=2

    This is a rather old thread - so I'm closing it
 
 
 
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