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Should I Bother Applying For Princeton/Columbia? watch

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    Hi, my name is Jay and after my gap year, I would love to jet off to the US for university, with my ideal choices being Princeton or Columbia. My dream is study philosophy as a major in America or as a degree here in the UK, but this thread is about my international attempts.

    Right, what I'd like to ask is whether or not I should bother pursuing my dream of applying to Princeton or Columbia...

    GCSES:

    English Literature- A*
    English Language- A*
    Mathematics- A
    Japanese- A*
    Drama- A
    Religious Education- A
    History- A
    Food Technology- A
    Double Science- B, B

    Science frustratingly let me down and I was (we're talking 1-3 marks) off A*s in all my other GCSEs. I was predicted a clean A* sweep, so although the marks are pretty decent, I didn't fulfill my potential, especially in the science examinations, much to my disappointment. Couldn't get worse right?

    AS levels:

    English Literature- A
    Drama- B
    Philosophy and Ethics- B
    History- B
    General Studies- A

    2 marks off an A in History, 4 marks off an A in Drama, and even managed to ruin my Philosophy/Ethics paper (just resit Ethics, hoping for, and relatively confident in, receiving the 'A' required to boost up my AS level).

    My A2 predictions;

    English Literature- A
    Drama- A
    Philosophy and Ethics- A
    General Studies- A

    What I'm asking is, even if I manage to achieve those predicted grades in the summer, is there any point in me applying? I haven't taken subject tests yet (I'll be doing them in my gap year before the deadline) and I did the SAT reasoning test in mid-November without revising just to see how I'd do without any sort of help and I got 1890. Now, bear with me...I got a really low mark for Maths (which I haven't touched since Year 11) and if I hadn't screwed up my essay, I would have got 1970.

    What I'm asking is...if I get my predicted A2 grades and revise my ass off regarding subject tests and SAT reasoning exams, will it be worth applying to Princeton or Columbia's undergraduate colleges or am I simply wasting my time and effort on a fleeting dream? :P

    I'd love some advice and general opinions, and hopefully some people are currently going through a similar situation or have come out of this dark tunnel with some degree of success. I know I'm a complete stranger, but does anyone out there have faith in my abilities at a time when I do not?
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    Why don't you people contact the relevant university instead of taking the advice of people who do not work for the uni administration and therefore can't give you any authoritative answer?
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    Because I'll get the generic 'grades aren't everything, we look at the whole character of the student' speech when I'd rather have the advice of perceptive students from the outside looking in to my situation.
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    (Original post by jayranger)
    Now, bear with me...I got a really low mark for Maths (which I haven't touched since Year 11) and if I hadn't screwed up my essay, I would have got 1970.
    That's still low. I really hate saying that because I think scores get overemphasized, but an unhooked applicant generally needs at least a 2200 to be in the running at Princeton and Columbia.

    (Original post by jayranger)
    Because I'll get the generic 'grades aren't everything, we look at the whole character of the student' speech when I'd rather have the advice of perceptive students from the outside looking in to my situation.
    You are correct that the admissions officers would tell you precisely that. Aside from the fact that it would be extremely rude to bother them in the midst of reading dozens of applications a day (which is NOT fun, I can assure you), they have no idea about the "soft" factors of your application -- letters of recommendation, essays, extracurriculars, and so on -- and thus can't (and won't) comment on your chances.


    (Original post by jayranger)
    What I'm asking is, even if I manage to achieve those predicted grades in the summer, is there any point in me applying
    When students ask that, I always encourage them to apply. Your chances are low, to be sure, but so are most applicants' at those universities. The costs of applying can be hefty (fees for taking tests, fees for sending test scores, application fees), but I think it's worth it if you don't have to live with a "What if?" mentality.

    You might want to look into taking the ACT. Many students tend to do better on the ACT than SAT (and vice versa). Many universities accept the ACT + writing in lieu of the SAT and subject tests, so it would probably also be a bit cheaper.
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    I REALLY don't think it's wroth applying with those grades regardless of the fact you just missed A*s. Exceptionally bright people get exceptionally high A*s anyway so it isn't an excuse to have just missed them.

    Princeton is IMO a definite no and Columbia an almost definite no: for Princeton ask yourself is it worth applying to Oxbridge with those grades?

    The answer is likely to be the same for Princeton as Oxbridge, so if you think it's worth applying to Oxbridge (which given you have drama as one of your main three and your GCSEs were low for a person applying to the most elite universities it probably isn't) with your grades and you have a good chance of getting in then you should apply to Princeton if not then you shouldn't.

    Having said that: you have nothing to lose except the admissions application fees and wasting time doing SATs/ ATC, so with that in mind maybe you should just go for it. I doubt you would be pleasantly surprised, but if you're going to regret not trying for the rest of your life then give it a go.
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    I'm bitter as **** about Columbia.

    Your grades look good, but grades REALLY aren't everything. Your SAT scores look sort of low to me - I had a 2060 combined, and I got rejected ED.

    But, what are some of your extracurriculars? If you do some amazing charity work on your gap year, I'd say your chances would improve greatly.
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    I'm Deputy Head Boy at my school, on the Curriculum and Interview Committees, Co-Chair of the Student Council, currently playing lead role in the Senior Drama Production; been playing guitar for about 6/7 years, co-hosted 'Battle of the Bands', won best duet at a local 'Performance Arts Festival', write philosophy essays/short stories/guitar pieces in my spare time....umm...oh yeah, striker for a 6th form football (soccer) team that my friend started outside of school, although that's gone to pot now, unfortunately. :P

    I'd also definitely get a stunning degree of recommendation from my English, Drama and Philosophy teachers as well as the Headteacher and Head of Sixth Form, as I know them all well and get on very well with them.

    I'm sure I could russle up a few more achievements. As for my gap year, I was initially intending to go to Japan for a year and teach English in a secondary school, but due to my poor SAT scores, it would be impossible to negotiate retakes and revision with that plan. Now I'll be spending the year with a job in motor sport promotion (marketing) would could involve travelling around Europe, Africa and the Middle East for a year with dad's friends.
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    (Original post by jayranger)
    Now I'll be spending the year with a job in motor sport promotion (marketing) would could involve travelling around Europe, Africa and the Middle East for a year with dad's friends.
    I wish my gap year was like that :|
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    (Original post by jayranger)
    What I'm asking is, even if I manage to achieve those predicted grades in the summer, is there any point in me applying?
    If you are going to take a Gap with superior grades as they've said (so As preferable)

    I did the SAT reasoning test in mid-November without revising just to see how I'd do without any sort of help and I got 1890.
    I won't lie. That was stupid. People revise for weeks, sometimes months for this. It appears to me you weren't taking this seriously. They are ivy's mind you. People score a lot higher than this and fail to get in.

    Now, bear with me...I got a really low mark for Maths (which I haven't touched since Year 11) and if I hadn't screwed up my essay, I would have got 1970.
    You need to be hitting higher than 2050-2100 IMO if you want a chance at those two, or even an interview. Retake highly advised.

    What I'm asking is...if I get my predicted A2 grades and revise my ass off regarding subject tests and SAT reasoning exams, will it be worth applying to Princeton or Columbia's undergraduate colleges or am I simply wasting my time and effort on a fleeting dream? :P
    A similar question to what Oxbridge hopefuls ask. The answer is Yes. Provided you get the score + grades.
 
 
 
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