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    Hello forum

    I'm not familiar with the whole university system in the US so stop me where ever you think there is a problem. This is what I plan on doing.

    Going to apply to http://www.tamu.edu/ for a Computer Science undergrad. Thing is my A level grades were poor and some incomplete. So what I plan on doing is giving SAT/TOEFL and then applying. Now I don't know weather this will get me directly into the first year of my undergrad or the university will put me into offer me that "extra" year of collage to cover up for my A levels, then start an undergrad degree.

    Also, if anyone here is from Texas or has info about the system there, tell me about these collages universities send you too for that extra year.
    1. Are they part of the university?
    2. Do i take all basic subjects or those related to my undergrad only?
    3. Is this route advisable for international students?


    Anyways, after an year or two of my undergrad at Texas A&M I'll apply for a transfer to University of Texas (UTexas) because it is a MUCH highly ranked than A&M. Not applying directly to UTexas cause its a lot harder to get in and you need good A levels for a start :P, just SAT and TOEFL wont do. But then why not apply for the same extra year at a UTexas affiliated collage (if there are any) instead of A&M and then transferring later?

    I feel very lost. This is all very new to me. ANY help would be greatly appreciated!
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    (Original post by farhanbaig)
    Hello forum

    I'm not familiar with the whole university system in the US so stop me where ever you think there is a problem. This is what I plan on doing.

    Going to apply to http://www.tamu.edu/ for a Computer Science undergrad. Thing is my A level grades were poor and some incomplete. So what I plan on doing is giving SAT/TOEFL and then applying. Now I don't know weather this will get me directly into the first year of my undergrad or the university will put me into offer me that "extra" year of collage to cover up for my A levels, then start an undergrad degree.

    Also, if anyone here is from Texas or has info about the system there, tell me about these collages universities send you too for that extra year.
    1. Are they part of the university?
    2. Do i take all basic subjects or those related to my undergrad only?
    3. Is this route advisable for international students?


    Anyways, after an year or two of my undergrad at Texas A&M I'll apply for a transfer to University of Texas (UTexas) because it is a MUCH highly ranked than A&M. Not applying directly to UTexas cause its a lot harder to get in and you need good A levels for a start :P, just SAT and TOEFL wont do. But then why not apply for the same extra year at a UTexas affiliated collage (if there are any) instead of A&M and then transferring later?

    I feel very lost. This is all very new to me. ANY help would be greatly appreciated!
    Texas A&M is such a bad*** school. You'd have an amazing time there. No reason to transfer to Texas, A&M IS really well ranked for math/science.

    A ton of foreigners start at community colleges. I'll just give you an example of what they do in Georgia. Georgia Perimeter College, which is a community college, has a transfer admissions guarantee program with all GA schools. A ton of Asians will go to Perimeter for 2 years and transfer to Georgia Tech, which is a top engineering school. You do 2 yrs a the community college and 2 yrs at the university. You end up with a bachelors. A lot of foreigners will do this bc they are on level for math and science, but their english is poor.

    Texas will have a lot of similar programs to this. You could probably start at a community college and transfer to Texas if you really want to.

    For number 2, in the US we have a liberal arts education. Usually you knock the "core" out in the first two years of the degree. So most people who go to community college will just take all of the core classes, that way they can focus on the major when they get to the uni.

    Definitely advisable. Also--Columbia's engineering school has a program with something like 80 different US colleges and universities, where if you maintain a certain GPA and take the core engineering curriculum they outline, you are guaranteed in.
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    (Original post by adam0311)
    Texas A&M is such a bad*** school. You'd have an amazing time there. No reason to transfer to Texas, A&M IS really well ranked for math/science.

    A ton of foreigners start at community colleges. I'll just give you an example of what they do in Georgia. Georgia Perimeter College, which is a community college, has a transfer admissions guarantee program with all GA schools. A ton of Asians will go to Perimeter for 2 years and transfer to Georgia Tech, which is a top engineering school. You do 2 yrs a the community college and 2 yrs at the university. You end up with a bachelors. A lot of foreigners will do this bc they are on level for math and science, but their english is poor.

    Texas will have a lot of similar programs to this. You could probably start at a community college and transfer to Texas if you really want to.

    For number 2, in the US we have a liberal arts education. Usually you knock the "core" out in the first two years of the degree. So most people who go to community college will just take all of the core classes, that way they can focus on the major when they get to the uni.

    Definitely advisable. Also--Columbia's engineering school has a program with something like 80 different US colleges and universities, where if you maintain a certain GPA and take the core engineering curriculum they outline, you are guaranteed in.
    Thanks for the detailed reply, Adam! Much appreciated. But I'm afraid i have more questions.

    1. This is kind of opposite to what i heard. I look for a community collage which has links to other universities? What everyone has been telling me is to decide on a university and then ask them what collages they are affiliated with.

    1.1 What are the requirements for CCs (community collages)? I know its a broad question but is it usually just SATs and TOEFL?

    1.2 Again, what everyone told me is that universities would put me in a CC for an EXTRA year, which would not be counted in my 4 year undergrad. This year is like a replacement for those students who don't meet A level requirements to directly get into an undergrad at a university. After this year, i will start my 4 year undergrad.
    So tell me if i am mistaken, your saying that I can get into a CC with just my SAT/TOEFL (and maybe O levels), study for 2 years and then continue the other 2 years at a university and end up with my undergrad degree? This seems awfully convenient :P I'm sure I misunderstood something.

    1.3 Ok, so considering i get into a CC via a university, will they guarantee me a spot, if i get the required GPA, or higher GPA students might get in before me, even if i DID meet requirements? Would i end up stuck in a CC for 4 years for a diploma? Don't want a diploma!

    2. Yea I've been checking out rankings and A&M is in the top 50. But Texas in the top top 15-20. Since both are in Texas, would there be a similar collage which i can go to, and then depending on my results, get into either one of the two. Or both universities take students from different collages? (this is one of those questions where you direct me to ask the university (everyone does) but for someone reason I've never had luck with that... always get an auto response providing links to useless stuff - have never been able to talk to a guidance councilor).

    Lastly, tell me about what you are doing/did and from where?
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    (Original post by farhanbaig)
    Thanks for the detailed reply, Adam! Much appreciated. But I'm afraid i have more questions.

    1. This is kind of opposite to what i heard. I look for a community collage which has links to other universities? What everyone has been telling me is to decide on a university and then ask them what collages they are affiliated with.

    1.1 What are the requirements for CCs (community collages)? I know its a broad question but is it usually just SATs and TOEFL?

    1.2 Again, what everyone told me is that universities would put me in a CC for an EXTRA year, which would not be counted in my 4 year undergrad. This year is like a replacement for those students who don't meet A level requirements to directly get into an undergrad at a university. After this year, i will start my 4 year undergrad.
    So tell me if i am mistaken, your saying that I can get into a CC with just my SAT/TOEFL (and maybe O levels), study for 2 years and then continue the other 2 years at a university and end up with my undergrad degree? This seems awfully convenient :P I'm sure I misunderstood something.

    1.3 Ok, so considering i get into a CC via a university, will they guarantee me a spot, if i get the required GPA, or higher GPA students might get in before me, even if i DID meet requirements? Would i end up stuck in a CC for 4 years for a diploma? Don't want a diploma!

    2. Yea I've been checking out rankings and A&M is in the top 50. But Texas in the top top 15-20. Since both are in Texas, would there be a similar collage which i can go to, and then depending on my results, get into either one of the two. Or both universities take students from different collages? (this is one of those questions where you direct me to ask the university (everyone does) but for someone reason I've never had luck with that... always get an auto response providing links to useless stuff - have never been able to talk to a guidance councilor).

    Lastly, tell me about what you are doing/did and from where?
    1. Yes, what people are telling you about that is correct. But this typically only applies to state schools (like Texas and Texas A&M). Some people, however, will go to any community college, get a high GPA, and transfer to a private school. Cornell, for example, accepted 50% of transfers.

    1.1. Each CC has an international office. Your best bet is to contact the CC's you are interested in and see what they want. I know at the CC's in Georgia don't require the SAT. However, if you get a certain minimum score (something like 470-490 a section) you are in. CC admissions is not competitive. Its not supposed to be. I wouldn't worry about this aspect so much. How many A levels did you do? Did you pass them? Did you do AS?

    1.2 I doubt they'd put you in for an extra year. If you made it to A level, even if you didn't complete it...you are still ahead of American high school students since we only have 12 years vs. 13 years. Your written english is fine so language won't hold you back. I'm sure this is the case for people who come to the US without knowing any english. Yes , 2 yrs at CC +2 yrs at the uni is usually how it works.

    1.3 The guaranteed programs are usually called "Transfer Admissions Guarantee." The way they work is you meet the minimum GPA set forth by the uni, and you are guaranteed a place. Simple as that. It's non-competitive. Just have to meet minimum GPA.

    2. Is there a reason you are just limiting yourself to the state of Texas? Do you have family there? If not, definitely widen your search. It will give you more options.

    As far as my "story," I'm American and a senior in high school (year 12). I'm in a program called joint enrollment where instead of taking classes at my high school, I take them in college. So I'm very familiar with the different routes.

    I'm going to give you a few links to look through about transfer admission guarantee programs in different states:

    1. http://www.universityofcalifornia.ed...tee/index.html
    2. http://www.gpc.edu/tag/schoolstochoosefrom.html
    3. http://admissions.tc.umn.edu/admissi...cap_intro.html
    4. http://admissions.tamu.edu/TAP/default.aspx
    5. http://www.mccneb.edu/articulation/
    6. http://www.tcc.edu/academics/program...sfer/agree.htm

    That should get you started. I'll go through each link here.

    1. UC San Diego, Irvine, and Davis are all really solid universities.
    2. Georgia Tech would be the only school of interest on this list. #4 best engineering school in the country.
    3. UMinnesota, another solid engineering school.
    4. Here's the link you'll probably be most interested in. Contact each of the CC's on the list. All you would need is 24 credits and a 3.0 GPA, so you could even transfer after one year.
    5. Probably not the strongest option for you. But it includes Nebraska (which is now in the big 10), Iowa, and Embry Riddle.
    6. This option is solid. You can transfer to Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, College of William and Mary.
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    (Original post by adam0311)
    Texas A&M is such a bad*** school. You'd have an amazing time there. No reason to transfer to Texas, A&M IS really well ranked for math/science.
    I'd choose Texas over A&M in a heartbeat. Austin is much more fun than College Station, and A&M is far too conservative for my taste.

    It also has a much better reputation, though Aggies are rabid about their school.

    (Original post by adam0311)
    Cornell, for example, accepted 50% of transfers.
    Not sure where you got that figure, but it's incorrect. Computer science at Cornell is in Engineering, which accepts 11% of transfers. Cornell CAS accepts only 7% of transfers. Including the state-supported colleges, the overall transfer admit rate is around 20%.

    (Original post by farhanbaig)
    Is this route advisable for international students?
    Depends on your finances. Community colleges are great for those in the local community, but many (perhaps most) do not offer housing. You'll need to factor in housing, food, and transportation costs on top of tuition. As an international/out-of-state student, your tuition fees will be much higher, and you can expect relatively little financial aid -- if any at all. This is admittedly still a cheaper route than a traditional college. Attending A&M would likely be more expensive.

    Financial aid for transfers is often quite limited. Even some of the elite schools are not need-blind for transfer applicants (e.g. Brown). Can you afford to pay for everything out of pocket? Establishing residency is not a feasible option; you have to prove that you have been living in that state for reasons other than education.

    (Original post by farhanbaig)
    Ok, so considering i get into a CC via a university, will they guarantee me a spot, if i get the required GPA, or higher GPA students might get in before me, even if i DID meet requirements? Would i end up stuck in a CC for 4 years for a diploma? Don't want a diploma!
    That's where it pays to read the fine print. Just a few issues:
    • Often guaranteed transfer agreements are valid only for in-state residents.
    • In many cases, you are guaranteed a transfer to a state school, but not necessarily the one you want to attend. Berkeley and UCLA, for example, do not have agreements with any community colleges.
    • Many agreements may guarantee admission to the school itself, but not necessarily to your intended major. This is particularly likely if your major is extremely popular or has many prerequisites.
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    (Original post by devil09)
    I'd choose Texas over A&M in a heartbeat. Austin is much more fun than College Station, and A&M is far too conservative for my taste.

    It also has a much better reputation, though Aggies are rabid about their school.
    Depends what you want out of uni. As far as reputation goes, the two schools are about 3 spots apart in engineering rankings. So you can't go wrong with either. Only reason I made the comment about not transferring, is that its just going to be an additional hassle for a minuscule difference. Alumni network is much stronger at A&M, mainly because of the aggie spirit. Given the option between A&M and Texas, I'd go for Texas. But I wouldn't waste my time transferring if I was already at A&M.


    (Original post by devil09)

    Not sure where you got that figure, but it's incorrect. Computer science at Cornell is in Engineering, which accepts 11% of transfers. Cornell CAS accepts only 7% of transfers. Including the state-supported colleges, the overall transfer admit rate is around 20%.
    Just pulled the stat out of memory, couldn't remember what it was exactly. But anyways after looking it up, CAS accepts 14 percent of transfers. Engineering accepts 19 percent. Personally what I would do is apply to Hotel or ILR, since they both have transfer rates above 50 percent. Then just switch to engineering. Although if I were doing engineering I would jump on Columbia's 3+2, which is basically a shoe in for anybody with a 3.2 or above who has completed the required coursework.
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    (Original post by adam0311)
    1. Yes, what people are telling you about that is correct. But this typically only applies to state schools (like Texas and Texas A&M). Some people, however, will go to any community college, get a high GPA, and transfer to a private school. Cornell, for example, accepted 50% of transfers.

    1.1. Each CC has an international office. Your best bet is to contact the CC's you are interested in and see what they want. I know at the CC's in Georgia don't require the SAT. However, if you get a certain minimum score (something like 470-490 a section) you are in. CC admissions is not competitive. Its not supposed to be. I wouldn't worry about this aspect so much. How many A levels did you do? Did you pass them? Did you do AS?

    1.2 I doubt they'd put you in for an extra year. If you made it to A level, even if you didn't complete it...you are still ahead of American high school students since we only have 12 years vs. 13 years. Your written english is fine so language won't hold you back. I'm sure this is the case for people who come to the US without knowing any english. Yes , 2 yrs at CC +2 yrs at the uni is usually how it works.

    1.3 The guaranteed programs are usually called "Transfer Admissions Guarantee." The way they work is you meet the minimum GPA set forth by the uni, and you are guaranteed a place. Simple as that. It's non-competitive. Just have to meet minimum GPA.

    2. Is there a reason you are just limiting yourself to the state of Texas? Do you have family there? If not, definitely widen your search. It will give you more options.

    As far as my "story," I'm American and a senior in high school (year 12). I'm in a program called joint enrollment where instead of taking classes at my high school, I take them in college. So I'm very familiar with the different routes.

    I'm going to give you a few links to look through about transfer admission guarantee programs in different states:

    1. http://www.universityofcalifornia.ed...tee/index.html
    2. http://www.gpc.edu/tag/schoolstochoosefrom.html
    3. http://admissions.tc.umn.edu/admissi...cap_intro.html
    4. http://admissions.tamu.edu/TAP/default.aspx
    5. http://www.mccneb.edu/articulation/
    6. http://www.tcc.edu/academics/program...sfer/agree.htm

    That should get you started. I'll go through each link here.

    1. UC San Diego, Irvine, and Davis are all really solid universities.
    2. Georgia Tech would be the only school of interest on this list. #4 best engineering school in the country.
    3. UMinnesota, another solid engineering school.
    4. Here's the link you'll probably be most interested in. Contact each of the CC's on the list. All you would need is 24 credits and a 3.0 GPA, so you could even transfer after one year.
    5. Probably not the strongest option for you. But it includes Nebraska (which is now in the big 10), Iowa, and Embry Riddle.
    6. This option is solid. You can transfer to Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, College of William and Mary.
    1. I see. Well private schools are kind of above what I can afford, at least all the worthy ones. You later asked why am I limiting my self to Texas. A couple of reasons: Warm weather (I've lived my whole life near the equator and cannot stand the cold for long), Texas is one of those places which has the decent quality/price ratio (expenses wise, tuition will probably be the same in the other states, right?), also (and this is a stupid one!) it is located in the middle of the US so both coasts aren't that far off, traveling for the weekends wont be that long where ever I go.
    Avoiding Cali on the whole for the same reason, costs.

    1.1 I did get decent grades in my O levels (BBCCDD. One of the B's was in English). How many years of education is O levels considered as? I ask because my A levels will probably have zero value. I gave some AS only and some complete A levels.

    D in Business Studies - A level
    E in Economics - AS only
    C in General paper - A level (but from what i know, this is worthless?)

    Don't judge me! :P I just kinda lost interest in those 2 years...
    So does your answer to 1.2 still stand?


    Checking out all the links now. Will ask if I have any questions regarding.
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    (Original post by devil09)
    I'd choose Texas over A&M in a heartbeat. Austin is much more fun than College Station, and A&M is far too conservative for my taste.

    It also has a much better reputation, though Aggies are rabid about their school.


    Not sure where you got that figure, but it's incorrect. Computer science at Cornell is in Engineering, which accepts 11% of transfers. Cornell CAS accepts only 7% of transfers. Including the state-supported colleges, the overall transfer admit rate is around 20%.


    Depends on your finances. Community colleges are great for those in the local community, but many (perhaps most) do not offer housing. You'll need to factor in housing, food, and transportation costs on top of tuition. As an international/out-of-state student, your tuition fees will be much higher, and you can expect relatively little financial aid -- if any at all. This is admittedly still a cheaper route than a traditional college. Attending A&M would likely be more expensive.

    Financial aid for transfers is often quite limited. Even some of the elite schools are not need-blind for transfer applicants (e.g. Brown). Can you afford to pay for everything out of pocket? Establishing residency is not a feasible option; you have to prove that you have been living in that state for reasons other than education.


    That's where it pays to read the fine print. Just a few issues:
    • Often guaranteed transfer agreements are valid only for in-state residents.
    • In many cases, you are guaranteed a transfer to a state school, but not necessarily the one you want to attend. Berkeley and UCLA, for example, do not have agreements with any community colleges.
    • Many agreements may guarantee admission to the school itself, but not necessarily to your intended major. This is particularly likely if your major is extremely popular or has many prerequisites.

    I wasn't relying on any financial aid anyway. Also dont plant on applying for residency or citizenship until after my studies - if i can get a job there that is.
    Just to give me an idea, whats the annual tuition at a community collage for an international student?
    Why would A&M be more expensive? And as compared to UTexas?

    And many cheers to you for bringing those transfer policies to light. Will have to look out for those.
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    (Original post by farhanbaig)
    1. I see. Well private schools are kind of above what I can afford, at least all the worthy ones. You later asked why am I limiting my self to Texas. A couple of reasons: Warm weather (I've lived my whole life near the equator and cannot stand the cold for long), Texas is one of those places which has the decent quality/price ratio (expenses wise, tuition will probably be the same in the other states, right?), also (and this is a stupid one!) it is located in the middle of the US so both coasts aren't that far off, traveling for the weekends wont be that long where ever I go.
    Avoiding Cali on the whole for the same reason, costs.

    1.1 I did get decent grades in my O levels (BBCCDD. One of the B's was in English). How many years of education is O levels considered as? I ask because my A levels will probably have zero value. I gave some AS only and some complete A levels.

    D in Business Studies - A level
    E in Economics - AS only
    C in General paper - A level (but from what i know, this is worthless?)

    Don't judge me! :P I just kinda lost interest in those 2 years...
    So does your answer to 1.2 still stand?


    Checking out all the links now. Will ask if I have any questions regarding.
    As far as travelling goes...it depends. Personally, I'd prefer being on the east coast...as there's a lot more to do IMO. There's NYC, DC, Florida, etc. On the west coast all there is is California and Vegas. I have visited Cali several times bc I have family there. But quite frankly, if I never went back...I wouldn't miss out on a thing. Personal preference though. Expenses---college towns are always going to be about the same price wise....as long as you avoid UCLA and NYU (Los Angeles and New York City). As long as you aren't going out every single night, Austin isn't too bad on a budget. I have a few friends that go there.

    1.1 You should email the international office of all the community colleges listed for transferring. When you email them, make sure you email their international office specifically. As its unlikely regular admissions will have any idea. It might even be worth calling...you could use skype or google voice. They could probably best give you an idea. Even if you have to take the SAT it won't be bad. For the SAT, you would just need to shoot for around 450-470 a section. Which is not difficult at all. A lot of community colleges have their own entrance exams for people who don't have formal qualifications. You could do this instead of the SAT. It would not be difficult at all.
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    (Original post by adam0311)
    As far as travelling goes...it depends. Personally, I'd prefer being on the east coast...as there's a lot more to do IMO. There's NYC, DC, Florida, etc. On the west coast all there is is California and Vegas. I have visited Cali several times bc I have family there. But quite frankly, if I never went back...I wouldn't miss out on a thing. Personal preference though. Expenses---college towns are always going to be about the same price wise....as long as you avoid UCLA and NYU (Los Angeles and New York City). As long as you aren't going out every single night, Austin isn't too bad on a budget. I have a few friends that go there.

    1.1 You should email the international office of all the community colleges listed for transferring. When you email them, make sure you email their international office specifically. As its unlikely regular admissions will have any idea. It might even be worth calling...you could use skype or google voice. They could probably best give you an idea. Even if you have to take the SAT it won't be bad. For the SAT, you would just need to shoot for around 450-470 a section. Which is not difficult at all. A lot of community colleges have their own entrance exams for people who don't have formal qualifications. You could do this instead of the SAT. It would not be difficult at all.

    Yea I've been in touch the A&Ms international office - by email though.
    Found out about the TAP program. Its basically a normal transfer after two years of collage (only specific listed ones) and your admission is guaranteed with the major you want IF you get the required 3.0 GPA. And if i get something below that, i can always try for a normal transfer (A&M requires 2.5 for that) at other places too.
    Giving TOEFL next month. Planning on SAT too but will have to take about 2 months worth of tuition for that (for the maths bit).
    And yea ive already mailed A&Ms office about collage requirements. I just wanted a students opinion on the side as well. Which i got to my satisfaction!
    Thanks bud!
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    I read about half way through, and as someone from Texas (Texan? Aghhhh.) I can confirm that UT Austin is considered much more prestigious. It's a very competitive school to get in to, and while A&M is considered a great school, UT Austin is the clear winner. And A&M is well known for agriculture and animals and fdsajisd;ofj etc, so there are more "Texan" students (think cowboy boots).

    Also Austin's a really cool city!
    Best of luck either way.
 
 
 
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