Applying to American universities AFTER leaving school? Watch

Itsme1304
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Hi everyone. I'm currently in my last year of schools preparing for A levels in German, Japanese, Economics and Politics. I applied to five UK universities but got rejected by my first choice and don't really want to go anywhere else. I'm going to be taking a gap year next year to potentially reapply to my first choice / get some experience in the languages I want to study, but was also thinking of applying to some American universities as well?


I'm new to the idea of studying in the US and am not really sure what I should be doing and when I should be doing it. Most advice on this site seems to be aimed at people in lower sixth who'll be applying in upper sixth, but I'll be applying after I've left school(?) so I'm not really sure how it will all work.


I was thinking of applying to some of the main Ivy League colleges plus a few others. Academically I'm quite strong (all A*s and a few As at GCSE, 4As at AS, predicted 3A*s and 1A for A2) and i do quite a few ECs as well. I know that you have to take SAT/ACT which is a bit worrying though, since I haven't studied maths since GCSE, which was 2 years ago.


Fees could be a potential problem. I know they're high and that you can get aid, but being an international students makes it harder(?) and I might not be eligible because of how much my parents earn (even though we probably couldn't afford it).


I'd be very grateful if anyone could point me in the right direction and give me some advice as to what I should be doing and when. Thank you very much in advance!
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Dyl98an
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I would recommend looking at Fulbright.com if you haven't yet. It's really helpful and it guides you through everything you need to know. I also want to apply in the US and I'm in yr 12; but my expected results are nowhere near as good as a more capable applicant. I'm taking biology, chemistry, Psychology and geography. I'm interested in applying for biomedical science but I would like to major first. I myself reckon the best I could get is a B in bio and chem, C in psychology and C in geography. Doing the SAT/ACT is no problem but I, also, don't remember any maths from year 11 even though it was last year :/. Hope the link helps
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apple32
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If you apply to an ivy league and get accepted, it is very possible to get a good amount of financial aid and sometimes even a full tuition package. I wouldn't say it's harder for an international student to get in.

I would start reviewing the subjects in the test now and then order a test prep book for whichever exam you want to take.

One thing you should consider is that the SAT is being redesigned so the tests being given starting in spring of 2016, will be different than what you are studying now. If that affects you and you find it too much of a hassle just take the ACT instead.

Also start reading about all the entrance requirements now. It's not like applying to universities in the UK. Each application will be slightly different, especially the essay portion.
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vaudevillain
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(Original post by apple32)
I wouldn't say it's harder for an international student to get in.
Unfortunately it is, as a matter of fact. Especially at the top schools that have a lot of interest from students all over the world, but all of them need to keep the number of internationals at around 10-15%, which means that often the American equivalent of you (or often even a weaker applicant overall) might be accepted where an intl is rejected.

Most or all of these top schools are also need aware for intl students, which means they show preference to people that can pay their own way. Itsme1304 I think that by far your biggest concern here will be the money. Start talks with your parents to see if this is a viable way for you to go down, ask how much you might be able to fund in-house, what alternate revenue streams you might be able to use etc. Because besides that you're absolutely fine. Your best bet for maths is to bribe a kind teacher for a few sessions to show you how to do some of the stuff, because SAT maths only gets as hard as A* GCSE, poking into AS territory - it looks deceptively easy because the majority of the test is stuff you'll have known and understood at GCSE but you need to have those top level questions down to get a competitive score. As for the test itself you have from now to December to take the SAT and the two subject tests for 2016 entry - the changes to the SAT won't actually affect you because they're too late for your admissions cycle anyway.

It will be easily doable for you if you sort out the money issue. Aside from that I would start researching schools you'd be interested in and look at what their application essay questions tend to be. Most places ask you to fill questions that are unique to them and it's an extremely dull process doing the writing for that.
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apple32
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(Original post by vaudevillain)
Unfortunately it is, as a matter of fact. Especially at the top schools that have a lot of interest from students all over the world, but all of them need to keep the number of internationals at around 10-15%, which means that often the American equivalent of you (or often even a weaker applicant overall) might be accepted where an intl is rejected.
I could see why you would think that but it's not that simple.

Just because the American student population is around 80% does not mean an American high school student has an 80% chance of getting in. The admissions for Americans is a lot more complicated than that. With both internationals and Americans, one of the goals for admissions officers is diversity. For Americans, particularly minority students, it means looking at ethnicity. So yes, that does mean that a white American student's chances are higher than the rest as they are the largest group on campus. You also have to consider, children of alumni who apply. It could be said that they have a better chance of getting in. Another thing to consider is that there is considerably more American applicants than international applicants (at Princeton, the numbers for 2014 was 4,879 internationals of the 26,642 applicants). For some of the Ivies, the % of admitted international students is as high as 17%. Harvard's admissions statistics provides a better picture of what I've described.

I would also have to disagree with your last sentence. I don't know where you got that from. International admissions is separate from American student admissions. Each office has numbers they have to work with and (this is my assumption) I don't think the American admissions office would take an international student's spot just because they could (I don't even know if that's possible). It just depends on the quality of the applicant pool. That is why the admissions numbers is different every year.

For me, admissions for an American to an Ivy feels roughly equal in competitiveness to their international counterpart's.
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vaudevillain
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(Original post by apple32)
I could see why you would think that but it's not that simple.

Just because the American student population is around 80% does not mean an American high school student has an 80% chance of getting in. The admissions for Americans is a lot more complicated than that. With both internationals and Americans, one of the goals for admissions officers is diversity. For Americans, particularly minority students, it means looking at ethnicity. So yes, that does mean that a white American student's chances are higher than the rest as they are the largest group on campus. You also have to consider, children of alumni who apply. It could be said that they have a better chance of getting in. Another thing to consider is that there is considerably more American applicants than international applicants (at Princeton, the numbers for 2014 was 4,879 internationals of the 26,642 applicants). For some of the Ivies, the % of admitted international students is as high as 17%. Harvard's admissions statistics provides a better picture of what I've described.

I would also have to disagree with your last sentence. I don't know where you got that from. International admissions is separate from American student admissions. Each office has numbers they have to work with and (this is my assumption) I don't think the American admissions office would take an international student's spot just because they could (I don't even know if that's possible). It just depends on the quality of the applicant pool. That is why the admissions numbers is different every year.

For me, admissions for an American to an Ivy feels roughly equal in competitiveness to their international counterpart's.
It's not what I "think" it's what I've been told repeatedly by US admissions specialists . And you've misunderstood what I've written - pretty much every US university has a very public acceptance rate percentage, I don't see how you'd conclude the student body breakdown would be equal to that acceptance rate but it's not. Diversity is only considered among domestics, if you apply as an international student you're put under the "international" catch-all for the purposes of their admissions statistics, and like I said that's a number that most schools aim to keep at 10%. Harvard's 11.2% internationals number is exactly what I mean.

Now even though there are a lot less international applicants, you have to consider the way this breaks down into the class spots available. 25k people going for around 2k spots will statistically have a better chance than 5k people wanting 2-300 spots available.

My last sentence follows from that - because of the sheer limited availability for internationals as opposed to domestics, as soon as a few hundred people come around with perfect test scores, perfect grades and perfect extracurriculars (whatever that means) your chances are diminished to near impossible if you don't happen to be one of those people. Whereas the American applicants have several thousand places to work with, those elite students can come in and also leave plenty of space for the comparatively 'average' applicants. Internationals don't have the luxury, which is why for the schools that provide them you often see that the average GPAs and test scores of international students is slightly higher. It may feel equally competitive, but it simply isn't
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