Applying to Dartmouth with A-levels Watch

gannusya
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My predicted grades are A*A*A*B (Psychology, Gov&Pol, Russian, Maths)
Are predicted A2 grades like this fine for applying to Dartmouth? I am also sure I can get A for Maths (I am going to retake some of AS units)
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mathplustutornj
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Those seem like scores where you will have a shot at Oxbridge and LSE. For English schools the Maths might be considered not relevant to your field of study and not hurt you much with 3 A*s. It is obvious you are not as good at maths/science and you might point that out in applications to US schools.

Those sound like scores Dartmouth would be looking for. US schools are also interested in GSCEs and US tests, as well as a lot of other things discussed in this forum. Elite US schools don't just accept you because you meet the qualifications, so I would apply to a bunch of them, not just Dartmouth.
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NYU℠
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(Original post by gannusya)
My predicted grades are A*A*A*B (Psychology, Gov&Pol, Russian, Maths)
Are predicted A2 grades like this fine for applying to Dartmouth? I am also sure I can get A for Maths (I am going to retake some of AS units)
You'll need to take the SAT and score 2200 or higher; you'll need to take the SAT II subject tests and score above 700 in each. You'll need to have excellent essays and a nice list of ECs.

Admission to US elite universities is more competitive than UK universities.
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mathplustutornj
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Not more competitive, but different. The systems are not compatible. Like 30 US citizens living in the US are admitted to Oxbridge each year. It is fairly difficult to simulate 3 A's on A-levels coming from the US. In England you focus on 3 or 4 subjects for 2 years, whereas in the US everyone takes basically the same subjects and is expected to do sports and other activities.

In the US, it isn't based on as easily identifiable criteria, and there are probably even more barriers for someone from an ordinary background.
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NYU℠
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(Original post by mathplustutornj)
Not more competitive, but different. The systems are not compatible. Like 30 US citizens living in the US are admitted to Oxbridge each year. It is fairly difficult to simulate 3 A's on A-levels coming from the US. In England you focus on 3 or 4 subjects for 2 years, whereas in the US everyone takes basically the same subjects and is expected to do sports and other activities.

In the US, it isn't based on as easily identifiable criteria, and there are probably even more barriers for someone from an ordinary background.
Having studied at university level in both countries, I'm familiar with admissions and the differences between education. I will still insist that elite university admission in the US is more competitive than elite university admission in the UK.

The UK admission process relies primarily on A-level grades. The US admission process relies on grades, SAT scores and ECs.
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mathplustutornj
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It is harder to get into US universities with 3 A* s on A-levels. However, very few students at Harvard / Yale / Princeton could get into Oxbridge.
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NYU℠
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(Original post by mathplustutornj)
It is harder to get into US universities with 3 A* s on A-levels. However, very few students at Harvard / Yale / Princeton could get into Oxbridge.
Your evidence for this is, what?
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mathplustutornj
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As I mentioned, there are only 30 US citizens in school in the US admitted to Oxbridge every year. About 4000 students are admitted to Harvard / Yale / Princeton every year. Not all US students want to go to Oxbridge or know they have a chance of getting in, but that says something. You have to show the equivalent of 3 high scoring A levels when you are not specializing as much as in England. That puts you at a huge disadvantage.

Now if a US student is weak in certain areas, such as math/science or English/foreign language, if a student has relatively bad grades compared to SAT IIs and AP Exams, or if student has weak ECs, that student may have better chances applying to Oxbridge.
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NYU℠
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(Original post by mathplustutornj)
As I mentioned, there are only 30 US citizens in school in the US admitted to Oxbridge every year. About 4000 students are admitted to Harvard / Yale / Princeton every year. Not all US students want to go to Oxbridge or know they have a chance of getting in, but that says something. You have to show the equivalent of 3 high scoring A levels when you are not specializing as much as in England. That puts you at a huge disadvantage.
The actual number of students at Oxbridge from the US is not a sufficient metric, especially since you haven't provided the number of A-level students at US elites.

Secondly, the question is whether or not elite US university admission is more competitive than UK; not how many students actually were admitted. Nor is the question "Is Oxbridge admission more competitive for US applicants than UK applicants". You've addressed entirely irrelevant points and failed to provide appropriate data.

Now if a US student is weak in certain areas, such as math/science or English/foreign language, if a student has relatively bad grades compared to SAT IIs and AP Exams, or if student has weak ECs, that student may have better chances applying to Oxbridge.
This translates into somewhat less competitive admissions.
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mathplustutornj
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The English system is more advanced in preparation and particularly in the undergraduate education for whatever subject you study. You only study one field at university and the A-levels are designed to prepare for that.

In the US, everybody applying to top schools basically studies like 1/5 of their time every year on each of maths, science, history/government, English, and foreign language. It is hard to simulate A-levels with AP exam when you have spent much less time studying the specific areas.

I is hard to get into top US schools on straight academics, form the US or internationally as large numbers of places to students based on money or connections, they want them for a sports team, they have spectacular ECs or accomplishments, or something like that. US schools don't have such clear requirements or give much information on how they make admissions decisions.

The English system provides at least as good preparation as in the US, so I can't see how the admission is more competitive in the US. The systems or very different, so there are obstacles in applying from one country to the other.
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NYU℠
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(Original post by mathplustutornj)
The English system provides at least as good preparation as in the US, so I can't see how the admission is more competitive in the US. The systems or very different, so there are obstacles in applying from one country to the other.
Because the US requires more achievements in different areas than the UK system. In the UK system you need to merely perform well on the A-level exams. In the US you need to perform well in your classes, take APs/do well on your AP exams, do well on the SAT (or ACT) and SAT II subject tests, there are more essays for the US system (which are more difficult to write), you need ECs (something the UK doesn't require).

The UK you merely need good grades, in the US you need good grades and other things.
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mathplustutornj
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The English system is oriented towards advanced knowledge in specialised areas. Most students at top US schools don't have like 12 AP exams with high scores, which is sort of the equivalent of 4 A-levels. So I wouldn't say the English system is easier.

It is hard both ways applying to different systems. Also, there are zillions of international applicants to US schools, particularly from Asia, and it is harder to get in as an international student.

In the US, they look at a lot of different criteria, and this is probably closer to the way universities selected students 240 years ago. The British system is more rigid and leads to greater standardisation and better preparation to study particular subjects.

The English system appears to be more objective. However, by basing it on what you know of relatively advanced subjects, there is great advantage to students from better schools with private tutors and so on.
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elaras
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(Original post by NYU2012)
You'll need to take the SAT and score 2200 or higher; you'll need to take the SAT II subject tests and score above 700 in each. You'll need to have excellent essays and a nice list of ECs.

Admission to US elite universities is more competitive than UK universities.
It's good to have that, but you don't NEED it. I JUST got 2200, and got lower than 700 in each of my subject tests. I applied to 5 colleges, got accepted at 2 (UChi, Brown), waitlisted at 2 (Yale, Cornell), and rejected by 1 (Harvard). Looking back on my apps, B and UChi were by far my best essays, and Harvard (and to an extent Cornell), were by far my worst. My Yale one was alright, but slightly awkward, as I was asked to talk about a significant EC - which I had already done in my CommonApp essay. So yeah, what I'm trying to say is imo US Admissions come down a lot more to the intangibles, like essays
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Mihael_Keehl
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US is harder to get in but AP's are a joke.

To get into Oxbridge you have to be really smart, but to get into HYPSM you just have to be really rich.

Sad but true, and yes since schools like HYPSM admit a lot of jocks to carry their sports teams statistically the calibre of intelligence of students going to oxbridge clearly exceed hypsm on average.
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NYU℠
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(Original post by Mihael_Keehl)
To get into Oxbridge you have to be really smart, but to get into HYPSM you just have to be really rich.
That's not really accurate.

Sad but true, and yes since schools like HYPSM admit a lot of jocks to carry their sports teams statistically the calibre of intelligence of students going to oxbridge clearly exceed hypsm on average.
False. Harvard, Yale and Princeton are part of the ivy league - meaning they aren't allowed to recruit for sports.

I have no idea where you're coming up with this, but it's clearly not true. The average HYPSM student is going to be just as excellent as any oxbridge student re 'intelligence'.
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elaras
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(Original post by NYU2012)
False. Harvard, Yale and Princeton are part of the ivy league - meaning they aren't allowed to recruit for sports.

I have no idea where you're coming up with this, but it's clearly not true. The average HYPSM student is going to be just as excellent as any oxbridge student re 'intelligence'.
Um - p sure the Ivies recruit for sport seeing as I personally know sportspeople recruited to different ones... they just don't give sports based scholarships
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mathplustutornj
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The English system gives students with good preparation, such as public schools or private tutors a big advantage, as it stresses knowledge of relatively advanced topics. However, if you get all A*s or whatever, you can generally get into Oxbridge or LSE.

In the US this is not the case. There was a thread on another forum where some guy in California was valedictorian, meaning the highest grades in his high school and had 4 800s on SAT IIs and 14 5s on AP exams. He applied to all the top schools, but got into Berkeley, Amherst, and Cooper Union. He had trouble with ethnic and geographic quotas, had weak ECs, and it sounds like his essays were awful. This is extreme, but often students with top academic credentials wind up at number 20 or so schools. At top Ivies, there are many students in on money , connections, athletics, great ECs, to fill a place for someone from North Dakota or whatever. US schools are extremely expensive, and many people go to state schools or schools that offer merit scholarships, due to lack of funds.

If you are applying as an international student, it is harder to get in. There are zillions of students from Asia with top credentials applying to US schools. Also, a degree from a top US school has great prestige in many parts of the world, similar to an Oxbridge degree.

There may be some prestige in the UK in having a degree from a top US schools, partly because people know it is harder to get in than Oxbridge from the UK. Particularly Harvard or MIT or whatever degree might be real impressive. However, I don't think any US school is better than Oxbridge. Dartmouth is probably significantly inferior and very expensive.
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Mihael_Keehl
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(Original post by mathplustutornj)
The English system gives students with good preparation, such as public schools or private tutors a big advantage, as it stresses knowledge of relatively advanced topics. However, if you get all A*s or whatever, you can generally get into Oxbridge or LSE.

In the US this is not the case. There was a thread on another forum where some guy in California was valedictorian, meaning the highest grades in his high school and had 4 800s on SAT IIs and 14 5s on AP exams. He applied to all the top schools, but got into Berkeley, Amherst, and Cooper Union. He had trouble with ethnic and geographic quotas, had weak ECs, and it sounds like his essays were awful. This is extreme, but often students with top academic credentials wind up at number 20 or so schools. At top Ivies, there are many students in on money , connections, athletics, great ECs, to fill a place for someone from North Dakota or whatever. US schools are extremely expensive, and many people go to state schools or schools that offer merit scholarships, due to lack of funds.

If you are applying as an international student, it is harder to get in. There are zillions of students from Asia with top credentials applying to US schools. Also, a degree from a top US school has great prestige in many parts of the world, similar to an Oxbridge degree.

There may be some prestige in the UK in having a degree from a top US schools, partly because people know it is harder to get in than Oxbridge from the UK. Particularly Harvard or MIT or whatever degree might be real impressive. However, I don't think any US school is better than Oxbridge. Dartmouth is probably significantly inferior and very expensive.
This is the best post I have read in a long time.

Can I ask if you are an international who has weak EC's is asian and has not done any olympiads (not really had the opportunity), and is poor - would I have any chance of getting into a competitive US school.
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mathplustutornj
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In answer to Miheal, applying for scholarships to top US schools from Asia is extremely competitive. If you can show unusual ability, in other ways, they will understand that you didn't have opportunities for Olympiads. Also, it is important to get top scores on the all sections of the SAT. If you are applying for STEM, it is a big plus if you can submit a good SAT II or whatever is a non math/science subject. Being well-rounded is valued. How you come across in your essays and the faculty reference is important. You want to show personality, in contrast to stereotypes.

It still might not be worth it if you only get scholarship offers from state schools or whatever, you might be better off going to school in Asia.

PhD programs in the US give you free tuition and a small salary. Admissions is more like in the UK, usually decided by the department on academics related to what you want to study. So that might be a better bet.

Engineering schools, such as MIT and Caltech are also closer to the British approach with admissions. They usually want scores in math/science, they don't have serious athletic teams and aren't favoured by the wealthy.

By contrast top liberal arts colleges, and maybe Dartmouth and top Ivies, are considered "preppy", which, without going into details, means the admissions approach is more like that of a prep school.

Admissions to really top US schools is much harder in general than Oxbridge. There are 40% as many students admitted to Harvard and Yale and Oxbridge in a country with 5x the population. So you figure it is much more elite. There are problems with fees and international admissions. Plus not sure they are really better schools than Oxbridge/LSE.
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Mihael_Keehl
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(Original post by mathplustutornj)
In answer to Miheal, applying for scholarships to top US schools from Asia is extremely competitive. If you can show unusual ability, in other ways, they will understand that you didn't have opportunities for Olympiads. Also, it is important to get top scores on the all sections of the SAT. If you are applying for STEM, it is a big plus if you can submit a good SAT II or whatever is a non math/science subject. Being well-rounded is valued. How you come across in your essays and the faculty reference is important. You want to show personality, in contrast to stereotypes.

It still might not be worth it if you only get scholarship offers from state schools or whatever, you might be better off going to school in Asia.

PhD programs in the US give you free tuition and a small salary. Admissions is more like in the UK, usually decided by the department on academics related to what you want to study. So that might be a better bet.

Engineering schools, such as MIT and Caltech are also closer to the British approach with admissions. They usually want scores in math/science, they don't have serious athletic teams and aren't favoured by the wealthy.

By contrast top liberal arts colleges, and maybe Dartmouth and top Ivies, are considered "preppy", which, without going into details, means the admissions approach is more like that of a prep school.

Admissions to really top US schools is much harder in general than Oxbridge. There are 40% as many students admitted to Harvard and Yale and Oxbridge in a country with 5x the population. So you figure it is much more elite. There are problems with fees and international admissions. Plus not sure they are really better schools than Oxbridge/LSE.
Thanks for the reply. I should have made it more clearer that I am from UK it is the ethnicity that I am asian.

I am doing 5-7 A Levels this year (Maths, FUrhter maths, additional further maths, physics, cehmistry, general studies and critical thinking) as well as all 3 STEP papers(Cambridge entrance exams for maths) as well as SAT and SAT math 1 math 2 physics (can't really do chemistry since the nearest test centre is 3 hours away from me.

If I get say 7 A*s will I have a chance at any scholarships my EC's are pretty weak but I don't attend a high school - I self teach and cannot afford tutors.

Thanks.
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