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    Hey

    I'm thinking of applying to unis like Duke, Cornell, Northwestern and some other ones (haven't decided yet). What GCSE and AS grades are they looking for roughly? Have any of you received offers form US unis? I am aware of the SAT and extra curricular stuff as well, but I am still confused about the grades since it's a different system.
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    (Original post by almannac)
    Hey

    I'm thinking of applying to unis like Duke, Cornell, Northwestern and some other ones (haven't decided yet). What GCSE and AS grades are they looking for roughly? Have any of you received offers form US unis? I am aware of the SAT and extra curricular stuff as well, but I am still confused about the grades since it's a different system.
    The highest grades you can get.. There are no conditions or entry requirements at top US schools. Instead your overall grade profile, rigour of your subjects, SAT (or ACT scores), ECs, writing style, personality etc are compared with other applicants in the applicant pool, so the grades and everything else you have need to be better than the next person's.

    If we're talking top 20-30/ivy league/top LACs, that would mean multiple As and A*s..



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    (Original post by Princepieman)
    The highest grades you can get.. There are no conditions or entry requirements at top US schools. Instead your overall grade profile, rigour of your subjects, SAT (or ACT scores), ECs, writing style, personality etc are compared with other applicants in the applicant pool, so the grades and everything else you have need to be better than the next person's.

    If we're talking top 20-30/ivy league/top LACs, that would mean multiple As and A*s..



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    Ok, thanks. I got 5A*, 5A 3B for GCSE and for AS I'm hoping for AAAA/AAAB in english lit, history spanish and german. I'm also doing extra things for A levels: Russian A level (my mother tongue but whatever- may get some credit for it) and an extended project essay in which I hope to get A/A*. Is that enough in terms of grades if I get decent SAT scores and have enough extra curricular activities?
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    (Original post by Princepieman)
    The highest grades you can get.. There are no conditions or entry requirements at top US schools. Instead your overall grade profile, rigour of your subjects, SAT (or ACT scores), ECs, writing style, personality etc are compared with other applicants in the applicant pool, so the grades and everything else you have need to be better than the next person's.

    If we're talking top 20-30/ivy league/top LACs, that would mean multiple As and A*s..



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    Following on from this, another important thing to consider is your financial situation, which unlike in the UK, can play a role in your admission success (you might already know about this - but I thought I'd jump in, just in case).

    Most schools in the US are 'need aware' for internationals, meaning that if you need lots of help with tuition, you are even less likely to get an offer (the standard is already higher for internationals). Getting an offer from a need-aware college is by no means impossible - many colleges still offer full rides for a select few - but it is very competitive.

    I believe only five universities in the US are need-blind for internationals - Harvard, Yale, Amherst, MIT, and Princeton - which are all very competitive.

    If it's a factor for you, it might be something else worth considering when choosing who to apply for.
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    (Original post by Topo15)
    Following on from this, another important thing to consider is your financial situation, which unlike in the UK, can play a role in your admission success (you might already know about this - but I thought I'd jump in, just in case).

    Most schools in the US are 'need aware' for internationals, meaning that if you need lots of help with tuition, you are even less likely to get an offer (the standard is already higher for internationals). Getting an offer from a need-aware college is by no means impossible - many colleges still offer full rides for a select few - but it is very competitive.

    I believe only five universities in the US are need-blind for internationals - Harvard, Yale, Amherst, MIT, and Princeton - which are all very competitive.

    If it's a factor for you, it might be something else worth considering when choosing who to apply for.
    My financial situation is luckily good. My parents will pay for everything if I get in. My mum is a big fan of American unis, so that's great for me
    The reason I'm asking about grades is cuz there is no point in applying and doing SAT tests if my grades are not good enough.
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    (Original post by almannac)
    My financial situation is luckily good. My parents will pay for everything if I get in. My mum is a big fan of American unis, so that's great for me
    The reason I'm asking about grades is cuz there is no point in applying and doing SAT tests if my grades are not good enough.
    Great then! I would say for the most part your grades are just fine then - but I would question the relevance of taking Russian A-Level. Regardless, you're SATs in general are much more important - good luck!
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    (Original post by almannac)
    Ok, thanks. I got 5A*, 5A 3B for GCSE and for AS I'm hoping for AAAA/AAAB in english lit, history spanish and german. I'm also doing extra things for A levels: Russian A level (my mother tongue but whatever- may get some credit for it) and an extended project essay in which I hope to get A/A*. Is that enough in terms of grades if I get decent SAT scores and have enough extra curricular activities?
    Grades are fine.. Just keep it up and hopefully get predicted decent A2 grades, aim for the best SAT scores you can too.

    'Enough' isn't really the word to use for ECs, the quantity doesn't matter as much as the quality does. If you're leading things, coordinating efforts, performing at a high (national or international) level, etc.. Then you'd be talking, merely doing a lot of activities won't give you an edge, at all.

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    (Original post by Topo15)
    Great then! I would say for the most part your grades are just fine then - but I would question the relevance of taking Russian A-Level. Regardless, you're SATs in general are much more important - good luck!
    Ok great thank you. Russian is just an easy extra cuz I don't need any preparation for it. I got 100% for AS last year cuz it's my mother tongue so I decided to do it anyway. I agree that it's unlikely to be of much benefit, but an easy A* in my pocket doesn't hurt.
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    (Original post by Topo15)
    Great then! I would say for the most part your grades are just fine then - but I would question the relevance of taking Russian A-Level. Regardless, you're SATs in general are much more important - good luck!
    I don't think it's fair to say that. A levels and GCSEs are the results of 2 years of work. The SAT is an exam you sit having prepared maybe a couple of months in your own time outside of school. They realise this.
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    (Original post by Student403)
    I don't think it's fair to say that. A levels and GCSEs are the results of 2 years of work. The SAT is an exam you sit having prepared maybe a couple of months in your own time outside of school. They realise this.
    While they realise this, I wouldn't think that competitive unis like Cornell are going to give someone a 'pass' on a poor SAT course because it isn't as ingrained into foreign educatuon systems. I'd say it's more important then to concentrate on the SAT as it's a test many people are unfamiliar with, and maybe need to dedicate a little bit of extra time to than the average American applicant to get the same score.
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    (Original post by Topo15)
    While they realise this,I wouldn't think that competitive unis like Cornell are going to give someone a 'pass' on a poor SAT course because it isn't as ingrained into foreign educatuon systems. I'd say it's more important then to concentrate on the SAT as it's a test many people are unfamiliar with, and maybe need to dedicate a little bit of extra time to than the average American applicant to get the same score.
    People really overrate the importance of the SAT.. A levels are more important. Also they do realise that the SAT is almost completely unfamiliar to international applicants. In the States you take things like the PSAT and you have much more in terms of resources. This is not the case for the average international applicant.

    I am not saying that you shouldn't do well on the SAT. I am saying they understand that the SAT is a single test and that A Levels are exams you have put in 2 years worth of work for and have taken multiple exams for. That means you should not underperform in A levels for the sake of scoring better on the SAT.
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    (Original post by Topo15)
    While they realise this, I wouldn't think that competitive unis like Cornell are going to give someone a 'pass' on a poor SAT course because it isn't as ingrained into foreign educatuon systems. I'd say it's more important then to concentrate on the SAT as it's a test many people are unfamiliar with, and maybe need to dedicate a little bit of extra time to than the average American applicant to get the same score.
    And yes, they do. In fact I have an international friend who, by some standards, might have a poor SAT score. He isn't a national medalist or anything. He's just done very well on board exams and has showed passion in a few activities and is heading to Cornell.
 
 
 
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