Uni in America, how does it work?

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    Say I wanted to get into Harvard, what would I do? What is the application process like e.g. In the UK of course, You need to do A levels and a personal statement then apply to UCAS and so you get 5 choices of different universities that will either Reject you or accept you dependent on your A levels. Also what A level grades would I need to get in Harward (e.g. say for computer science or something) ?
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    (Original post by Kira Yagami)
    Say I wanted to get into Harvard, what would I do? What is the application process like e.g. In the UK of course, You need to do A levels and a personal statement then apply to UCAS and so you get 5 choices of different universities that will either Reject you or accept you dependent on your A levels. Also what A level grades would I need to get in Harward (e.g. say for computer science or something) ?
    you would need way more than good grades to get into harvard.
    Theres an entry exam, probably an essay to write as well as interview to get through.
    If you want to go into harvard, you should have started preparing before GCSEs
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    (Original post by Nottie)
    you would need way more than good grades to get into harvard.
    Theres an entry exam, probably an essay to write as well as interview to get through.
    If you want to go into harvard, you should have started preparing before GCSEs
    So is getting into a top uni in USA harder than a top UK Uni e.g. Oxford?
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    (Original post by Kira Yagami)
    So is getting into a top uni in USA harder than a top UK Uni e.g. Oxford?
    yes. And more expensive too
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    You need to first sit the SAT's, then inquire about applying as an international by getting in contact with the college. Complete these requirements, go for interview and your in. It's a bit longer but it's nothing that really hassle.
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    Getting in to Harvard's a bit like sex. Fun for everyone....except for those on TSR, as they never get any.

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    Most american universities don't have a 'standard offer' when it comes to grades, it really depends on how good your overall application is. Conditional offers aren't really even a thing in the US, usually once you get an offer that's it, you're in unless you mess up your final exams really bad. Top schools may give a condition but it won't be a particularly difficult one to achieve compared to the offers top UK unis give out. I'm not too sure what sort of offers A-level students get exactly, as I already had my A-level results when I got my offer from Stanford, but I do know a friend of mine got into Princeton with just ABB, and she did have some sort of condition for entry. I think it was AB with an A in maths or something like that, so definitely not the toughest offer out there.

    You're going to have to sit for the SAT, and most top schools will ask for 2 SAT subject tests as well. Harvard recently dropped the subject tests requirement, but unless you can't afford to sit for the tests you should take them. I'd advise you to read the application requirements on the website of every single university you intend on applying to, as admissions differ from university to university. Most top unis will accept (some even require) the Common Application or Universal College Application, both of which are similar to UCAS in the sense that they allow you to submit the same application for every uni you apply to. However, some may require you to fill out something extra (for example: Harvard states that you need to include 'Harvard College Questions for the Common Application or the Universal College Application Harvard supplement' in your application), so again, please check out the website of every university you apply to and read their application requirements.

    As for how 'difficult' it is to get into top US unis as compared to Oxbridge etc, that depends on you really. It's just two very different application systems, it's a more 'holistic' system in the US where extracurriculars are a very big deal, whereas in the UK it's very focused on grades and academics. Even the interviews at Oxbridge involve mostly academic questions, whereas interviews for US unis are more general/'casual' (do note that, as far as I know, interviews at top US unis are not compulsory. If there are alumni near your area willing to be an interviewer, they may offer an interview that could help your application if you nail it, but if you're confident enough in your application you can decline without any negative impact on your chances). Some people can get A*A*A*A* but lack what schools like Harvard are looking for, whereas some people may not be able to get good enough grades to meet the requirements for unis like Oxford/Cambridge/Imperial/LSE etc but have successful applications to Ivy League schools thanks to having a more 'well-rounded' application.
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    Step one is to check the entry requirements for international students online. Everything else pretty much follows step one.
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    Step 1: don't say "uni".
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    lol
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    (Original post by justinawe)
    Most american universities don't have a 'standard offer' when it comes to grades, it really depends on how good your overall application is. Conditional offers aren't really even a thing in the US, usually once you get an offer that's it, you're in unless you mess up your final exams really bad. Top schools may give a condition but it won't be a particularly difficult one to achieve compared to the offers top UK unis give out. I'm not too sure what sort of offers A-level students get exactly, as I already had my A-level results when I got my offer from Stanford, but I do know a friend of mine got into Princeton with just ABB, and she did have some sort of condition for entry. I think it was AB with an A in maths or something like that, so definitely not the toughest offer out there.

    You're going to have to sit for the SAT, and most top schools will ask for 2 SAT subject tests as well. Harvard recently dropped the subject tests requirement, but unless you can't afford to sit for the tests you should take them. I'd advise you to read the application requirements on the website of every single university you intend on applying to, as admissions differ from university to university. Most top unis will accept (some even require) the Common Application or Universal College Application, both of which are similar to UCAS in the sense that they allow you to submit the same application for every uni you apply to. However, some may require you to fill out something extra (for example: Harvard states that you need to include 'Harvard College Questions for the Common Application or the Universal College Application Harvard supplement' in your application), so again, please check out the website of every university you apply to and read their application requirements.

    As for how 'difficult' it is to get into top US unis as compared to Oxbridge etc, that depends on you really. It's just two very different application systems, it's a more 'holistic' system in the US where extracurriculars are a very big deal, whereas in the UK it's very focused on grades and academics. Even the interviews at Oxbridge involve mostly academic questions, whereas interviews for US unis are more general/'casual' (do note that, as far as I know, interviews at top US unis are not compulsory. If there are alumni near your area willing to be an interviewer, they may offer an interview that could help your application if you nail it, but if you're confident enough in your application you can decline without any negative impact on your chances). Some people can get A*A*A*A* but lack what schools like Harvard are looking for, whereas some people may not be able to get good enough grades to meet the requirements for unis like Oxford/Cambridge/Imperial/LSE etc but have successful applications to Ivy League schools thanks to having a more 'well-rounded' application.
    Thanks a lot!

    I would find getting into top UK's uni more difficult - it is mad how if you miss out on one grade you would just get rejected. Doing extra circulars/essays and achieving good grades for a top USA uni seem easier to me. (just relatively, I know it is still difficult)
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    Other things to think about-- as an international student, you may score some points for being exotic, and that could help your application.
    On the other hand, there is a lot of financial aid you might not get as a result, and sticker price is not as low as in the UK.
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    (Original post by Camilli)
    Other things to think about-- as an international student, you may score some points for being exotic, and that could help your application.
    You don't score points for that. Being exotic would be things like starting up your own company at a young age, national/international level athlete, or making a scientific breakthrough that could have a big impact.

    Being international makes it more difficult because you are competing against the cream of the crop from every nation world wide for the same slots.
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    Depends a bit on where you are looking. Places like Stanford, sure. But there are smaller colleges (often very good ones) that are happy to boost their overseas attendance-- or at least, their overseas applicant pool.
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    You will need to apply through the Common Application- it's a bit like UCAS except you can apply to many different colleges. If you are in Upper Sixth this year, though, the only available SAT testing date would be in December (most decent colleges have deadlines at the start of January, and December scores come through late December, unless you apply to somewhere with rolling admission. If you are applying to schools like Harvard, you would also need to take SAT IIs (subject tests), and bear in mind that you can't take SAT IIs and the SAT at the same test date. Which means unless you're still in Lower Sixth you won't be able to apply to Harvard (provided you don't take a gap year).
    I don't think they look at A-Level grades as much (because you have your SAT and SAT II's), and you don't 'get into' compsci of a college, you get into a college then choose the subject usually in your sophomore or junior year. A lot of colleges look for different strengths and attributes in a student and decide the combination of different people that should make up a diverse year.
    However I've heard that some colleges withdraw their offer (even if it is an unconditional) because the final term grades of the student dropped too much after they knew they got into the college, so I guess grades do matter but I think as long as they're not too bad it's okay.
    And they usually will require a few essays, the topics are on the Common Application if you add the college into the college list. There is a general 'personal statement' on the Common Application that many colleges require, and some also add additional essays.
    You usually don't have to do an interview, if you do, they're all alumni interviews so won't really benefit to your application that much, they're only there so that you can ask any questions and understand the college better.
    Camilli mentioned smaller colleges- do look at them (liberal arts colleges), they offer the best undergraduate teaching usually with <10 people per class and professors care about undergraduate teaching a lot more.
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    (Original post by Camilli)
    On the other hand, there is a lot of financial aid you might not get as a result, and sticker price is not as low as in the UK.
    It depends on the college. Harvard gives the same financial aid opportunities to international students as they do to american students, whereas some other colleges have limited financial aid for them. The smaller colleges you mentioned probably won't offer anything in terms of financial aid.
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    (Original post by justinawe)
    It depends on the college. Harvard gives the same financial aid opportunities to international students as they do to american students, whereas some other colleges have limited financial aid for them. The smaller colleges you mentioned probably won't offer anything in terms of financial aid.
    Not necessarily. A lot of LACs would be happy enough to hand over hefty financial aid packages in an effort to make their incoming classes more "diverse" and "international".
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    There are occasionally some funny strategic games at work. Sometimes it is truly for the benefit of the whole student body to be less parochial. I suspect that a number of places (especially women's colleges) are also happy to make themselves known in certain Asian or Middle-Eastern countries as a great place for respectable families to send offspring. It only takes a few oil sheikhs or internet princelings to make a real impact on an institution's financial security.
 
 
 
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