1. What type of extracurriculars should I do to differentiate me from other applicants? Where I live there is very little to do therefore I think I'm at a major disadvantage.
2. How much do US universities take GCSES into consideration? Unfortunately I did quite poorly in my GCSES: 2 As* 2 As 5 Bs 1C
3. Is it recommended for me to do an SAT subject test?
4. Do they accept AS grades? For example can I apply to any USA universities even without my full A level qualification and using only my AS results?
Questions from a UK student wanting to apply to a top 50 USA university Watch
- Thread Starter
- 25-10-2017 19:30
- 28-10-2017 09:48
1 - Leadership roles + volunteer work are the two main ones they like.
2 - Their main focus will be on predicted AS + A Level marks. GCSE marks will be used later on in order to further differentiate between candidates.
3 - You don't have to, but it can help if you have your eye on a specific department/course of study. Eg SAT II Biology if you are intending to go into Biology etc.
- 29-11-2017 19:02
They will make a decision based on AS and projected A levels. The GSCEs are more important than for UK schools. Your GSCEs do not seem at the level for a top 50 US school. For that level of school, you should submit SAT IIs. However, they are not as important for you as for US students as they already have standard UK exams to look at.
- Community Assistant
- 29-11-2017 19:17
They will consider your GPA overall - your GCSEs will be part of this. If they consider weighted GPAs, then they're less important overall. But as you'll not have your A-level grades until after you apply, this isn't much of a difference unless you apply in a gap year. I highly doubt they will put much emphasis on "predicted" grades, as such a system does not exist over there. Your academic reference(s) however will be given a good degree of consideration, and your teachers can indicate why they think you'll achieve the grades predicted based on specific examples, which is more useful to them.
Normally the top schools will require two SAT subject tests as a matter of course - some have specific requirements (Harvard used to require three, including I think one Math/Science one, but I think they only require two now; MIT and CalTech I think both require one of the Math tests and one of the science tests) so you'll need to identify individual requirement. With the not infrequent exception of engineering programmes, you normally apply to the university at large, and not to specific programmes of study, and you are not committed to any preferences you indicate in your application - thus "taking subject specific SAT subject tests" is irrelevant, beyond the caveats mentioned above. You are best advised to take those you will do best in, provided you satisfy any specific requirements (such as not uncommon Math test requirements. It's also normally inadvisable to take US History unless you have studied in a US style school, and studied US History as it's taught in this style - it's taught quite differently to how History is studied generally as I'm told. The World History test I gather is more relevant if you've taken e.g. GCSE/AS level History.
The best universities usually prefer to see "longitudinal" ECs, i.e. activities you've begun and continued with throughout your secondary schooling, rather than individual things you've picked up at the last minute to buff up an application. In any case, some are better than none. Ostensibly the point of this is to a) allow you to demonstrate your own self-motivation in creating ECs for yourself where there may be none and b) to demonstrate your intellectual curiosity beyond the usual curriculum, and the self discipline to pursue these consistently (the latter more relevant for e.g. sporting activities).
How do you plan to fund your studies?