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Applying to NYU/american unis from the UK watch

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    Hey everyone, I'm in year 12 in the UK at sixth form and I really really would love to go to a uni in the USA, such as NYU. I would like some help figuring out when to apply and how, how likely scholarships and financial aids are and if grades along the lines of A*AA, AAA, or AAB are good enough and if their is anything else i need to do before applying?

    Any help would be much appreciated.
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    There is very limited financial aid for international students - realistically you would need to target the need-blind universities only, which is Harvard and it's ilk primarily. You would need to be at or above Oxbridge level for this, and you would need Oxford level GCSEs as well, due to how they assess applications. I would recommend looking into this as a starting point, before getting ahead of yourself otherwise as this is a very large barrier to entry, realistically.

    Beyond that you'll need to take the SAT or ACT, and this is more important for some colleges than others - gradewise you'll need to be averaging mostly As between GCSE and A-level at least. Moreover, extracurricular activities are a very big deal in the US - and not just the "supercurriculars" Oxbridge likes here. They very much want people who are the captain of the sports team, debate team, volunteer, do all this and that. There is some reasoning to this, as when applying to the US you don't apply to a specific subject (normally - there are a couple of exceptions, mainly for engineering) - you just apply to the college "at large" and you'll declare your major later. Thus they want to see you can excel in pretty much anything you do, as you might do...anything, when you're there.

    For smaller/lesser known colleges this is not such a big deal, but you are MUCH less likely to be funded at one of these so...you end up back at the starting point.
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    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    There is very limited financial aid for international students - realistically you would need to target the need-blind universities only, which is Harvard and it's ilk primarily. You would need to be at or above Oxbridge level for this, and you would need Oxford level GCSEs as well, due to how they assess applications. I would recommend looking into this as a starting point, before getting ahead of yourself otherwise as this is a very large barrier to entry, realistically.

    Beyond that you'll need to take the SAT or ACT, and this is more important for some colleges than others - gradewise you'll need to be averaging mostly As between GCSE and A-level at least. Moreover, extracurricular activities are a very big deal in the US - and not just the "supercurriculars" Oxbridge likes here. They very much want people who are the captain of the sports team, debate team, volunteer, do all this and that. There is some reasoning to this, as when applying to the US you don't apply to a specific subject (normally - there are a couple of exceptions, mainly for engineering) - you just apply to the college "at large" and you'll declare your major later. Thus they want to see you can excel in pretty much anything you do, as you might do...anything, when you're there.

    For smaller/lesser known colleges this is not such a big deal, but you are MUCH less likely to be funded at one of these so...you end up back at the starting point.
    Ahh thank you for the help! So essentially I need to be good enough for oxbridge to be able to get in yes? My A levels are strong but my GCSE will let me down for sure
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    (Original post by dpboy00)
    Ahh thank you for the help! So essentially I need to be good enough for oxbridge to be able to get in yes? My A levels are strong but my GCSE will let me down for sure
    Pretty much for the "need-blind admissions" group, yeah :/

    And they tend to look over your entire "high school" career (which is GCSEs + A-levels) following how they assess US students - so are likely to have similar GCSE demands as Oxford (whereas at least in the UK, Cambridge tends not to care so much about these).

    As with the UK it's likely to vary a little, and some may be more flexible than others - CalTech and MIT might be happy enough if you just get the highest grades in the relevant science/maths subjects and then do well on the critical reading portion of the SAT, if your overall "GPA" as they calculate is satisfactory.

    It may be worth considering that applications in the US tend to be a bit more expensive as well, as many (previously most, and most of the need-blind group) you apply to directly, and pay their application fees individually (i.e. no UCAS like system - there is something similar called the CommonApp for quite a lot of colleges, but to my knowledge none of the Ivy's nor MIT/CalTech/etc use it - although Stanford does I think), which can add up quickly.

    Also even the CommonApp isn't nearly as cheap as UCAS. It'll probably be $50-100+ per college you apply to, so it might be worth maybe picking one or two as "long shots" and applying, but still applying through UCAS and realising it's most likely that you'll end up in the UK in the end. You get, to some extent, the best of both worlds - although you'll still need to do the SAT/ACT and all that.

    If you're applying next academic year, I'd suggest looking at suggest looking at booking summer test dates now as then you'll have the autumn test dates to retake or take subject tests as necessary (retaking the SAT is pretty common and doesn't have the same taboo as retaking A-level exams here). You also will probably need to take 2-3 subject tests for most of the colleges in question - some have specific requirements for these as well (such as MIT which, at least previously, required one of the Math tests, and one of the science tests; CalTech is similar I believe, and I think Harvard required at least one math/science test of the two/three).
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    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    Pretty much for the "need-blind admissions" group, yeah :/

    And they tend to look over your entire "high school" career (which is GCSEs + A-levels) following how they assess US students - so are likely to have similar GCSE demands as Oxford (whereas at least in the UK, Cambridge tends not to care so much about these).

    As with the UK it's likely to vary a little, and some may be more flexible than others - CalTech and MIT might be happy enough if you just get the highest grades in the relevant science/maths subjects and then do well on the critical reading portion of the SAT, if your overall "GPA" as they calculate is satisfactory.

    It may be worth considering that applications in the US tend to be a bit more expensive as well, as many (previously most, and most of the need-blind group) you apply to directly, and pay their application fees individually (i.e. no UCAS like system - there is something similar called the CommonApp for quite a lot of colleges, but to my knowledge none of the Ivy's nor MIT/CalTech/etc use it - although Stanford does I think), which can add up quickly.

    Also even the CommonApp isn't nearly as cheap as UCAS. It'll probably be $50-100+ per college you apply to, so it might be worth maybe picking one or two as "long shots" and applying, but still applying through UCAS and realising it's most likely that you'll end up in the UK in the end. You get, to some extent, the best of both worlds - although you'll still need to do the SAT/ACT and all that.

    If you're applying next academic year, I'd suggest looking at suggest looking at booking summer test dates now as then you'll have the autumn test dates to retake or take subject tests as necessary (retaking the SAT is pretty common and doesn't have the same taboo as retaking A-level exams here). You also will probably need to take 2-3 subject tests for most of the colleges in question - some have specific requirements for these as well (such as MIT which, at least previously, required one of the Math tests, and one of the science tests; CalTech is similar I believe, and I think Harvard required at least one math/science test of the two/three).
    Wow thanks for the insight! it really does seem like such a long process....and then i have student visas and stuff to think about. I read on the NYU website that they substitute the SAT with A level grades....so that pretty much means i wouldnt have to take the SAT right? Or do I just have to no matter what? I dont mind taking them to be honest.
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    (Original post by dpboy00)
    Wow thanks for the insight! it really does seem like such a long process....and then i have student visas and stuff to think about. I read on the NYU website that they substitute the SAT with A level grades....so that pretty much means i wouldnt have to take the SAT right? Or do I just have to no matter what? I dont mind taking them to be honest.
    Some colleges may have different requirements - there are a small but notable number which do not require the SAT at all (following an "SAT optional" movement some years back). However, most if not all of the need-blind colleges do require it, so you'll probably have to take it anyway. You may just find some of your colleges may not consider that part of the application as heavily.

    Incidentally, the SAT itself is pretty much GCSE level material. The subject tests are a bit beyond that - it seems to vary somewhat depending on subject, but expect more along the lines of higher end GCSE/AS level content. The ACT is a bit more of a mixed bag - the math section contains stuff on matrices and complex numbers (normally covered early in Further Maths - although neither contains any calculus as far as I know) and there is a science section which, while not requiring subject specific knowledge, may require some appreciation of the scientific method, data analysis and so on a bit beyond GCSE.

    Realistically though if you're applying to the US you should expect to take the ACT or SAT, and for the need-blind colleges and other top tier colleges you will probably need to take at least 2 SAT subject tests. The format of the SAT is a bit peculiar, compared with UK assessment methods - in particular I found the Math section very strangely worded and tested, compared with UK maths. I'd recommend trying the practice test on the collegeboard website (it's not actually a full version of the test - you just do a set of questions for each section, presuming it hasn't changed much since I did it) to get an idea of what it's like (and some sense of where you stand currently). You may also want to look at getting the SAT book - I bought my version from Waterstones (in a fairly small regional town) for about £10 or so.

    Oh and don't take the US History subject test unless you've studied it in the US high school format, as I understand it has a very specific format and viewpoint completely unlike UK History qualifications, even if they cover US History.
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    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    Some colleges may have different requirements - there are a small but notable number which do not require the SAT at all (following an "SAT optional" movement some years back). However, most if not all of the need-blind colleges do require it, so you'll probably have to take it anyway. You may just find some of your colleges may not consider that part of the application as heavily.

    Incidentally, the SAT itself is pretty much GCSE level material. The subject tests are a bit beyond that - it seems to vary somewhat depending on subject, but expect more along the lines of higher end GCSE/AS level content. The ACT is a bit more of a mixed bag - the math section contains stuff on matrices and complex numbers (normally covered early in Further Maths - although neither contains any calculus as far as I know) and there is a science section which, while not requiring subject specific knowledge, may require some appreciation of the scientific method, data analysis and so on a bit beyond GCSE.

    Realistically though if you're applying to the US you should expect to take the ACT or SAT, and for the need-blind colleges and other top tier colleges you will probably need to take at least 2 SAT subject tests. The format of the SAT is a bit peculiar, compared with UK assessment methods - in particular I found the Math section very strangely worded and tested, compared with UK maths. I'd recommend trying the practice test on the collegeboard website (it's not actually a full version of the test - you just do a set of questions for each section, presuming it hasn't changed much since I did it) to get an idea of what it's like (and some sense of where you stand currently). You may also want to look at getting the SAT book - I bought my version from Waterstones (in a fairly small regional town) for about £10 or so.

    Oh and don't take the US History subject test unless you've studied it in the US high school format, as I understand it has a very specific format and viewpoint completely unlike UK History qualifications, even if they cover US History.
    Looks like its going to be a lot of work but i'm ready to put it in, thank you very much for the help, its really showed me the reality of things. I guess now i'm just going to work hard and hope, fingers crossed, that they give me some sort of financial aid because i've looked up all the overall costs and its hugely expensive....to say the least........ and I know i cannot afford it without some help. Kinda sucks.
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    Hi, too add on to what the other person was saying..

    You can get a common app fee waiver to apply to colleges and universities so that it doesn't cost much. Also, I'm pretty sure many of the Ivies do use the common app.

    You can get amazing financial aid, you just have to look at the right schools. I know there's some lists online that tell you which schools give the best financial aid to international students. I'm pretty sure NYU offers only a limited number of scholarships to non-US citizens, so it's best to apply to other places, too. Some places you may want to consider: Columbia, UPenn, Rochester, University of Richmond, Vanderbilt, Northwestern. Obviously this is just a taster and these unis are very selective, do some of your own research!

    Good luck, I wish you all the best!!
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    (Original post by theholychilli)
    Hi, too add on to what the other person was saying..

    You can get a common app fee waiver to apply to colleges and universities so that it doesn't cost much. Also, I'm pretty sure many of the Ivies do use the common app.

    You can get amazing financial aid, you just have to look at the right schools. I know there's some lists online that tell you which schools give the best financial aid to international students. I'm pretty sure NYU offers only a limited number of scholarships to non-US citizens, so it's best to apply to other places, too. Some places you may want to consider: Columbia, UPenn, Rochester, University of Richmond, Vanderbilt, Northwestern. Obviously this is just a taster and these unis are very selective, do some of your own research!

    Good luck, I wish you all the best!!
    Thankyou for the reply! I was considering UPenn already so I guess I will give it a shot.... I will probably only go for 3 (Columbia, NYU and UPenn) and if it doesnt work out, it doesnt work out.
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    Have a look at Collage confidential(American equivalent of TSR). You might find it useful.
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    Just want to add look in to applying Early Decision for your top college, it tends to increase your chances as it shows that you REALLY want to go to their uni (American unis love that). Also you hear back earlier (Dec 15 vs Apr 1) but it is legally binding; meaning you HAVE to go there, so make sure it’s your top choice! Make sure your uni essays are on point too. Also the financial aid forms take some time, and I’d do your ACT/SAT early (before September) so you have more of an idea what unis you stand a chance of getting into. Also, apply early!
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    (Original post by dpboy00)
    Thankyou for the reply! I was considering UPenn already so I guess I will give it a shot.... I will probably only go for 3 (Columbia, NYU and UPenn) and if it doesnt work out, it doesnt work out.
    If you are on the fence about studying in the US, this is a good way to go, however your chances of getting in are quite difficult (but not impossible), so you definitely have to be a stellar applicant: (all information is for class of 2021, all mid 50% range for SAT is for the new SAT)

    Columbia, 5.8% acceptance rate, mid 50% range of ACT: 33-35, SAT: 1490-1580
    UPenn, 9.3% acceptance rate, mid 50% range of ACT: 32-35
    NYU: 27% acceptance rate, mid 50% range of ACT: 28-32 (2014 stats)

    Early Decision (which is a binding admission plan - if you get in, you have to go, unless you don't get enough financial aid and it is impossible for you to afford it) will definitely increase your chances.

    Overall, I would say you need extremely good A-level predictions (A*AA-A*A*A*), really good GCSEs (mostly As and A*s), and very good and meaningful extracurriculars. Even then, it doesn't guarantee admission.

    Good luck!
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    (Original post by CuriousGuy777)
    Have a look at Collage confidential(American equivalent of TSR). You might find it useful.
    Oh yes ive been looking at that too but thank you
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    (Original post by rainabridget)
    Just want to add look in to applying Early Decision for your top college, it tends to increase your chances as it shows that you REALLY want to go to their uni (American unis love that). Also you hear back earlier (Dec 15 vs Apr 1) but it is legally binding; meaning you HAVE to go there, so make sure it’s your top choice! Make sure your uni essays are on point too. Also the financial aid forms take some time, and I’d do your ACT/SAT early (before September) so you have more of an idea what unis you stand a chance of getting into. Also, apply early!
    Ah this is so helpful! I wasnt going to take the early decision route because someone said it lessens the chances but seems like it doesnt! Will definitely take the early decision now.
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    (Original post by theholychilli)
    If you are on the fence about studying in the US, this is a good way to go, however your chances of getting in are quite difficult (but not impossible), so you definitely have to be a stellar applicant: (all information is for class of 2021, all mid 50% range for SAT is for the new SAT)

    Columbia, 5.8% acceptance rate, mid 50% range of ACT: 33-35, SAT: 1490-1580
    UPenn, 9.3% acceptance rate, mid 50% range of ACT: 32-35
    NYU: 27% acceptance rate, mid 50% range of ACT: 28-32 (2014 stats)

    Early Decision (which is a binding admission plan - if you get in, you have to go, unless you don't get enough financial aid and it is impossible for you to afford it) will definitely increase your chances.

    Overall, I would say you need extremely good A-level predictions (A*AA-A*A*A*), really good GCSEs (mostly As and A*s), and very good and meaningful extracurriculars. Even then, it doesn't guarantee admission.

    Good luck!
    Oh god it just keeps getting progressively difficult but I'm happy to try my luck i guess. Im all good with my A levels, they'll be sound but I reckon my GCSE's will let me down and I do have some good extracurriculars in the bag already but I have loads planned. Fingers crossed......I know its a long shot but I really do want to go.

    Thankyou for the help!
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    (Original post by dpboy00)
    Ah this is so helpful! I wasnt going to take the early decision route because someone said it lessens the chances but seems like it doesnt! Will definitely take the early decision now.
    For some unis it lessens your chances, but for the VAST majority it increases them. Just look it up for a particular uni and there will typically be an article on it if it isn’t the typical way round you’re welcome!
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    (Original post by dpboy00)
    Oh god it just keeps getting progressively difficult but I'm happy to try my luck i guess. Im all good with my A levels, they'll be sound but I reckon my GCSE's will let me down and I do have some good extracurriculars in the bag already but I have loads planned. Fingers crossed......I know its a long shot but I really do want to go.

    Thankyou for the help!
    No problem! If you really want to go, I'd definitely recommend applying to more universities (if you can get a fee waiver). It seems you are looking at very urban, city-based universities so I'd like to offer some suggestions: the ones I mentioned previously, such as Richmond, Rochester, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, and also unis such as the Claremont Colleges (Pitzer, Pomona, Claremont Mckenna -- all 50 miles away from LA!), Occidental (in LA, Obama went here!), Swarthmore, Emory, Macalester (there are loads more)

    Also a tip -- liberal arts colleges are extremely good, and are usually quite willing to give funding to international students, please don't dismiss them because they aren't universities

    Good luck in the admissions process!
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    (Original post by theholychilli)
    No problem! If you really want to go, I'd definitely recommend applying to more universities (if you can get a fee waiver). It seems you are looking at very urban, city-based universities so I'd like to offer some suggestions: the ones I mentioned previously, such as Richmond, Rochester, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, and also unis such as the Claremont Colleges (Pitzer, Pomona, Claremont Mckenna -- all 50 miles away from LA!), Occidental (in LA, Obama went here!), Swarthmore, Emory, Macalester (there are loads more)

    Also a tip -- liberal arts colleges are extremely good, and are usually quite willing to give funding to international students, please don't dismiss them because they aren't universities

    Good luck in the admissions process!
    I hadnt considered Liberal arts colleges at all! But I've started looking into them and I really like the feel of Swarthmore College that youve mentioned. So thanks a lot! coz its opened up a whole new door.

    This thread has really opened up my eyes.
 
 
 
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