psylocke18091989
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Hi guys! So I have just started my university application preparation. Now I know that students like to categorize the unis as reach, target and safety. I am really confused as to how to categorize since I am not understanding where to put myself. I made a list and it seemed like I was putting every uni in the "reach" section. Can you guys help me?
So I am international student (Asia). I am planning to apply with my AS grades and predicted A2 grades. My AS grades are AAAA and I had 8 A*/A in O'levels. I got an 8 in IELTS and 1550 in SAT (yet to give the subject tests). I am concerned about my ECAs.
My focal point is my social work. I have worked for 6 years in several renowned organzations like UNICEF and UNDP (gender equality); I have founded my own organization which has 400 volunteers now (I also got media coverage and awards for that); I have done 3 internships in different organizations and am currently part of 2 organizations working as a management officer and content writer respectively; my other passion is computers (programming, graphic designing and developing my own website); I have a knack for writing (few awards); lastly, an ABRSM recognition for violin.
If you have noticed, I wouldn't consider any of these ECAs as outstanding. My dream uni is Stanford. Should I go for it? And can you advise me as to what my targets can/should be? Thanks!
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smscku
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You have a great profile from what I understand of international grading systems, and you have plenty of extracurriculars they will like. In order to apply smartly, I wouldn't consider any of the Ivy Leagues or Stanford your "target" schools. Consider all of these reach schools. Remember for top tier schools you will usually have to interview as well, so stats alone won't get you in. Also, thousands of extremely talented students apply to these schools from around the world and within the US every year. The acceptance rates are below 5%. So definitely apply for those as reach schools but for your own good, please apply to other schools as target/safety. You could consider prestigious state schools, like the some of the UC system schools or NYU, for example. Additionally there are other high ranking universities that are not designated as Ivies but are still prestigious. If your dream is to study in the US, you should be prepared for the possibility that it might not be at Stanford or an Ivy League.
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hoixw
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Your ECs are very good, but very good is the norm when it comes to international Asian applicants. You have a chance at the ivies/stanford, but there's no guaranteed admits anywhere, especially if you need a lot of aid. E.g. high-need applicant I know got rejected/waitlisted by 14 schools, and got into Caltech for engineering (finaid hasn't come through but it'll be full).

To answer your question better I'll need to know what your efc is, to be honest.
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psylocke18091989
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(Original post by smscku)
You have a great profile from what I understand of international grading systems, and you have plenty of extracurriculars they will like. In order to apply smartly, I wouldn't consider any of the Ivy Leagues or Stanford your "target" schools. Consider all of these reach schools. Remember for top tier schools you will usually have to interview as well, so stats alone won't get you in. Also, thousands of extremely talented students apply to these schools from around the world and within the US every year. The acceptance rates are below 5%. So definitely apply for those as reach schools but for your own good, please apply to other schools as target/safety. You could consider prestigious state schools, like the some of the UC system schools or NYU, for example. Additionally there are other high ranking universities that are not designated as Ivies but are still prestigious. If your dream is to study in the US, you should be prepared for the possibility that it might not be at Stanford or an Ivy League.
Thank you so much for your advice. I will keep it in mind.
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psylocke18091989
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(Original post by hoixw)
Your ECs are very good, but very good is the norm when it comes to international Asian applicants. You have a chance at the ivies/stanford, but there's no guaranteed admits anywhere, especially if you need a lot of aid. E.g. high-need applicant I know got rejected/waitlisted by 14 schools, and got into Caltech for engineering (finaid hasn't come through but it'll be full).

To answer your question better I'll need to know what your efc is, to be honest.
I come from a very middle class family with my mother being the single breadwinner. Hence, I have to get atleast 80% scholarship. I plan to take out student loans for the remaining tuition (or if I do not scholarships) I have to pay since I don't want to put financial pressure on my mother. If needed, my mother can contribute about 20K USD.
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hoixw
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(Original post by psylocke18091989)
I come from a very middle class family with my mother being the single breadwinner. Hence, I have to get atleast 80% scholarship. I plan to take out student loans for the remaining tuition (or if I do not scholarships) I have to pay since I don't want to put financial pressure on my mother. If needed, my mother can contribute about 20K USD.
A: For student loans in the US you need a sponsor who is American who'll cosign your loans.

B: In terms of targets, nowhere would be a target or safety as an international needing tons of aid. We can go back to the Caltech example - that student applied to Trinity College, a university with an average ACT of 29, so nowhere near the level of Caltech. Every single other college except Caltech, literally one of the best US schools, rejected him.

From that, I would suggest applying to a range of schools, all the way from the ivies and Stanford down towards worse schools, if you are commited enough to the US enough to sacrifice some academic integrity (that you'd get in your home country). Link below is a good place to start.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Need-b...onstrated_need

Also, have you considered the UK? You'd be able to be full-pay at a lot of top schools here (esp. once you factor in how it's 3 years and not 4), and with those academics you stand a pretty good chance of getting in.
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