(USA) How can increase chance of admission to a university in USA?

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Alu1337
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Hi, I'm in Year 12 and aspire to study Computer Science in the US. Currently I take A-Level Maths, Physics and Computer Science as well as AS Electronics. There isn't much that I have done extra-curricularly and even then it doesn't feel very applicable to the subject I want to study. I have worked at a restaurant for a period of about 10 months, played as part of a rugby team for a year and that's about the extent of it. Throughout school we have always been pushed towards activities because they "look great for your UCAS/CV", but I never really caught on.

I do quite well for myself in school and managed all 9s except one 8 in my GCSEs but I assume they would look for a more well-rounded student so my results will not count for everything. Some opportunities I have is working with my mum as she is primarily a software tester but also a programmer when the programmers don't do their jobs well enough... My mum said she would see if they could arrange to offer me a part time job during next summer if I learn PHP and SQL etc which they primarily deal with. I saw this as a perfect opportunity as it is very applicable to my field.

On the topic of programming, it is one of my few passions alongside my immense interest in computers which is why I thought CS would be the perfect course for me. I have even built a few computers myself. I can program in Python and I have done some introductory C#.

If it is of any help, I am from Sweden, I moved to the UK at the age of 8 if that and or my bilinguality can be twisted into some sort of benefit for my statement/essay. One more thing, would I need to take the TOEFL (English Language Test) or would my residence here and English GCSE suffice for my application?

Thanks in advance for any help. I'm not sure to what extent this matters and if I'm just comparing myself to the top applicants whereas I'm slightly more average.
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McGinger
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How much money have you got? Its going to cost you a fortune as an Overseas student.

A better idea would be to do a UK degree in Comp Sci with a Year Abroad. That would be funded by SF.
Bath : https://www.bath.ac.uk/courses/under...y-year-abroad/
KCL : https://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/undergra...ear-abroad-bsc
Bristol : http://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/under...-study-abroad/
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Alu1337
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(Original post by McGinger)
How much money have you got? Its going to cost you a fortune as an Overseas student.

A better idea would be to do a UK degree in Comp Sci with a Year Abroad. That would be funded by SF.
Bath : https://www.bath.ac.uk/courses/under...y-year-abroad/
KCL : https://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/undergra...ear-abroad-bsc
Bristol : http://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/under...-study-abroad/
Personally, not a huge amount. I'm 16 after all. We probably have a household income of around £100-120,000 so I am in a pretty forunate position in that regard. I have been looking out for merit based scholarships and universities with lower tuition costs to ease the burden a little. Given some financial aid from a merit scholarship, an average US University would not cost me too much more than a local university. I understand your suggestion does sound much more reasonable but I am growing increasingly bored of this country as a whole and want to start a new chapter of my life. Jobs in computer science, cybersecurity etc are much better paid in USA and if possible. As part of my course you would be able to work for 2 years for an optional practical training. That has the possibility of translating into a job offer with a working visa down the line but you obviously need to play your cards right.

Getting a student visa is not that difficult but getting a working visa is and I obviously recognise that. However, as an underrepresented nationality and with a US Computer Science qualification I believe I would have strengthened my chances to where it could be a possibilty. There is a lot that goes into it but I have done plenty of research and I do believe it is what I want to do even though it seems like a long shot. The worst that could happen is that I don't manage to extend my stay, at which point I will have a CS Degree with the choice of working in the UK or in Sweden.
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ry7xsfa
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(Original post by Alu1337)
Hi, I'm in Year 12 and aspire to study Computer Science in the US. Currently I take A-Level Maths, Physics and Computer Science as well as AS Electronics. There isn't much that I have done extra-curricularly and even then it doesn't feel very applicable to the subject I want to study. I have worked at a restaurant for a period of about 10 months, played as part of a rugby team for a year and that's about the extent of it. Throughout school we have always been pushed towards activities because they "look great for your UCAS/CV", but I never really caught on.

I do quite well for myself in school and managed all 9s except one 8 in my GCSEs but I assume they would look for a more well-rounded student so my results will not count for everything. Some opportunities I have is working with my mum as she is primarily a software tester but also a programmer when the programmers don't do their jobs well enough... My mum said she would see if they could arrange to offer me a part time job during next summer if I learn PHP and SQL etc which they primarily deal with. I saw this as a perfect opportunity as it is very applicable to my field.

On the topic of programming, it is one of my few passions alongside my immense interest in computers which is why I thought CS would be the perfect course for me. I have even built a few computers myself. I can program in Python and I have done some introductory C#.

If it is of any help, I am from Sweden, I moved to the UK at the age of 8 if that and or my bilinguality can be twisted into some sort of benefit for my statement/essay. One more thing, would I need to take the TOEFL (English Language Test) or would my residence here and English GCSE suffice for my application?

Thanks in advance for any help. I'm not sure to what extent this matters and if I'm just comparing myself to the top applicants whereas I'm slightly more average.
So it seems like you've done some research into this already. I'm sure you'll know then, that (for the most part), you don't apply for the course in the US, you apply to the university as a whole (with the exception of some very specific programmes). You are usually asked what you are thinking of majoring in on the application, and for some universities, you will be asked to apply to a specific school (engineering, humanities, etc.), but again, this is very dependent on the university.

Your GCSE grades look great, but unfortunately, they look at many other areas as I'm sure you know. They'll look at your A-Level predicted grades, extracurriculars, US standardised tests (pretty much everywhere has waived this requirement for this year, but some schools haven't waived it for anything past this - check each school's policy), letters of recommendation, and sometimes alumni interviews. Because you're not applying specifically for a CS degree, it may be useful to have a wider range of ECs that aren't just in CS.

For TOEFL, check the policy of where you're applying. Some will be okay as you've had a few years of instruction that has been taught in English, and you also have a GCSE English qualification, but others may require it anyway. In terms of financing your degree, merit scholarships are definitely an option, but you should also consider need-based financial aid. I know you've mentioned that you have a relatively high family income, but anything that the college can provide will help you out. Also, they don't just look at income, but also expenses. If you have a high income, but your necessary expenses are also high, you might still be eligible for aid. If you apply for it, the worst a college will do is say that they can't give you any. Keep in mind that not all colleges offer merit scholarships.

Feel free to contact me if you need any help with stuff. I'm obviously here on this thread, but my PMs are also open if you need more personalised advice on your situation. Good luck!
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by Alu1337)
Hi, I'm in Year 12 and aspire to study Computer Science in the US. Currently I take A-Level Maths, Physics and Computer Science as well as AS Electronics. There isn't much that I have done extra-curricularly and even then it doesn't feel very applicable to the subject I want to study. I have worked at a restaurant for a period of about 10 months, played as part of a rugby team for a year and that's about the extent of it. Throughout school we have always been pushed towards activities because they "look great for your UCAS/CV", but I never really caught on.

I do quite well for myself in school and managed all 9s except one 8 in my GCSEs but I assume they would look for a more well-rounded student so my results will not count for everything. Some opportunities I have is working with my mum as she is primarily a software tester but also a programmer when the programmers don't do their jobs well enough... My mum said she would see if they could arrange to offer me a part time job during next summer if I learn PHP and SQL etc which they primarily deal with. I saw this as a perfect opportunity as it is very applicable to my field.

On the topic of programming, it is one of my few passions alongside my immense interest in computers which is why I thought CS would be the perfect course for me. I have even built a few computers myself. I can program in Python and I have done some introductory C#.

If it is of any help, I am from Sweden, I moved to the UK at the age of 8 if that and or my bilinguality can be twisted into some sort of benefit for my statement/essay. One more thing, would I need to take the TOEFL (English Language Test) or would my residence here and English GCSE suffice for my application?

Thanks in advance for any help. I'm not sure to what extent this matters and if I'm just comparing myself to the top applicants whereas I'm slightly more average.
I would recommend getting a degree in the UK, then working for a US company. An inter-office transfer visa will be a much cheaper way of getting to the US, IMO. It's the route that I took (I live in California). You'd save two years of university for the same qualification, and get to focus on CS. Your lack of Further Maths limits your UK options a little though.

Why are you so set on the US?
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2500_2
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(Original post by Alu1337)
Hi, I'm in Year 12 and aspire to study Computer Science in the US. Currently I take A-Level Maths, Physics and Computer Science as well as AS Electronics. There isn't much that I have done extra-curricularly and even then it doesn't feel very applicable to the subject I want to study. I have worked at a restaurant for a period of about 10 months, played as part of a rugby team for a year and that's about the extent of it. Throughout school we have always been pushed towards activities because they "look great for your UCAS/CV", but I never really caught on.

I do quite well for myself in school and managed all 9s except one 8 in my GCSEs but I assume they would look for a more well-rounded student so my results will not count for everything. Some opportunities I have is working with my mum as she is primarily a software tester but also a programmer when the programmers don't do their jobs well enough... My mum said she would see if they could arrange to offer me a part time job during next summer if I learn PHP and SQL etc which they primarily deal with. I saw this as a perfect opportunity as it is very applicable to my field.

On the topic of programming, it is one of my few passions alongside my immense interest in computers which is why I thought CS would be the perfect course for me. I have even built a few computers myself. I can program in Python and I have done some introductory C#.

If it is of any help, I am from Sweden, I moved to the UK at the age of 8 if that and or my bilinguality can be twisted into some sort of benefit for my statement/essay. One more thing, would I need to take the TOEFL (English Language Test) or would my residence here and English GCSE suffice for my application?

Thanks in advance for any help. I'm not sure to what extent this matters and if I'm just comparing myself to the top applicants whereas I'm slightly more average.
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Alu1337
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(Original post by RogerOxon)
I would recommend getting a degree in the UK, then working for a US company. An inter-office transfer visa will be a much cheaper way of getting to the US, IMO. It's the route that I took (I live in California). You'd save two years of university for the same qualification, and get to focus on CS. Your lack of Further Maths limits your UK options a little though.

Why are you so set on the US?
That is an interesting idea, thank you for the suggestion. To answer why I am so set on the US, there are a few factors that have culminated to my decision. Firstly, I have never liked the idea of a future here in the UK. I don't like the architecture, the weather, the people, the countryside or very much at all in this country. Sweden is better, but it is very cold and I feel like my job prospects and career would be slightly limited. For example, the average CS job in Sweden pays only half of what the equivalent would in USA. Obviously cost of living and such numbers need to be factored in, but at the end of the day CS is going to be better paying in USA than any other country.

On top of that it is the sheer size of USA and the seemingly unlimited things to do, it really amazes me. It seems to have a little bit of everything and I would love to explore that. Were it only for the job prospects I'm not convinced I would be this encouraged, but there is a lot that I like about the US.

Another aspect I've explored is the possibility of OPT (Optional Practical Training) as part of a CS degree in the US. As it is a STEM subject, it would allow me to work for a period of 2 years as part of my F1 Student Visa (I believe, please correct me if I'm wrong). I'm not sure if this would be an effective path to a H1B visa and then an EB-3, I would have to do some more research to whether that is possible. Otherwise L1B to EB-3 is compelling too but as you have heard I am not too keen on staying in the UK for very long.

Would you care to elaborate a little about the qualification you are talking about? Which qualification would save me 2 years and how does Further Maths tie into it? Thank you
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by Alu1337)
I don't like the architecture, the weather, the people, the countryside or very much at all in this country.
You won't make many friends with that view. Architecture in the US is a mess - they subscribe to the "more is more" school of thought - we have a nasty mix (for my taste) of styles on many houses here. It's very hard to generalise about the US, as it is so big. You certainly can't about the people or weather.

Where are you in the UK?

(Original post by Alu1337)
Obviously cost of living and such numbers need to be factored in
I'm in Silicon Valley. A 1950s 3 bedroomed house in my area is ~$3M, or ~$6500+ per month to rent.

A starting salary in software would be $120-$140k.

(Original post by Alu1337)
at the end of the day CS is going to be better paying in USA than any other country
Coming from Sweden, you may be shocked at some of the attitudes in the US. Are you prepared for nutter level religion and no free preventative health care?

(Original post by Alu1337)
(I believe, please correct me if I'm wrong)
Sorry, I've never looked into US student visas.

(Original post by Alu1337)
Otherwise L1B to EB-3 is compelling too but as you have heard I am not too keen on staying in the UK for very long.
Some companies will apply for an H1-B visa after you're here on an L1-B - that's what mine did.

(Original post by Alu1337)
Would you care to elaborate a little about the qualification you are talking about? Which qualification would save me 2 years and how does Further Maths tie into it? Thank you
A Masters is 4 years in the UK, but 6 in the US. Not having FM will place you at a large disadvantage for top CS courses, e.g. Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial. It's not insurmountable, but does reduce your chances, IMO.
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Alu1337
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(Original post by RogerOxon)
You won't make many friends with that view. Architecture in the US is a mess - they subscribe to the "more is more" school of thought - we have a nasty mix (for my taste) of styles on many houses here. It's very hard to generalise about the US, as it is so big. You certainly can't about the people or weather.

Where are you in the UK?


I'm in Silicon Valley. A 1950s 3 bedroomed house in my area is ~$3M, or ~$6500+ per month to rent.

A starting salary in software would be $120-$140k.


Coming from Sweden, you may be shocked at some of the attitudes in the US. Are you prepared for nutter level religion and no free preventative health care?


Sorry, I've never looked into US student visas.


Some companies will apply for an H1-B visa after you're here on an L1-B - that's what mine did.


A Masters is 4 years in the UK, but 6 in the US. Not having FM will place you at a large disadvantage for top CS courses, e.g. Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial. It's not insurmountable, but does reduce your chances, IMO.
I'm not quite sure how to quote in the way you are, sorry it's a little messy.

Very true how it's not smart to generalise the US. I live in rural Oxfordshire, the only thing architecturally I like about this area is the historic marketplace and some of the houses in the surrounding villages. The remainder is mostly attached 70s housing which I can not bring myself to like in the slightest. Overall, I think I dislike the slightly older touch that everything here seems to have.
I agree that the people may have been an unfair comparison to make. It does vary massively and there's lots of kind people here too.
The weather I would like is warmer than the UK, but not Southern California / South Carolina or anything below that latitude. Colorado in particular has caught my eye, but the weather there obviously varies a lot by where you are.

I can't say I'm interested in Silicon Valley currently. Outside of the rediculously priced areas, I feel like you get good value for money when buying a home in the suburban USA.

Yeah, I feel like Americans like going to some extremes with many things. That is a turn off. Everywhere else I lived people have always been reasonable but there are some huge racists and unbelievably stupid people here. I do think I could manage.
Healthcare has been a small concern too. Sweden is not the best comparison to make though. They have had some awfully long wait times for very basic operations, it is completely overloaded. Politicians are failing the country right now. Although it is costly, is it reasonable to say you can get healthcare on time for the most part where you live? Again, I would need to do some research into this and how health insurance works.

Is it possible to go straight from the L1B to a EB-3 with a Bachelor's Degree? I understand that they have a quota for this type of visa which fills from the more skilled workers (EB-1 and 2) first but can you skip the H1-B if you get an extension for the L1B? I have heard some horror stories of the H1B being borderline slavery for some workers as the company is the only thing between them and leaving the US.

A master's degree is not what I am looking for. I might have made a mistake to give you that impression. I'm interested in a Bachelor's degree. With a master's degree I believe you can get an immigrant visa quicker but for an EB-3 a Bachelor's is sufficient. It shouldn't be too long a process given my nationality as Swedish people aren't overrepresented. An Indian or Chinese might be in for a long wait for an EB-3.
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2500_2
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(Original post by Alu1337)
Personally, not a huge amount. I'm 16 after all. We probably have a household income of around £100-120,000 so I am in a pretty forunate position in that regard. I have been looking out for merit based scholarships and universities with lower tuition costs to ease the burden a little. Given some financial aid from a merit scholarship, an average US University would not cost me too much more than a local university. I understand your suggestion does sound much more reasonable but I am growing increasingly bored of this country as a whole and want to start a new chapter of my life. Jobs in computer science, cybersecurity etc are much better paid in USA and if possible. As part of my course you would be able to work for 2 years for an optional practical training. That has the possibility of translating into a job offer with a working visa down the line but you obviously need to play your cards right.

Getting a student visa is not that difficult but getting a working visa is and I obviously recognise that. However, as an underrepresented nationality and with a US Computer Science qualification I believe I would have strengthened my chances to where it could be a possibilty. There is a lot that goes into it but I have done plenty of research and I do believe it is what I want to do even though it seems like a long shot. The worst that could happen is that I don't manage to extend my stay, at which point I will have a CS Degree with the choice of working in the UK or in Sweden.
Are your parents aware of/supporting your plans? There's a massive difference between YOU taking on a loan you pay back over decades via the tax system and YOUR PARENTS spending a quarter of their income (at least) on your education and living for four, five or six years.
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Alu1337
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(Original post by 2500_2)
Are your parents aware of/supporting your plans? There's a massive difference between YOU taking on a loan you pay back over decades via the tax system and YOUR PARENTS spending a quarter of their income (at least) on your education and living for four, five or six years.
I understand. They are aware and I have told them I have put a lot of research into it. I think they are still giving it some time to see whether I truly am serious about this but they haven't shut the possibility down. I would understand and expect that I should pay the vast majority of it myself which is why I need to be tactical with aid and merit scholarships. I am trying to look into loans that don't have commercial interest because that would just be a waste of money. I'm not sure to what extent that will work.
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2500_2
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(Original post by Alu1337)
I understand. They are aware and I have told them I have put a lot of research into it. I think they are still giving it some time to see whether I truly am serious about this but they haven't shut the possibility down. I would understand and expect that I should pay the vast majority of it myself which is why I need to be tactical with aid and merit scholarships. I am trying to look into loans that don't have commercial interest because that would just be a waste of money. I'm not sure to what extent that will work.
The majority of US students take out loans (not as good as UK SF but at least it means you pay when you are earning), but they are unlikely to available to you.
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