dan140804
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I have a few questions:
I heard you do not need SAT’s for this year due to COVID but would it still be advised to take them?

What do American unis look for? Do i have a chance solely on academic achievements in a A levels (4 A*), a few UKMT maths challenges (pink/gold) and participation in MUN?

Someone that got a sports scholarship said with my a levels they are likely to give an academic scholarship. Is this true?

Are ivy league applications different from regular applications?
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ry7xsfa
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(Original post by danm26)
I have a few questions:
I heard you do not need SAT’s for this year due to COVID but would it still be advised to take them?
It depends. Some universities are completely test blind, meaning they won't even consider your scores if you submit them. However, most are test optional. Officially, they say that you won't be at a disadvantage if you cannot submit scores, but patterns from last year suggest that people submitting good scores in the SAT or ACT were more likely to be admitted than those who didn't submit at all.

(Original post by danm26)
What do American unis look for? Do i have a chance solely on academic achievements in a A levels (4 A*), a few UKMT maths challenges (pink/gold) and participation in MUN?
They want to get to know you in the admissions process. One of the biggest ways they do this is by looking at your extracurriculars. Without depth and breadth of both long and short term extracurriculars, you'll be falling short of one of the main things they look for, and this could significantly impact your admissions chances.

(Original post by danm26)
Someone that got a sports scholarship said with my a levels they are likely to give an academic scholarship. Is this true?
Once again, depends. Schools that offer scholarships based on merit will often look for far more than grades - especially those that offer a full ride. These scholarships will be competitive and it's likely you'll be beaten by those who have stronger extracurriculars if what you have described is truly the depth of yours. At state schools, scholarships will usually be given based on US standardised test scores, no idea what they're doing now that they're optional.

(Original post by danm26)
Are ivy league applications different from regular applications?
No. Also, don't just get caught up on the Ivy League. Oftentimes the Ivies aren't the best for what you want to do, and may not be what you're looking for in a university. There are many amazing universities that aren't Ivies (MIT, Stanford, Caltech, Northwestern, Duke, just to name a few).
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dan140804
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(Original post by ry7xsfa)
It depends. Some universities are completely test blind, meaning they won't even consider your scores if you submit them. However, most are test optional. Officially, they say that you won't be at a disadvantage if you cannot submit scores, but patterns from last year suggest that people submitting good scores in the SAT or ACT were more likely to be admitted than those who didn't submit at all.



They want to get to know you in the admissions process. One of the biggest ways they do this is by looking at your extracurriculars. Without depth and breadth of both long and short term extracurriculars, you'll be falling short of one of the main things they look for, and this could significantly impact your admissions chances.



Once again, depends. Schools that offer scholarships based on merit will often look for far more than grades - especially those that offer a full ride. These scholarships will be competitive and it's likely you'll be beaten by those who have stronger extracurriculars if what you have described is truly the depth of yours. At state schools, scholarships will usually be given based on US standardised test scores, no idea what they're doing now that they're optional.



No. Also, don't just get caught up on the Ivy League. Oftentimes the Ivies aren't the best for what you want to do, and may not be what you're looking for in a university. There are many amazing universities that aren't Ivies (MIT, Stanford, Caltech, Northwestern, Duke, just to name a few).
My dream school would be maths at Stanford. Have you got any tips and particular extra-curricular activities that could give me an edge?
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ry7xsfa
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(Original post by danm26)
My dream school would be maths at Stanford. Have you got any tips and particular extra-curricular activities that could give me an edge?
You need to be yourself in your application and essays. Don't try to guess what they are looking for. They'll see right through it.

Same with your extracurriculars - you need to do what you enjoy because they'll see right through resume padding. Are you going into Year 13? If so, it may be too late to pick up any substantial ECs that will give you an edge, especially at a school like Stanford.

In relation to your OP regarding Stanford - Stanford isn't an Ivy League school (as I hope you already know). You may be able to receive need-based assistance from them, but they won't give any merit-based awards based on academics. They may consider an ACT or SAT score if you submit, so submitting a good score could be a benefit to you.
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dan140804
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(Original post by ry7xsfa)
You need to be yourself in your application and essays. Don't try to guess what they are looking for. They'll see right through it.

Same with your extracurriculars - you need to do what you enjoy because they'll see right through resume padding. Are you going into Year 13? If so, it may be too late to pick up any substantial ECs that will give you an edge, especially at a school like Stanford.

In relation to your OP regarding Stanford - Stanford isn't an Ivy League school (as I hope you already know). You may be able to receive need-based assistance from them, but they won't give any merit-based awards based on academics. They may consider an ACT or SAT score if you submit, so submitting a good score could be a benefit to you.
Yeah unfortunately i am going into year 13. I decided quite late to apply to the US because at the beginning of year 12 i assumed i’d want to study economics at university but did not enjoy it so was looking for maths and the US is far more competitive there globally aside from Oxbridge. The only real extra curricular activities i have is MUN, debate club and maths club. Do they put extra-curricular at the same level as academic achievements within the UK?
Also, Cambridge has a list of “super-curricular” activities for maths and most mentioned are simply books and websites, a few of which i’ve read. Does the US prefer more club-based extra curriculars or would those books etc also be useful in my statement?

Yes 😂😂 i know it’s not ivy but i would also like to apply to a couple ivies like Upenn.
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kamara41
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(Original post by ry7xsfa)
At state schools, scholarships will usually be given based on US standardised test scores, no idea what they're doing now that they're optional.
Yep, at state schools and larger private schools, partial tuition scholarships (so excluding the huge full tuition and full ride scholarships) are mostly or exclusively based on grades + standardised test scores. These scholarships still exist in the test optional era, and alternative versions for those who apply TO are available. Either they become more holistic meaning that they look at the range of money one qualifies for based on one's grades and then use extracurriculars/essay(s)/letters of recommendation to determine where on the range they'll place you or they created a separate range just based on grades but where the potential money of for grades is lower.
OP, I don't know how you're thinking of funding a US education, but if you're seriously thinking of going merit scholarship hunting, I would seriously consider getting a standardised test score.

Also 100% agree on not getting caught up in the Ivy League name - they're just the old colonial schools; glad to see that it seems like OP knows this
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kamara41
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(Original post by danm26)
Yeah unfortunately i am going into year 13. I decided quite late to apply to the US because at the beginning of year 12 i assumed i’d want to study economics at university but did not enjoy it so was looking for maths and the US is far more competitive there globally aside from Oxbridge. The only real extra curricular activities i have is MUN, debate club and maths club. Do they put extra-curricular at the same level as academic achievements within the UK?
Also, Cambridge has a list of “super-curricular” activities for maths and most mentioned are simply books and websites, a few of which i’ve read. Does the US prefer more club-based extra curriculars or would those books etc also be useful in my statement?

Yes 😂😂 i know it’s not ivy but i would also like to apply to a couple ivies like Upenn.
The US actually doesn't have a personal statement like UCAS does. There is plenty of writing in the US application, but it's verrrry different to the UCAS PS.
On applications to US colleges there's actually a separate section on the application where you list your extracurriculars.

Unfortunately, things like reading books and visiting websites aren't really the kind of things US unis mean/are looking for when they say extracurriculars. Through your ECs you want to try and demonstrate three rough things - success/achievement, leadership/initiative, and dedication/commitment - none of which one can really do by reading books.

In the ECs section, you have 50 characters to describe the position/leadership experience, 100 characters for the organisation's name (optional), 150 characters for activity details, any honours won, and accomplishments, and then they also have you say how many years you've participated in the activity, how many weeks a year, how many hours a week, and then if you plan on participating in a similar activity in college.

Academics are still the most important aspect in the admissions process in the US, but yes, extracurriculars are still very important, as are your essays and letters of recommendation, especially if you're applying to elite universities.
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