The Student Room Group

Applying to US universities??

I am currently a y12 student hoping to study engineering in the US for university but this takes seems really daunting at the moment and I don't have much guidance. I come from a low income household and my gcse's were 999999988. I study maths physics and further maths and in an ideal scenario will get A*s in all 3 inshallah. My extracurriculars so far are a virtual work experience with the company siemens, a crest Gold award and am currently on the Cambridge stem smart programme. I know that recently more US universities have been requiring the SAT so I plan on taking it in August too. My main question is what should I be investing my time in doing right now? It feels like everyone on the student room who are doing the same thing as me have insane extracurriculars like starting non profits or raising thousands for charities. I don't think I'd be able to do anything that crazy without knowing that it would definitely make my application stronger. I do plan on visiting the US during the summer for 1-2 weeks so is there anything I could do then also? Are there people who I can reach out to who'd be willing to help me free of cost since I'm really confused as of now.
Get involved in things of interest related to your proposed specialism - hackathons, robotics challenges, science fairs etc. See what outreach events local unis are offering.

Gradewise you're on a good track, and have some stuff extracurricular wise, but probably you want more ECs and at a deeper level if possible.

Even if you aren't successful in applying to US colleges your profile would make a strong applicant for unis in the UK e.g. Imperial, Oxbridge, etc.
Reply 2
Original post by artful_lounger
Get involved in things of interest related to your proposed specialism - hackathons, robotics challenges, science fairs etc. See what outreach events local unis are offering.
Gradewise you're on a good track, and have some stuff extracurricular wise, but probably you want more ECs and at a deeper level if possible.
Even if you aren't successful in applying to US colleges your profile would make a strong applicant for unis in the UK e.g. Imperial, Oxbridge, etc.

Thanks for replying! I have applied to a lot of outreach programmes but didn't think to include it since the decisions haven't been released yet. Would these be classified as "deeper ec's". I do also want to get into robotics but I dont really have any prior experience😵*💫😵*💫 so it's going to have to be something I get the hang of.
Original post by Anonymous
Thanks for replying! I have applied to a lot of outreach programmes but didn't think to include it since the decisions haven't been released yet. Would these be classified as "deeper ec's". I do also want to get into robotics but I dont really have any prior experience😵*💫😵*💫 so it's going to have to be something I get the hang of.

I mean anything that demonstrates your commitment to your subject and work you've done beyond the school curriculum is good - ideally things you've worked at consistently as well and/or become involved in at a leadership level if possible. Anything that involves a longer term commitment over a period of time is valuable, as is team based work where you can demonstrate leadership skills.

In terms of robotics stuff I think a lot of competitions and things don't assume any prior experience, and there may also be hackathon type events where you can get started in it. One such example here: https://studentrobotics.org/compete/ they don't require any prior experience, you work in a team, and it's conducted over a longer period of time that you commit to, building up to the final competition. Likewise the Big Bang has opportunities for both engineering and science or maths based projects: https://www.thebigbang.org.uk/ which I believe can be individual or team based.

You just need to look around and what opportunities there are and get involved! :smile:
(edited 4 weeks ago)
Reply 4
Original post by artful_lounger
I mean anything that demonstrates your commitment to your subject and work you've done beyond the school curriculum is good - ideally things you've worked at consistently as well and/or become involved in at a leadership level if possible. Anything that involves a longer term commitment over a period of time is valuable, as is team based work where you can demonstrate leadership skills.
In terms of robotics stuff I think a lot of competitions and things don't assume any prior experience, and there may also be hackathon type events where you can get started in it. One such example here: https://studentrobotics.org/compete/ they don't require any prior experience, you work in a team, and it's conducted over a longer period of time that you commit to, building up to the final competition. Likewise the Big Bang has opportunities for both engineering and science or maths based projects: https://www.thebigbang.org.uk/ which I believe can be individual or team based.
You just need to look around and what opportunities there are and get involved! :smile:

Wow these are really helpful thanks . As for the US, getting accepted is one thing but I've heard they they notoriously have very high tuition rates. Do you have any suggestions for how to pay for the tuition as my family isn't in a position to be able to pay the fees and student loans aren't available to international students. I'm aware that I could try and get in through a merit based scholarship but they are extremely competitive although I don't know if this is the case for middle tier schools.
Original post by Anonymous
Wow these are really helpful thanks . As for the US, getting accepted is one thing but I've heard they they notoriously have very high tuition rates. Do you have any suggestions for how to pay for the tuition as my family isn't in a position to be able to pay the fees and student loans aren't available to international students. I'm aware that I could try and get in through a merit based scholarship but they are extremely competitive although I don't know if this is the case for middle tier schools.

Realistically if you're aiming for the US, you should be aiming for the elite colleges that commit to meeting full financial need (and ideally are need blind admissions although the former is the key thing to look for) for international students. So MIT, CalTech, Ivies, Berkeley, Stanford, UChicago or Carnegie Mellon maybe, etc.

This way if you are admitted they should in principle meet your full financial need (although they will calculate an estimated family contribution which you will need to find a way to fund, this is based on your household income so shouldn't be high I think based on what you have said). There's really not much point going to other US colleges that aren't going to meet your full financial need because invariably you could get into a university that is as good if not (quite possibly considerably) better in the UK and get SFE funding here instead.

They key words here are that to look for those that meet the full demonstrated financial need for international students. Need blind colleges will make decisions without factoring in your financial need (i.e. they will make an offer or not without considering how much they will need to spend to meet your financial need for your to attend) whereas need aware colleges will consider your financial need (and so may not make an offer if they have to commit a very high amount of funding for you, especially if they feel your application is borderline for example).

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