We have three terms in school. And my grades look something like this: 9th (84%, 85%, 87%) , 10th (86%, 87%, 95% [Boards]) , *school change*, 11th (84%, 70%, 72%). I am in 12th grade now, as can be seen my 11th grades are terrible - has that ruined my chances at "top" schools forever? Some context: I gave up preparing for the JEE to focus on this. I am looking for full (or nearly full) financial aid (anything else would be totally unaffordable). I met an online counselor who suggested colleges like Drexel, etc. Sure, they are good, but my parents are extremely hopeful (considering I gave up on the JEE) , aka, think HYPSM (or top 20, at the very least). I honestly thought I had a tiny, tiny, tiny chance - but now I am not so sure and am freaked out and disappointed. Should I just give up and prepare for the JEE?

  • profilePic
    Kim Dixit
  • kim@theredpen.in

Kim Dixit Answered 7 months ago

Your grades are only part of the story for a US application. For admission with financial aid to these top ranked universities you will also need solid projects (in engineering I presume), ECAs and standardized test scores (e.g. ACT, SAT, SAT2). And depending on your board/curriculum you also may want to consider taking APs, especially for these universities. 

On top of these academic and personal data points you will need to prepare a top-notch, polished application with strong essays and a coherent story. Also your school will need to support you in providing transcripts, a school profile and recommendation letters. There is a LOT of work involved in this process and if you're already in 12th you may not have time to plan an execute. It is by no means easier than giving JEE.

Drexel is very generous with aid so you should consider it as an option, but even that is no guarantee without a strong application. Others to consider are NYU-AD, Vanderbilt, Univ of Rochester, Tulane and depending on your major liberal arts colleges that have a history of giving aid, such as Wooster, Richmond, Lafayette.

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  • profilePic
    Anupama Singh
  • advisor@indexcc.net

Anupama Singh Answered 7 months ago

US admissions is so contextual so without knowing your curriculum, test scores, reasons for changing schools, extracurricular obligations and levels, financial status, etc. it's very hard to make any determinations with this info. I feel that you should cast a wide net and apply to schools in India as well as the US. A common strategy is to apply to a reach school that is above your stats, a few targets that meet your stats, and then a couple of safeties. There are amazing schools in the US that are top-ranked and then those that are not in those top tier rankings. Consider being a big fish in a smaller pond as you can have access to more opportunities and rise higher if you're the big fish in a lesser known, but just as great, university. Another question about marks in 11th for board students was answered and I believe it would be helpful for you to also read those responses.

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1 more answers
  • profilePic
    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 7 months ago

Hi there! Although your grades have fluctuated quite a bit, there is no reason to give up completely on attending a US university. The first question I would ask as an admissions officer is what happened when you changed schools. Was the change of curriculum responsible for your dip in grades? Are there any other extenuating factors? I am also curious about your test scores. Grades are the No. 1 determinant of eligibility, but your test scores go hand in hand with grades. It's hard to thoroughly determine your best choices without this info.

Having said that, even top domestic students with perfect grades and test scores and impressive honors and activities are rejected in droves from HYPSM. The fact that you need full financial aid limits your choices further, as many US schools don't fund international students. So I would say it is wise to look beyond HYPSM, but I would say that even for my very top students. So that brings us to your idea of moving towards Top 20 schools. Although it's normal to look at schools via rankings, we are not fans of this method, as everyone else is doing the same thing, applying by rankings, and you will be evaluated relative to these students. It's a much better idea to look at schools for fit, not rankings. What do you want to study? I would look at your desired area of study, and schools that fully fund international students, and start your list that way. You will be surprised how many doors these schools can open for you. You are likely to do better there than the obvious choices (Top 20 and HYPSM), and this will increase your job choices and your chances of getting into a great grad school if that is your ultimate goal. 

So don't lose faith - continue strong this year, do well on your SAT or ACT and try to expand your search beyond Top 20 to truly find out what schools will best fit your ultimate goals.


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