Advise for applying to Universities.
I am an international student, planning to apply to American Universities in Falll 2022. I am giving my second attempt of SAT in May. I am confident of getting atleast 1450 and preferably 1500+.
In co-curriculars, I have been very active in MUN, debates, declamations, was head of our student council, represented my school in various national level competitions and generally inclined towards leadership roles. I have been scoring 90%+ in every grade. (Maybe that converts to like 3.8-3.9 American GPA.)
Where the problem in my profile lies is the lack of honors/AP classes. My non-US school doesn't offer those. Will that be a huge disadvantage for me? How can I overcome this?
Any advice is welcome. If you can, please suggest me the colleges I should consider applying to. I am planning to major in Finance.
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First, good luck with your SATs in May. If you don't get your goal score, at least you will have a few other opportunities to take the exam prior to applying to college. Also, consider taking a practice ACT test. For some international students, it's more straightforward but a faster-paced exam. Math is 1/4 of the test, not 1/2, and there is a Science comprehension section which is 1/4, and the rest is English. All colleges do not care which you submit so pick the test that you can get the highest score in terms of percentile.
Second, a 90% converts to a 3.6 GPA, a 95% converts to a 3.8 GPA, and a 97.5% converts to a 3.90 GPA, and a 99% would be 3.96 GPA
My recommendation to fortify your course rigor would be to take some online AP classes or online college courses.
Here are some great resources to do that:
In my opinion, the Outlier courses are better since they are college classes and you earn 3 college credits for each course. They are self-paced so you can study in your time zone. And the tests are fairly flexible in time zones as well.
The problem with self-studying AP courses or studying them online is that AP exams are only given in May of each year so you've pretty much missed the boat for this year. So you can take AP courses and then take the exams in May 2022. And you'll have your test results like July 2022. And then you can decide if you want to report them or not when you apply to colleges. With online college courses, you get a grade for the class and college credit. Not all colleges will transfer those credits so it's always best to pick a course that is like a foundational requirement like Physics, Calculus, Statistics, Economics, etc, and get an A in the course.
There are literally 100s of colleges that offer a degree in Finance so it wouldn't be fair to tell you where to apply. I would join a website called Poets and Quants which is a Business College portal that keeps track of the best undergraduate and graduate MBA programs. Each year they put their own rankings together. Wharton at UPenn always is the #1 business school for undergraduates, but I would argue that attending MIT, Harvard, Yale, Stanford for an MBA carries more clout, prestige, and $$$ when you graduate versus and BS in Finance from Wharton.
My advice to you is not to focus too much on a specific business major right away because you don't won't know what path you will want to take until you have more education under your belt. There are many ways you can specialize in Finance. You can be an investment banker, a derivatives trader, a structured finance packager, a quant, a consultant, or specialize in real estate finance, healthcare finance, energy finance etc....
If you want to work on Wall Street and be a quant trader, then you might look into CMUs Carnegie Mellon's MSCF Master of Science in Computational Finance. It's heavy on math and programming and you build your own option pricing models. If you want to work at Goldman Sachs or Citi or JPMorgan/Chase then you might consider an NYC school like CUNY Baruch College, Columbia College, NYU Stern.
Okay, hope that was helpful.
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