9 months ago
Admissions Advice

How do Ivies/US colleges review international students?

I am an aspiring student from Romania and my school curriculum is quite different from the US one. Here, your teacher can just give you a 4/10 one day just because they feel like it and ruin your average,. It has happened to me many times. Also, we cant chose our courses, so, due to the fact that I am not good at chemistry (because I have ecs and subjects in which I'm actually interested in and I like investing time in those rather than this horrible subject) my GPA takes a hit... as well as my individual grades being lower. In my freshman year I was a horrible student, but I grew a lot and I am so scared they won't accept me anywhere because of it. And although ivies are such a reach, would NYU accept me if I have pretty good ecs (leadership, spike, internships) and a gpa of approx 3.7 when I apply (because i am improving it as much as I can). I am a sophomore now and I am not top of my class, but I want to study in the US. So, I know this may be confusing but bottom line will US colleges like NYU, BU accept me? Do they know how it is in Romania/ other countries or can I explain it to them at least?

[🎤 AUTHOR]@maramara9 months ago

I FORGOT TO SAY: here we have 18 subjects a year and as I have mentioned before you cant chose them so it makes it 90% more difficult altogether

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3 answers

9 months ago[edited]

Top American college view and review Int'l students no differently in terms than a US applicant but often it is more challenging to the admissions office because there are many differences in how other countries educate their own HS students. The case in point is outlined in how random your teacher grades you.

Based on the info. you provided, no one on this CV blog would be able to tell if you are a strong or weak candidate for NYU, BU, or an Ivy League school. So the best thing to do is fill out the chancing profile to the best of your ability and try running a few scenarios with different ECs, Honors, Grades, etc and see where you end up. I can't tell you if NYU, BU are reaching for you or target schools.

The more data points you can give to an American Admissions officer the better. For instance, if your GPA is no the best, then you definitely want to plan on taking the ACT or SAT test with the intent of getting a 33+ ACT or 1450+ SAT score, ideally a 34+ or a 1500+ for both schools. And if you are applying to an Ivy, shoot for a 35+ or a 1530+ score. Having high test scores to submit will improve your chances even though standardized tests are optional next year a well. Perhaps into the 2022-2023 cycle also but that won't be announced until mid-next year.

The other thing I would recommend is to take a few online AP classes or online college classes both to show a.) course rigor, b.) intellectual curiosity, and c.) prove you can handle the most difficult classes.

The more information you can provide on your application that shows evidence of you being the best student possible, the greater the chances of you getting into your dream colleges. Admissions officers only spend about 10 minutes on 1 application which is hardly enough time to fully understand the candidate. Therefore it is your job to make your application a.) complete. b) easy to follow c.) full of amazing highlights they will notice and record d.) and moved by your writing ability and narrative in your essays you have to submit.

As you know about 81% of BU applicants get rejected and 87% of NYU applicants do not make the cut. And if you are applying to Ivys, on average 95% of applicants fail to get a seat at the table. So you are not only fiercely competing with extremely qualified Americans but other Romanians and other International students who might have a full academic record like an IB diploma, or 10 AP classes, or perfect grades and test scores.

If you are constrained by how your government teaches you, then you have to find a way to challenge yourself outside of the classroom that gets noticed and qualifies as evidence of your ability to step up and succeed.

Good luck on your journey!

9 months ago

Two great responses here already that I think are right on the money -- I would just reiterate the importance of trying to show your abilities through US-standardized measures, such as high SAT scores or online AP classes, to make yourself, in essence, a less risky profile (or simply easier to evaluate on a like-for-like basis) for admissions officers. Boost your ECs wherever possible, and know at the end of the day that your profile will largely be competing against other students from Romania for seats in the class!

9 months ago

It is safe to say that admissions officers are familiar with the variety of education systems that exist around the world. They will evaluate your academic credentials in a way that is fair, based on your education system. International students are compared against each other; i.e, they will look at all the applicants from Romania together when making their decisions.

Your best bet is to do exceedingly well on the SAT as this will level the playing field for all applicants. Have stellar letters of recommendation, pour your heart into the essays (even the ones that are "optional"), be honest in your overall application, and hope for the best!

You should also note that your GPA will change depending on each school you apply to


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