2 years ago
Admissions Advice

I have 3.9/4.00 and I have scored 1600 in SAT and 35 in ACT. I am an int'l and my extra's are strong.

MY extras are good and strong too but there are less Olympiads!!!

Do you think I have a chance to get into top schools (Ivy, MIT, Stanford, etc.?)

🎉 First post
Let’s welcome @Aerien to the community! Remember to be kind, helpful, and supportive in your responses.
@lucichuka2 years ago

I know people who have gotten into ivy leagues with lower gpas and acts. You definitely have the grades, and as long as your extra curriculars are strong and you construct well-written essays, you have a pretty good chance. Just stay diligent, and try your best. I'm sure you'll do great!

[🎤 AUTHOR]@Aerien2 years ago

Thanks for your answer lucichuka; I have a good GPA, but my GPA is low to high. I had a 3.5 GPA in grade 9, then 3.65 in 10th grade; I studied very hard and got 3.9 in 11th and the same in 12th. But do you think that 9th and 10th grade will affect my chances? I have participated in 2 summer college programs and completed three college coursework. I have not given APs because they are not available here. I was the head of my school's chess club, and I also started a coding camp in my school.

Earn karma by helping others:

1 karma for each ⬆️ upvote on your answer, and 20 karma if your answer is marked accepted.

1 answer

Accepted Answer
2 years ago[edited]

Hi @Aerien,

Thanks for your question. I think it's a great question because there are thousands of International students working very hard to get the best grades and test scores.

The main theme I want to share today for you and other 9th, 10th, and 11th International students is that college admissions in the US don't work as it does in the rest of the world. You have to be smart for sure to get into a top American college but it is not a meritocratic process. So the best-qualified applicant doesn't necessarily get into top US colleges, the most compelling student does.

At MIT admit rates for International students are a challenge. Last year 9602 international applicants applied to MIT and 136 were admitted (1.4%). 24165 US Citizens applied and 1201 were admitted (4.97%). So it's 3.5 X harder to get into MIT if you are an International applicant. I don't think this is a funding issue because MIT has 28 Billion US in their endowment. Since MIT is a private school with its own private agenda and goals, perhaps they feel that US Citizens who have grown up with all kinds of different programs, ECs, curricula, etc are a better cultural fit for the school. And I would think the same sort of differential exists at CalTech as well. Since they only have 235 seats to fill, I think it's even more complicated to get into CalTech as an Int'l student. They probably do lots of behind-the-scenes background checks because they don't want a future loss of intellectual capital.

At Stanford, again, it's not a funding issue but a cultural fit issue. Stanford prefers public high school applicants who have a lot of intellectual vitality and unique spikes. Since they are huge on D1 Varsity athletics, they love athletes as well. One stat that sticks in my head is that Stanford, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton reject 60% of applicants with perfect GPAs and perfect SAT or ACT test scores. And Stanford rejects 70% of applicants with perfect SAT test scores. So your range of acceptance at Stanford is theoretically 0-30%, which is better than most people.

What is an important concept to embrace about US colleges, is that grade and test scores are used as threshold/bar to loosely examine if your application should be read in the first place. So as long as you have a 1450SAT/33ACT and a 3.7-3.9 GPA, they are not going to toss your application at top colleges like the T25. When they read the quality of your ECs (in terms of tiers like Tier 1, 2, 3), your level of leadership roles, your community service impact, your work experience, your intellectual vitality (research, published papers, internships, add'l college coursework, private and personal learning, patents, fundraising, non-profit start-ups, etc), essays both main and supplemental, recommendations, interview, intro. videos, slide room portfolios, etc., will make a more informed holistic evaluation of whether you would be a good fit for the college. Sometimes it's an essay that sways their decision, sometimes it's a recommendation or good interview that tips the scale. Other times its something non-academic like they need a first-position French horn player or a goalie on the Women's Water polo team, or they think a spokesmodel of 30 luxury brands who happens to be an Olympic medalist in freestyle skiing who got a 1580 SAT on her first try after running to the test center for 45 minutes in Switzerland is the very thing the school needs to market themselves globally and gain maximum clout.

At last count, I determined that there are 31 colleges in the US with admit rates of less than 10%. That is 31 more schools than in the UK. where it is easier to get into Oxford or Cambridge than the 31 US schools. The Top 10 all have admitted rates less than 5%, so 95% get rejected. I think the avg. admit rate for all 8 ivies is now 4.96%. Therefore, it's very important to have lots of target schools versus reach schools these days if you want to attend a great college in the US. There are great schools that want high test scores that are more lenient with ECs. For example Boston College and Rice University. Maybe CMU and JHU as well.

Good luck

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Community Guidelines

To keep this community safe and supportive:

  1. Be kind and respectful!
  2. Keep posts relevant to college admissions and high school.
  3. Don’t ask “chance-me” questions. Use CollegeVine’s chancing instead!

How karma works