4 years ago
Admissions Advice

As an Indian (the country), what are the main steps I should take to get into an Ivy league college like Harvard or MIT?


As a foreigner, what should I do to get into an Ivy league university? I've completed my 12th grade and I've decided to repeat for better admissions. What are the steps I have to take to improve myself especially in this pandemic?

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4 years ago

Honestly, you are starting at a grave deficit to apply to either Harvard or MIT if you have to repeat the 12th-grade coursework. Let me better understand your circumstance/predicament. You are not happy with your Indian grades on your transcript or the course rigor and want to get a new transcript for 12th grade. So how did you fare for 9th, 10th, and 11th grades then? Did you have a 91-100 each year and just bombed 12th grade? And what was your % grade in 12th grade? Does India allow the student to erase their 12th-grade transcript if they completely repeat the entire year? So what does that look like then on your transcript? What is in its place for the entire 12th grade school year? And how do you explain that away?

As an East Indian international applicant, the greatest competition is peers from India applying to these schools. So if you are not at the Top of your class already, you have to have some amazing talents and win some amazing Olympiads or competitions to get recognized. I don't have the exact figures but the acceptance rates are like 3-4% for Indian applicants at MIT and Harvard or less than what the published rates are.

Repeating the 12th grade will only improve your grades and perhaps only a tiny bit of course rigor because a.) it will be very hard to get perfect grades, b.) it will very hard to take the most difficult courses and still get perfect grades. Grades/course rigor is only 1 of perhaps 100 or 200 criteria these colleges look at when deciding who to admit. You must also have fulfilled all the HS course requirements (like 20 classes), have excellent ECs, awesome recommendations, high TOEFL or equivalent English score, show that you took the hardest classes like AP/IB equivalent, have 99% percentile test scores like ACT/SAT, and have proof of some intellectual curiosity. Since everyone is practically a genius who gets in, there is no merit scholarship only financial aid.

Many people around the world want to get into these schools but often they don't understand the criteria to be considered. Therefore I would seriously recommend doing some research on your own and watching some youtube videos like (10-20) on the MIT or Harvard admissions process. Once you are armored with some useful information, you will be able to laser focus on what you need to do to be a competitive applicant. And if these schools are not in your range, then aim for something more attainable because where you go to college does not define you. Think about it, the President of the US started off at Fordham University in the Bronx, and the most current Supreme Ct Justice nominee started off at Rhodes College. Both these schools are tier 3 schools. Fordham #66 national Universities, Rhodes #54 liberal arts colleges. In America, you can get an excellent education at the Top 100 colleges and a very good education at 101-250. And then you can apply to a better Grad School. or Ph.D. program.

Good Luck.

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


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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