Applying to us universities
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Applying to US Universities - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Applying to US Universities . Hanna Tian. Student Profile. High School: Branksome Hall International Baccalaureate Full Diploma Education: Beijing, China Tokyo, Japan Toronto, Canada Prospective Major at Princeton: Industrial Research & Financial Engineering. Topics.

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Student Profile

  • High School: Branksome Hall

    International Baccalaureate Full Diploma

  • Education:

    Beijing, China

    Tokyo, Japan

    Toronto, Canada

  • Prospective Major at Princeton:

    Industrial Research & Financial Engineering

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  • How to Choose Colleges

  • Standardized Test

  • Extracurricular Activities & Awards

  • Writing

  • Reference

  • Supplement Applications

  • Tips

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How to Choose the Right College?

  • Start with Ranking

  • General Interest: Liberal Arts, Ivy Leagues, Tech Schools

  • Special programs: Architect etc.

  • Resources; Student to Faculty Ratio; Student body; School Culture.

  • Admission Rate

  • Cost

  • Location

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Ivy League

Harvard, PrincetonYale, Columbia

Upenn, Dartmouth

Brown, Cornell

Liberal Arts

Williams Amherst


Smith College

Other Tier 1 Stanford


Cal Tech

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Standardized Test

  • SAT vs. ACT

  • SAT II (Subject Tests)

  • Advanced Placement (AP)

  • International Baccalaureate (IB)

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More about Standardized Test

  • Most schools require two SAT IIs but some schools require three.

  • The median for SAT Reasoning is about 2200 for HPY, Stanford, MIT, Cal tech; 2100 for other Ivies.

  • Practise, Practise, Practise…

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How to Apply

  • Common

  • University College

  • Paper Application (not recommended)

  • Individual Application:(i.e. MIT, Columbia, etc)

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Job Experience

  • On common application: there are three spots available for work experience.

  • It is always good to have at least one job experience.

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Extracurricular Activities

  • On the common application: There are 7 spots available for ECs.

  • Consistent; Committed; Leadership Position/Honors

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  • Volunteering: Hospital, UNICEF, Camp, Local/global Community

  • Sports Teams

  • Music: Piano, Band, etc

  • Clubs: Yearbook, Newspaper, Debating, etc

  • Others: Model UN, DECA, Enrichment Programs at University, Robotics

*Most activities can extent beyond the school. Try to participate at regional, provincial or national levels.

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Examples (summer activities)

  • Use your summer well.

  • Camps: Shad Valley, ISSYP, DEEP, Sports camp, etc.

  • Get a job/Internships.

  • Visit universities. (by yourself or through agencies)

  • Local/Global Community service programs.

  • Summer courses: summer school, SAT courses.

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  • There are five spots available for Awards

  • It helps if you have regional, national or international awards.

  • Most awards require additional studying.

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Examples [Math & Sciences]

  • American: AMC, AIME, USAMO, HMMT

  • Canadian: COMC, Waterloo Competitions.

  • There are also many Canadian Chemistry, Physics, Biology competitions in various difficulty levels.

  • International: IMO, IPhO, IChO, IBO

  • Others: Intel Science Talent Search, Siemens Westinghouse Science Competition

  • Some schools specifically recruit winners of prestigious contests. i.e. MIT

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  • There are two writing sections required on CommonApp

  • 1st: a short essay on one of your activities. 150words or fewer.

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  • 2nd Essay is a considered the most important of all.

  • Very often, universities use this essay to get to know who you are (personality, goals, etc.)

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  • Try to write something that is personally meaningful.

  • Think strategically; Be reflective; Start early; Avoid Clichés.

  • Stay simple and be who you are.

  • Introduction and conclusion are very important.

  • Don’t make it too long. 500~800words.

  • Proofread, Proofread, Proofread…

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Reference Letters

  • In total, 3 letters of recommendations are required: one from your guidance counsellor, two from your teachers

  • Make you know your counsellor and at least two teachers who can write your reference

  • Book an appointment with your teacher first; give her sufficient information about yourself. (resume, projects, etc.) Remind him/her all the things you have accomplished in class

  • Tips: if you know the teacher well enough, just tell her directly what you might want her to emphasize in the letter.

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  • Almost all of the top schools require supplements.

  • They are usually additional essays or short answers.

  • Essays:

  • Why this school?

  • Why this program? (i.e. engineering)

  • What distinguish you from others? (very open-ended topics)

  • Supplements can be very time consuming.

  • Tips: if possible, you can recycle essays used for each school.

  • Do the research before you write about a specific school.

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Tips: ``Shine, Glow, Sparkle``

  • Shine: you need to be a strong applicant. (SAT, GPA, ECs)

  • Glow: have an interest or a focus in your application. Don’t make the admission office think you are just like the other 21000 applicants.

  • Sparkle: Something special. (life experience, big awards, unique interest/world view/ opinion)

  • Make sure to show them who you are as a person in your application.

  • You can do that from: Essays, ECs, Teacher’s recommendations and Additional Info section

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  • Try to find some innovative activities to show your talent and interest

  • Present your activities with passion. (i.e. How can you make your experience as a yearbook editor special?)

  • Start your application early. Plan things out.

  • While ECs are important, your marks are just as important!


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Thank You & Good Luck