Introduce myself, decision to go, Brown. “Short run-through of the considerations involved in such a decision, how it may co-exist with other options eg. IIT, and how to get in once you’ve decided you want to go.”Terminology: explain “school”
Broadness: Learn about a lot beyond just your course of study. Education in the traditional sense.Students: Excel at things that you haven’t heard of. Future heads-of-state, writers, directors, artists, CEOs, etc.Faculty: Involved in MAKING the science, people who wrote classic papers that ESTABLISHED FIELDS, their signature on your letter of recco carries IMMENSE WEIGHT, potential to learn and be inspired IMMENSE, faculty drawn from ALL OVER THE WORLDIn each discipline, 2-5 colleges here; 10-40 colleges hereExplain concept of “tradition education”: becoming citizen of the world, learn arts, philosophy, language, humanities IN ADDITION TO your course of study
We sit in India and think College A is the best in its are in India, and we think it’s the best we can do, but there’s something more. I was SHOCKED to discover, however, that in the worldwide list of colleges, only two or three make it to even the top 500 list. The US *dominates*We should be proud of those few, and those are well-known. If you can get there, well and good. But difference between these and the rest is so VAST that if you can afford it, then it is definitely a good decision to look abroad.
Scholarships (hard to get)Financial Aid (only some colleges; only if parents cannot afford)Loans (heavy, but can be repaid in 2-3 years working in the US)Culture: we don’t realize that, as Indians, we tend to be race-color-gender conscious. Standards of liberal thought different. May help to make friends in the 3-6 months before leaving. Positive aspect: your college will start to integrate you into the community way before you get there.Distance: have very close relationships with parents, extended families. Mama’s boys and Papa’s girl. - special considerations for girls.- Two big elephants in the room. - Sex and drugs: college town atmosphere. - transition - Have to convince parents that you can make the right choices in life.- Have constructive conversations with parents; increase parental trust in you; spend next 1-2 years learning from them and becoming mature improve relationship Prove to your parents that you deserve this chance. Don’t abuse your privileges, be responsible
In no way is this a hard-and-fast value judgment. MAIN DIFFERENCE will NOT be quality of education; it is the THAPPA and HARDNESS OF GETTING IN.Will put up top ~50 colleges list on the FB group.Difference between Indian and US students is INITIATIVE, OWNERSHIPSHARE all this with your parentsExample of how important research is: more than 100 kids applied to Brown from JUST DPS RKP (only 1 got in). In our schools we don’t even KNOW the value of an Ivy League education. Moral: BE INFORMED.After SAT score, be realistic.Must stress again and again, getting in is HARD. But it’s a potentially life-changing event.
Don’t do Math I, Math II and something, if you can avoid it. If you choose a quirky subject like English Lit, World History or French, your Interestingness increases. Result: higher chances of getting a top school.
The point of the essay is to give the admissions officer an idea of your personality, how you think, what you aspire to be; your aim, then, should be to condense every bit of your personality and force it upon paper.
It’s a lottery: you won’t feel good until you win it.
Wider your interests and activities. The wider your interests, the higher your chances of getting into those “Dream Schools”All the activities we were involved in.A successful application is written not in 2 weeks, or even 2 months, but over 6-8 years.
Going to the USA Why and How
WHY you would want to go Quality. Except for AIIMS, SRCC and some courses at IIT, quality of education far superior (caveat: top 50 colleges) Broadness. Education in the traditional sense. Careers. Thousands of possibilities beyond doctor, engineer, CA. People. Brilliant students, world-famous faculty.
WHY (contd.) Exposure to new ways of thought, philosophies, lives, cultures and attitudes. Far better equipped for success in the corporate world. Opportunities to do research, teach, get involved in ground-breaking projects. Paves way for acceptance into best graduate schools in the world. Your degree is recognized worldwide.
WHICH colleges Three kinds of schools: Dream schools: All 8 Ivy League schools + MIT, Stanford, Caltech, Duke, Northwestern, UChicago, CMU, UCB, NYU, Rice, other top 20 schools Should-get-into-schools: Good state schools like UCLA, UCSD, Michigan, Georgia Tech, U of Illinois, U Texas Safety schools: Purdue, U Florida, Ohio, Texas A&M 10-5-5, 5-10-5, 3-5-3, etc. Most important thing: RESEARCH Spend ~1 hour on each school’s website, Wikipedia page Try imagining yourself at each school. Look at rankings (overall, your intended major) US News rankings are good Use Google, search for rankings.
HOW to get in Most important: read website of each school, including but not limited to the International Students section. SAT. Start preparing now. Math will be easy, English hard. Buy prep books (eg. Kaplan). Read. Subject SAT. Choose subjects with care. Extracurriculars. Start building on these now. Participate. Seek out opportunities. Social service. Olympiads and exams. Marks. Don’t slip up. Aim for 85%+ in 11th and 12th. Essays. Most important part of your application.
The Essay DO write it yourself. Make it about yourself. DO show it to one or two close friends and family, plus one person whose English is good. DO be honest in your essay. DO spend time writing the essay, revising and polishing it. After writing, let it lie for a week. Then revise. DO NOT get someone else to write it. They will catch it instantly. DO reuse essay ideas, paragraphs and essays from one app to another.
Timeline Shortlist schools and read up on each one. Make a table of schools with required tests, application deadlines, etc. Take SAT Take SAT II Take TOEFL (if required for any of your schools) Fill up Common App, other apps Start writing essays Collect documents (report cards, teacher reccos, secondary school supplement and international school supplement, board marksheet and certificate, counselor recommendation, the report-card thing they give you at the end of 10th), make photocopies, get signs, make a table of postal addresses of schools
Misc. After SAT score, evaluate your chances. Decide your application ratio: 10-5-5, 5-10-5. If pressed for time, apply to those that accept the Common App, since it reduces work. Ultimately, the best colleges are looking for interesting people. In a nutshell, be interesting. Have activities, interests and hobbies. Be prepared for rejections. Each top 20 school takes 5-10 kids from India. Remember: all you need is one acceptance letter.