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Choosing the Right College/What are my chances of getting into the colleges on my list?

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Hi, I'm stressed out about college, a lot right now. I have made [THIS](http://www.viewdocsonline.com/document/kt32eh) spread sheet listing the college I want to go to (in order of priority). It also include their acceptance rates, acceptance rates with the IB program, their acceptance rates with early decision and their acceptance rates with early decision and IB. What college should I apply 'early decision' to? People usually say it should be the college you'd like to go to the most, which In my case is Harvard. But, I feel like if I apply to Harvard early decision, it would be a waste of the 'early desison' since Harvard is such a reach. What do you think I should do? BTW, I'm Canadian and I'm attending Tehran International School in Iran now so I'd technically be an 'international student'.

Here is my 'brag sheet'

* Interned for one year at microbiology lab at a research university
* Interned for one year at NASA Jet Proportion Laboratory.
* Made a fully functional polymer chain reactor (DNA testing machine)
* Make a fully functional particle accelerator (atom smasher)
* Making a fully functional accelerator-driven nuclear reactor (will be finished by the time I apply hopefully)
* 4.0 grade 9 & 10
* Founder & president of my school's theoretical physics enthusiast club
* Founder & chef editor of my school's
* Founder & president of my school's biology enthusiast club
* There were another two clubs I founded and I am president of but I've been awake for the past 40 hours and I can't remember, sorry.

IB MARKS

MATH 1 HIGH LEVEL 7/7
BIOLOGY 1 HIGH LEVEL 7/7
PHYSICS 1 HIGH LEVEL 7/7
LITERATURE 1 HIGH LEVEL 7/7
ECONOMICS STANDARD LEVEL 7/7
FRENCH 1 6/7
MATH 1 HIGH LEVEL 7/7
BIOLOGY 1 HIGH LEVEL 7/7
PHYSICS 1 HIGH LEVEL 7/7
LITERATURE 1 HIGH LEVEL 7/7
ECONOMICS STANDARD LEVEL 7/7
FRENCH 1 6/7
Extended Essay 3/3
**IB TOTAL** = 43
(I have not officially gotten my IB2 & EE marks but my teachers took a look and gave me an estimate)


SAT

SAT I = 2400
SAT II math 2 = 800
SAT II M Biology = 800
SAT II Physics = 800
SAT II Chemistry = 750
SAT II Literature = 800


I plan to major in theoretical physics and microbiology and minor in political science and chemistry. I know that that is **EXTREMELY** insane but, I'd like to think that if I work hard, I might be able to do it. I plan of getting a medical degree after college.

Answer
You have excellent grades and scores, and most colleges would be delighted to have you as a student.  However, there are THOUSANDS of other excellent students who are applying to these colleges with similar grades and scores.

Stress what makes you stand out from this crowd.  Your international experiences, and anything else that makes you different.  Different is better.  The colleges get too many kids who all seem interchangeable.

However, most of the colleges on your list limit the international students.  As an MIT interviewer, I can tell you that historically MIT typically limits its freshman class to no more than about 10% international students.  As an international student, you are unique (especially from Iran!) but you are facing tough competition from the hordes applying from China and India.

You have picked a very impressive list of colleges.  But these schools mostly have acceptance rates around 10%.  So please apply to a 'safe' school to make sure you get into someplace good.  Remember, safe schools aren't always safe for international students, so check carefully.  Iran doesn't have a network of community colleges like we do in the USA.

Some colleges have a higher acceptance rate if you apply early decision or early action.  Some colleges are now single-choice early action.  MIT is multiple-choice early action.  You can apply to a zillion other colleges early and MIT doesn't care.  There's no commitment to go if you are accepted.  So you have nothing to lose by applying early.

Start writing those essays SOON since you have so many to write, and they take a lot of time.  Most of the colleges either have posted their essay topics or will do so soon.  Even if they use the Common Application, most will have extra essays.  You may want to eliminate some of the colleges from your list since this is a LOT of work.

when you say U Washington, do you mean the public University of Washington in Seattle, or the private Washington University in St. Louis?  If it's the public one, that is a safe school.  If it's the private one, it's not quite safe, but much easier to get into than most of the other ones on your list.

Suggest you read this  www.suekayton.com/college.htm

Nobody can estimate accurately your odds of getting in.  You have the right grades and scores, but it depends on your essays, teacher recommendation letters, and just plain luck.  If you play the harmonica and the admissions officer who reads your application also plays harmonica, for instance, you may get in.  

Another thing to keep in mind if you are planning to go to medical school.  College loans must be repaid, usually beginning 6 months after your scheduled graduation date, whether or not you have graduated, and whether or not you have a paying job.  If you go straight to medical school, how do you plan to pay off hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loans?  Typically students are paying $500 to $700 per month.  This is on top of your normal expenses for medical school.  Unless your family is wealthy, most students planning to go to medical school attend community college for 2 years, then transfer to a public university, or go to the public university for 4 years, to keep costs down.  Most also take a year or two between undergrad and medical school to work and pay off the undergraduate loans before taking on new grad school loans.  There are programs that will pay for medical school - notable the US military and small towns in the Midwest that need doctors desperately.

Email me with specific questions. kayton@alum.mit.edu  

Choosing the Right College

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Sue Kayton

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I can help with recommendations for high school students interested in math / science oriented fields at the highly-selective universities.

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I have been interviewing high school students for MIT for 29 years, and keep on top of what other competitive universities are doing. My website http://www.suekayton.com/college.htm provides a lot of information - read this first before asking a question, please.

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I graduated MIT and so did my son.

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