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I got into Cornell also.

Cornell College that is. Also got into Lake Forest College outside of Chicago. Haven't decided yet. I live right by Yale and my girlfriend's brother loves Dartmouth.

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I hope to get into Carnegie Mellon, Massachusetts Intitute of Technology, or University of Illinois (Forget Next Part). My grades are good, just waiting for my pwnage ACT scores back :o

Thanks. MIT rejected me back on St. Patrick's day.. CMU has really good computer science, too bad I didn't apply, still Cornell is nice. Just a tip of advice for those schools (MIT in particular), you need to show real devotion and focus on one thing that is special to and distinguishes you from the rest. If you really like robotics, show that by your extracurriculars, projects, competition, literature, etc..

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Thanks. MIT rejected me back on St. Patrick's day.. CMU has really good computer science, too bad I didn't apply, still Cornell is nice. Just a tip of advice for those schools (MIT in particular), you need to show real devotion and focus on one thing that is special to and distinguishes you from the rest. If you really like robotics, show that by your extracurriculars, projects, competition, literature, etc..

Yeah, I think I have the merit thing down pretty well. I hope building a robot for Batelle, getting 2nd on a NASA competitions out of 2860 people, and winning the National Robotics Competition in a college level class. Well that's all I did in robots and theory, beyond constructing my own.

I'm also an eagle scout (looks good :) ) I think I got into the National Honors Society. Dunno.

I don't know what kind of people they take in. I hope I can make it.

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I don't understand the question. If you mean where, refer to the colleges above.

As of now, I'm looking to take the ACT. Without anything I think I average 28-30. I'm taking all the money I saved up in the bank towards classes for the ACT, so I can do well. A few thousand is easily spent if I don't have to pay for college :) That's my sole goal.

Um, I think you mean what do I want to do in the future. I'm going to try to get a degree in electrical engineering, with maybe side work in mechanical and computer. I am looking towards doing robotics in the future, but having little money is hard. Well, having little money is hard to build computers too. Hacking is always fairly cheap, which is how I got involved. You learn lots too.

If I misinterpreted that question, please elaborate.

One question: What kind of things do you have to do to apply? Is it just, essay writing, grades, ACT/SAT, merit, and submission of application?

I hope I'm not missing anything :shock:

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I'll talk about Early Applications later in the post, but here's just a rundown of the application process:

Junior/Early Senior Year:

-Take SATs/ACTs and SAT IIs (subject tests)

To Apply, starting in the fall of your senior year, you'll need a couple of things:

1. Fill out your respective school's applications. (If they use the common application, then you might have to fill out a supplement for that specific school). (This will consist of questions and ambiguous essays.)

2. Your highschool to send your transcript to each school you're applying to.

3. Get your top two teachers (the one's that like you the most) to write recommendations and send them to colleges.

4. Get your testing agency (Collegeboard (SAT) or ACT) to send your test scores to your selected schools (This is done online).

5. Depending on the school, you will either be contacted for an interview in Jan/Feb if its convenient for the school, or be asked to contact an interviewer (MIT does this) before January to conduct an interview. The interview is very important and you need to add a personal side to your application so try to be personable, try relating to the interviewer. Do not stress if you are not contact for an interview. I was not contacted for an interview for Dartmouth but was still wait listed there.

Early Applications

Some schools offer the oppurtunity to apply early (usually Nov. 1 or 15) and you get a decision around Dec. 15. There are three types of early applications.

Early Decision: This is financially binding. You may only apply to one school early decision. If you get into this school, then you are committed to go. (Offered at Cornell)

Early Action: This is not financially binding. You may apply to as many Early Action schools as you please. (Offered at MIT)

Single-Choice Early Action: This is not financially binding, however if you apply SCEA to a school, then you cannot apply to any other schools early. (Offered by Stanford, Yale)

There are three outcomes from Early Applications:

Acceptance: You're in, congratulations. Welcome to the class of (in your case) 2012!

Rejection: Better luck next time.

Deferral: You are not given a definite decision and a decision on your application is not given until Late March/Early April. (This happened to me at Stanford and it sucked when I got deferred in Dec, so that I had to wait 4 more months for them to reject me). Some schools do 'courtesy' deferrals (such as Yale), which means that you really don't stand a chance, but they defer you to be nice. Other schools, such as Stanford, do not, and only defer you if they believe you have a serious chance of being accepted in the full pool of applicants.

You must research to see what type of Early Application program your schools offer so you know what you are doing.

Regular Admissions

For most schools the deadline for regular applications are due on or about Jan. 1. Once you send in your application, you must wait until Late March/Early April until decisions. (MIT is an exception in that they choose the first Saturday after Pi Day).

If you have any more questions, let me know. Also, be sure to check out the admissions webpage for your colleges to check to see if there is anything specific or out of the ordinary that they want. If you check now, you'll have plenty of time to prepare.

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For those of us who know only about the US schooling system from what we see in movies, care to elaborate on what SATs and ACTs and such are?

Also, do all universities aim to get you all schooled up in 5 years? Over here you get divvied up into 3 groups (average, above-average, gifted) and the amount of time your education takes (assuming you don't fail a year) is dependant on that (3, 4 and 5 years, respectively).

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SAT: Used to stand for Scholastic Aptitude Test, but is now just a three letter trademark used as the name of the primary test for college admission. Currently, it is broken into 3 parts, Math, Reading, and Writing. Scoring goes as following: You start off with 200 points, for every question you get right, you get 1 point, for each one you get wrong you lose .25 points, and you get 0 points for an omitted questions. Each question (for the most part) is a 5-choice multiple-choice question. You can score a maximum of 800 points on each section, bring a perfect score to be a 2400. The test typically lasts 4 hours.

There are some irregularities. The writing section contains the much criticized 2 page essay which must be planned and written in 25 minutes with no preparation on whatever topic the College Board chooses. This is scored 'objectively' by two reader who each score it out of 6 points. The two reader's scores are added up to produce a final score on the essay. (IE: 11/12 in my case). The essay is also complemented by multiple choice questions. Some colleges do not even consider or simply lightly consider the writing section because of this.

The math section also has some fill in questions. Meaning, they are not multiple choice, but you must write in a response. However, a wrong answer will not lose you .25 points on these questions. There are also some limitations as the answer cannot be negative or larger than 9999 (There is negative sign to choose from and there are only 4 slots to write in your number).

While there are three major subjects in the SAT, there are 10 sections on the SAT. A typical SAT contains 3 writing sections (one of which is always the essay), 3 math sections (one of which contains the fill ins), and 3 reading sections. Then there is also 1 experimental or 'test' section which does not count in your score at all, but is used for testing purposes. You are not told which section will be used for testing, but it could be math, reading, or writing. Whatever subject had 4 sections in the one which had an experimental section.

You may take the SAT multiple times and most colleges only consider your best composite score. In my case:

Jan. 2006 SAT

Math: 710

Reading: 700

Writing: 650

Apr. 2006 SAT

Math: 790

Reading: 700

Writing: 600

Therefore my best composite score would be M: 790, R: 700, W: 650. On the 1600-point scale that is 1490/1600 (M+R) and on the 2400-point scale: 2140/2400 (M+R+W)

SAT II: Some colleges the SAT IIs, or SAT Subject Tests for admissions. These tests measure aptitude in certain subject areas. Engineering schools typically want two of these (one in math and one in science). While some others want 3 tests in any subject. These tests cover many things from Latin and Korean to Biology and Literature.

Like an SAT section they are scored out of 800 points, but are on a curve. Therefore, it is possible to get some questions wrong but still get an 800.

My engineering school required a SAT II in math and science, but some required any 3, so I took:


Math Level 2: 790 (There are only two math levels, 1 and 2)

Physics: 750 (deemed as one of the hardest because of the broad subject area)

US History: 720

ACT: Stood for American College Test, but is now just trademark like SAT. While I did not take this test, I do know that it is broken up into 4 sections, Reading, English, Math, and Science. The final score out of 36 is taken as an average of the 4 sections. This test is used more in the South and Mid-West so I don't know too much, but some consider it easier than the SAT comparatively.


The universities usually aim to give us a Bachelor's degree in 4 years. However some schools offer 5 year programs in which you will earn a Bachelor's and Master's degree. Some disciplines like Architecture usually require 5 years to obtain a degree in. It is rare for someone to receive a Bachelor's degree in 3 years. This will usually happen if the student has taken alot of AP tests.

AP Tests: The College Board (SAT creators) also offer AP (Advanced Placement) tests to high-schoolers for those who want to earn college credits (assuming you score a 4 or 5 on the AP test). AP tests last 3 hours on one subject. The subjects range from AP Computer Science to AP Physics to AP Art History. Colleges will see what AP classes you took and how you performed on them while they evaluate your worthiness for acceptance.

I sent two AP scores to colleges. A 5/5 on Statistics and a 5/5 on US History. This year, I am taking courses preparing me for the AP tests in Physics level B, Calculus level AB, and Latin: Vergil.

Hope that answered some of your questions, let me know if you need any more explanations.

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