Elite US Unis – Update 2015

Brown – James Ketta

6.4 undergrads. 8-1 student faculty. 15% international. No core curriculum, no required courses. Most students at Brown do a range of subjects anyway. 2K courses offered every year. Interdisciplinary v important. Province – being renovated and revived. Residential campus. Demonstrate energy, curiosity and restless drive. 100% taught by faculty.

UPenn – Maxime.

1740. Benjamin Franklin founder – key principles: purposeful learning, academic flexibility, diverse learning community. Largest % of int students in Ivy League. 5Th largest city. Philadelphia. Campus. 12 houses. 4 undergrad schools. $900 million annual research budget. Centre of Undergraduate Research. Service to society.Wharton – work with non-profit start-ups in Philadelphia. Demonstrate energy, curiosity and restless drive. 100% taught by faculty.

Kyo – Stanford

V large campus – biological reserve, lots of resources. You have access to all 7 schools. Academic freedom – trying new things. Quarters – 10 weeks. 4-5 classes per quarter. Interdisciplinary subjects – e.g. symbolic systems (linguistics, computer systems, psychology). Completely diverse group. 45 athletes went to Olympic games – “6th in world”. Economic diversity – 60% first generation students. Demonstrate energy, curiosity and restless drive. 100% taught by faculty.

Wellesley – Milena

Beautiful campus – 12m from Boston. 1 in 4 inhabitants are students. 1000 classes every year. Cross registration with MIT, Babson and Brandeis. Everyday leadership. No graduate students. Research with faculty. 14% international this year. World’s most powerful women’s network. Demonstrate energy, curiosity and restless drive. 100% taught by faculty. Committed to full support if necessary.

Yale – Keith

Sterling Memorial Library. Incredible resources – available, not forbidden to touch the books, use the machines! e.g. 2 x Gutenberg Bibles. 800 labs. Lots of investment has been put in. Unfair proportion of the word’s great scholars. All faculty teacher undergraduates. 1.5 hours to NY. 5.4k undergraduates. Relatively small. Aim is to learn deeply. 1:1 ratio in Engineering. Emphasis is on being a scholar. 12 residential colleges. Oxbridge style presence of academics in each college plus a Master. Access to leading minds, informally. Demonstrate energy, curiosity and restless drive. 100% taught by faculty.

Tips from Elite Unis – Q & A 21st September 2015

– ED or EA for those who feel they can present themselves to best effect now rather than later. Not motivated by having a better chance. No need to re-take tests etc.

– Early evaluation available at Wellesley

– Restrictive EA – non-binding. Restrictive element is that you don’t apply to other private unis EA.

– Best fit is key.

– Top institutions will meet demonstrated need. Aim is to admit the strongest students.

– International students don’t qualify for US aid but institutions will be need-sensitive and seek to help you.

– No merit scholarships

– No preference for ACT, SAT or new SAT – will superscore regardless. Low SAT score students can be admitted, high score SATs can be denied.

Cornell, Tufts, Chicago, Dartmouth

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All these universities will look closely at the subjects your chose at HL (IB). But you will flexibility – you may have aimed at a particular major but change your mind.

When you put application together, make sure it reflects who you are.  Be proud of who you are.  Be yourself.

Cornell -14k students, Ithaca, upstate – classic college town.  Lots of faculty teaching.

Chicago – College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  Core curriculum.  Grea books curriculum.  19 max in class.  Discussion based classes from Year 1.  Multi-disciplinary approach.  Research opportunities. Early Action. Higher admit rate in the early round – c50% of early round.

Dartmouth – New Hampshire – very rural.  Mountains, forests, river.  Largest land-owner in state.  Own ski mountain, own garden, network of cabins.  Student-run lodge in mountains. 4k.  Smallest Ivy-league.  Undergraduates are the focus.  Get to know your faculty – babysitting.  College will pay for you to take your professor out to lunch.  Unique feature – academic calendar.  D plan – lots of flexibility.  1 summer term must be spent taking classes on campus – then you can take a term away at some other point. E.g. can do internships at less popular times.  Lead the Ivies in terms of study abroad.  Individual path through the university. 35% through early decision.  Strong advantage.  TOEFL mostly required.

Tufts – Boston – great location – just north of Boston.  Under the river – stop at Harvard, then MIT, then Davis.  If unsure of what you want on a campus.  Internships can be done a couple of days a week for credit – 15-20 minutes to Boston.  5k undergrads.  Lots of double majors – trying different things.  Different views, being out of your comfort zone.  Highly intellectual.  « Cool to be smart » – accomplished, brilliant.  Reliably unpretentious.  Excited about academics but lots of things going on. Early Decision – nearly 50%!  Not easier to get in but regular is harder.

League Tables

League Tables – Patrick Kennedy UCAS 2015

  • How do LSE and UCL don’t make the top 10 in Guardian May 2015?

  • New entrants to top places –

  • National Student Survey now feeds into the rankings

  • Campus unis e.g. Loughborough have attracted higher-quality students

  • Times-Sunday Times – 8 indicators – entry qualifications, completion rates, NSS used by both Times and Guardian, % of First or II.i, graduate career prospects, staff-student ratio, research quality (not in Guardian)

  • NSS powerful determinant (LSE and Edinburgh v low), Coventry has the best. (Hence why it’s doing so well).

  • A lot of unis very close together, hence volatility of changes.

  • QS based on questionnaire sent to academics

  • Unis consider their positions carefully

  • NSS has 50% threshold for being published. And Graduate study has 80% threshold.

Common Application Updates – Changes 2015-2016

Key changes are:

  • you can print off sections of your application before submitting
  • They have removed the « place » prompt and replaces it with the following:
  • Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

  • You may choose to submit a personal essay to a college even if not required.
  • Other changes are included in screenshots from the presentation provided by Common App – Counselor Webinar June 2015

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