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Freakshow December 25th 2009 07:21 AM

Faced with an uncertain future...
Ugh, I'm feeling too much stress and just need a place to vent. This is going to be a bit long, so please bear with me.

I'm currently a junior at a private high school. I maintained a 3.8 unweighted GPA through freshman and sophomore years at my previous HS while taking the toughest possible courseload (honors classes and an AP sophomore year), even despite several unfortunate incidents grade-wise that weren't my fault (my mom and I went to the school administration about these, but we found their attitude to be extremely disrespectful, which is part of the reason why I transferred). I scored a 2120 on my SAT's when I was just a sophomore. Two weeks ago, I received my PSAT scores in the mail, and they were high enough to qualify me for National Merit Semifinalist status in my state by a large margin. All my SAT II subject test scores are above 700 (out of a total possible 800). I have well-defined extracurricular interests (foreign language studying and tutoring, writing, piano), and have built up a solid resume of accomplishments and awards in each of these endeavors, some of which are at the international level.

That being said, there's no question that I'm a strong student, but recently my family has undergone some circumstances that were completely out of our control, and for various reasons we will no longer have a stable income beginning in January 2010. Seeing how this is my junior year, I'm incredibly scared, particularly when it comes to college. My mom used to tell me not to worry about the costs of attendance; however, things are just the opposite right now.

To make matters worse, I do not have U.S. citizenship, although I have applied for Permanent Resident status and my application has not been denied (this was the only thing that qualified me for National Merit). This means that financial aid will be very hard to obtain in my case, and green card processing typically takes years before pending applications are approved, so I most likely won't be able to receive those benefits before I graduate from HS. My family REALLY needs financial aid, but the only 8 U.S. colleges that are need-blind to internationals are among the most selective in the country (among them being Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Amherst, Williams, and Middlebury). This past semester, I've been fretting over academics more than anything else, because I've been trying to raise my GPA from 9th and 10th grade - though it was decent, I didn't feel that it accurately represented my true abilities due to the reasons I mentioned earlier - and ultimately, I'm trying to show the adcoms who'll eventually read my application that I am capable of more.

Out of my six classes this semester, I have solid A's in two, a B+ in one (though this one is subject to change due to a possible grading error - we'll see what happens in January), two that are borderline, and the last one which I have absolutely no idea about. I've been having nightmares recently that the last three would end up working against me, and seeing how this is THE most important high school year, as well as the fact that I'll most likely be applying to the most selective schools in this country, I've become quite paranoid. What will extremely high SAT scores and clear passions in certain areas do for me, if my academics aren't up to a certain standard? I've worked myself to the bone this entire semester, but will it all end up being in vain?

Apologies for the length of this post. But seeing how my family's facing an uncertain future and how my options have just been severely limited, I'm now feeling even more pressure to succeed.

Thanks for bearing with me; typing this alone just took a huge load off my mind. :)

St.Vincent January 4th 2010 04:35 AM

Re: Faced with an uncertain future...
OHHHHH wow. This sounds familiar.

One of my best friends is the daughter of a diplomat from Taiwan, and she's basically lived the double life, from here to there. She wanted to go to university in America and her family had no significant amount of money to offer her. She got a 2390 on SAT, she would have been national merit, did a bajillion activities blah blah and we all thought she was going to get into Harvard or Yale or at LEAST Columbia. It didn't happen. She didn't get in to harvard, yale, columbia, princeton, uchicago, etcetc and we were all really.. "worried" because the only "safeties" she applied for and was accepted into (how ridiculous this sounds now) were University of Virginia and Vanderbilt. UVA gave her nada, but Vandy gave her a full ride. Why? Because in some schools down south, "asian" people are actually (get this) an underrepresented minority.

Admissions are really unfair to international american type people from countries like asia and believe me it sucks ass. But, it's not like a brick wall. Apply to schools that aren't need blind, and who knows, you might get lucky. Apply to schools that are need blind, and apply to schools in the south. Basically, to me it looks like you're going to be a strong candidate... and college admissions are kind of a gamble, and since you're not loaded or american enough, you have to raise your chances by just applying to more schools.

And also, don't put your nose above schools that aren't in the new england superiority college bubble region, my friend really likes Vanderbilt and doesn't regret the fact that she.. uh basically had to go there.

You will be fine. Really, really, really. PM me if you need help with college stuff, it's a complicated can of worms.

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