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Any advice on gap years?

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Lisafuller
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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:00 pm

malcontent wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 1:03 am
Swn4 wrote:
Sat, 23 Apr 2022 11:43 pm
Their complaint is that Raffles & Hwa Chong get more admits (accurate) than say SAS would get.
Yeah, they should consider passport, not just the country of study. From a diversity perspective, most SAS students have very little in common with local students.

Had we put my son in the local system, it would have been like oil to water. He does decent enough academically, above US average, but he is a more of a thinking than regurgitation type (much like me) but his real strength is in visual arts, and the local system doesn’t cater to that at all — it is hardcore STEM. I was astounded at how few classes my daughter could opt for in JC.
Same as my daughter - she’s more of a thinker and far more suited to the humanities. She actually had to appeal to take a full humanities subject combination, she’s lucky she’s known to be a bright kid and has good test scores or they would not have let her.

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:01 pm

NYY1 wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 7:53 am
Swn4 wrote:
Sat, 23 Apr 2022 11:32 pm
According to my American friends who have kids at the International Schools in Singapore - their kids have to compete for an acceptance letter amongst the pool applying from Singapore. And it is tough although not as competitive as applying from China.

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malcontent wrote:
Sat, 23 Apr 2022 11:40 pm
That is interesting, never heard that one. My daughter who is US citizen in the local system should fare well, even against the local competition. My son is in international though, so maybe it would be better to let him finish out his final HS years in the US.
Lisafuller wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 12:48 am
I think she was classified as the latter at most of the schools. She holds US residency so she qualifies for local grants, scholarships, and aid. Of course in terms of admissions I have no way to tel which basket she fell into.
My understanding is that there can also be a different classification for admissions vs. financial aid. For example, with respect to admissions University of Chicago and Harvard will treat US resident abroad as international student. MIT and Stanford will look at residency (i.e. JC here but US resident = apply as local/domestic).
How do you know this?

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:04 pm

malcontent wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 8:38 am
NYY1 wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 7:53 am
However, if you take A Level but get put in the domestic/local bucket, I have wondered whether the people reviewing the application understand both the grading scale here and how class rank within a highly sorted cohort are not comparable to most US high schools?
I have also wondered the same thing. Some US schools seem to lump all “British pattern” education systems together, including Singapore… and with Singapore setting it’s own tougher standards, the same A level result here and other countries with lighter standards could put SIngapore marks at a disadvantage.

Also, the fact that within the Singapore pool of students, to be in the top 10% here means you’d probably be in the top 1% when compared globally. I kind of doubt that translates for many US schools.

If my daughter can’t get into the school she deserves, maybe attending a community college where she could easily knock it out of the park and be in the top 1% might be a way, but the number of transfer students accepted at the most selective schools presents yet another challenge.

One question though, most students applying for the best US schools won’t have their A level results at the time of application. I wonder how much weight is really put on this if not submitted in Feb, or if it’s even necessary. My daughter has exceptionally good grades (triple science and earned A or A+ for all classes) at Secondary… no O level because she is in IP. I have to believe that should count for something.
The community college route is a great idea, although it’s not so promising considering the transfer rates at certain schools. If she can maintain stellar grades there while keeping with her extra curriculums, however, a transfer to somewhere great should be no issue.

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by NYY1 » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:09 pm

Lisafuller wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:01 pm
NYY1 wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 7:53 am
Swn4 wrote:
Sat, 23 Apr 2022 11:32 pm
According to my American friends who have kids at the International Schools in Singapore - their kids have to compete for an acceptance letter amongst the pool applying from Singapore. And it is tough although not as competitive as applying from China.

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malcontent wrote:
Sat, 23 Apr 2022 11:40 pm
That is interesting, never heard that one. My daughter who is US citizen in the local system should fare well, even against the local competition. My son is in international though, so maybe it would be better to let him finish out his final HS years in the US.
Lisafuller wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 12:48 am
I think she was classified as the latter at most of the schools. She holds US residency so she qualifies for local grants, scholarships, and aid. Of course in terms of admissions I have no way to tel which basket she fell into.
My understanding is that there can also be a different classification for admissions vs. financial aid. For example, with respect to admissions University of Chicago and Harvard will treat US resident abroad as international student. MIT and Stanford will look at residency (i.e. JC here but US resident = apply as local/domestic).
How do you know this?
The admission policies are on the websites, usually under International Applicants and then eligibility or FAQ. For admission vs. financial aid, I think I read something a while back that indicated there could be a difference (hence, look at different schools' policies out of interest). Also, I think need based aid = must be US resident as you noted.

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:11 pm

NYY1 wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 8:41 am
Lisafuller wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 12:42 am
Well, so far, only MIT has made the decision to reverse course and require the SAT, so not sure how many will follow suit when the time comes. As for the point about straight gap year VS re applicants, I can only hope that they are looked at equally. At the very least, she wouldn’t be taking a gap year out of desperation but rather out of a genuine wish to improve herself.
I apologize if what I wrote came across the wrong way. This is a brutal process, one that takes both skill and a bit of luck. Just trying to think about some of the gives and takes here even if the child is undoubtedly qualified, would do well in any of the schools, and has a plan to be a stronger applicant the next time through.
No offense taken at all. And you’re exactly right, the process takes a lot more than merit at this point, there are so many applicants that quite a bit of luck is needed as well.

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:11 pm

NYY1 wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:23 am
malcontent wrote:
Sat, 23 Apr 2022 11:24 pm
.....
It did cross my mind to quit my job and “appear poor” while my kids attend college in the US.
.....
Lisafuller wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 12:55 am
I think it’s actually a lot more common than you would think - since they cannot ask you to sell your residence to pay for the college, the only think they can count on are assets and income. If you no longer have an income, your net price to pay goes down significantly.
At one point, people were transferring custody of their kid to a financially less well-off person so the kids could qualify for need based aid. Not sure if this is still allowed, believe it was frowned upon when people figured out what was going on...
Read about that… also saw that some parents were choosing to stay unmarried/get divorced so the finances would be calculated separately.

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:12 pm

Swn4 wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:38 am
NYY1 wrote:
malcontent wrote:
Sat, 23 Apr 2022 11:24 pm
.....
It did cross my mind to quit my job and “appear poor” while my kids attend college in the US.
.....
Lisafuller wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 12:55 am
I think it’s actually a lot more common than you would think - since they cannot ask you to sell your residence to pay for the college, the only think they can count on are assets and income. If you no longer have an income, your net price to pay goes down significantly.
At one point, people were transferring custody of their kid to a financially less well-off person so the kids could qualify for need based aid. Not sure if this is still allowed, believe it was frowned upon when people figured out what was going on...
I’ve heard stories of some kids in the US choosing to become emancipated minors under the law so that their financial aid is calculated with their parents income excluded.


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Wow that’s taking it a little too far. Wouldn’t be surprised though, college tuition is crazy expensive.

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:19 pm

NYY1 wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:07 am
malcontent wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 8:38 am
I have also wondered the same thing. Some US schools seem to lump all “British pattern” education systems together, including Singapore… and with Singapore setting it’s own tougher standards, the same A level result here and other countries with lighter standards could put SIngapore marks at a disadvantage.

Also, the fact that within the Singapore pool of students, to be in the top 10% here means you’d probably be in the top 1% when compared globally. I kind of doubt that translates for many US schools.

If my daughter can’t get into the school she deserves, maybe attending a community college where she could easily knock it out of the park and be in the top 1% might be a way, but the number of transfer students accepted at the most selective schools presents yet another challenge.

One question though, most students applying for the best US schools won’t have their A level results at the time of application. I wonder how much weight is really put on this if not submitted in Feb, or if it’s even necessary. My daughter has exceptionally good grades (triple science and earned A or A+ for all classes) at Secondary… no O level because she is in IP. I have to believe that should count for something.
I don't know as have really just started to think about the next step. For sure, many students here can apply before the A Level results are out. But I don't know how many get accepted via early decision or before the A Level results are released (or just never send the A Level results).

My gut instinct is that many schools will be looking at Upper Sec - JC results, as I believe that's how many students in the US are judged? I.e. there is no one test with purely a quantitative score that sets your place in the queuing system (i.e. PSLE). From what I've read, I think Cambridge, etc are similar in that they will make conditional offers before the A Level results are out, and as long as your scores meet the requirement your offer will be valid (i.e. they were evaluating more than just the A Level result).
Oxbridge/UK schools in general make offers based on predicted grades and prelim results. The former is actually the main focus. Which means yes, they technically do look at more than just the A level results, but at the same time they mostly just look at grades, which is unlike the holistic review done by American colleges.

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:21 pm

Swn4 wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:52 am
Lisafuller wrote:
Swn4 wrote:
Sat, 23 Apr 2022 11:32 pm

According to my American friends who have kids at the International Schools in Singapore - their kids have to compete for an acceptance letter amongst the pool applying from Singapore. And it is tough although not as competitive as applying from China.


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From what I understand, most schools have a quota too fill for international students. It’s definitely easier to apply from the US as a domestic student where the quota is much higher compared to if you were applying from a huge country like China or India, but may be easier applying from a country as small as SG. Although at the end of the day there is no way to know the exact quota, and it’s difficult to assume that it is the same for all countries outside the states.
At Cornell, there were more Raffles/Hwa Chong students attending than there were from entire US states.


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That can’t be true… Cornell has an undergrad pop of 21,000, and only 22% are international. It’s statistically impossible.

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:24 pm

Swn4 wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 10:21 am
Lisafuller wrote:
Swn4 wrote:
Fri, 22 Apr 2022 10:16 am
It is really competitive this year.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/to-get-int ... 1650546000

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Do you think things will ease up next year? Or somehow get even harder?
I don’t think it will improve, it just seems to get harder every year.
My friend’s son who was a top student from Raffles (perfect score) , applied for 2 years while in NS for the top CS programs in the US and got rejected from all of them. It was definitely a blow to him but he is now a 1st year at Oxford and very happy there.


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This seems to be the case, didn’t realize how hard it was to get into American colleges nowadays. Believe the reason why many schools in the UK take so many from SG is because they focus largely on academics, and that is what kids here have. In the US where they focus on extra curriculars, the kids here lose badly.

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:29 pm

NYY1 wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 10:48 am
Swn4 wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 10:21 am
I don’t think it will improve, it just seems to get harder every year.
My friend’s son who was a top student from Raffles (perfect score) , applied for 2 years while in NS for the top CS programs in the US and got rejected from all of them. It was definitely a blow to him but he is now a 1st year at Oxford and very happy there.

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I have always wondered about conditional probability...

I.e. a couple/few JCs/schools here send the most kids in absolute number to certain universities. But all of these schools have boatloads of applicants and many of them meet the cut.

So...assuming I have the entire package (overall grades, extras in my area of interest, CCA, etc), do I have better odds to Uni A if I am coming from a slightly less popular JC?

Not exactly the big fish in small pound argument because the student could have also been a big fish in a bond pond. It's more that when you look the same as everyone else, you are subjected to the random lottery odds because they can only take in so many.

Maybe across Singapore it doesn't really matter. Or all the other JCs are lumped together and there are enough highly qualified students across this group too (not everyone elects to go to a handful of schools even though they can after PSLE) that the odds aren't materially different.
That’s a good question. I think the reason why certain top schools tend to send more students than others is because their schools are regarded as more rigorous/challenging, so an A in those schools is different from an A in other schools.

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:32 pm

NYY1 wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:09 pm
Lisafuller wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:01 pm
NYY1 wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 7:53 am





My understanding is that there can also be a different classification for admissions vs. financial aid. For example, with respect to admissions University of Chicago and Harvard will treat US resident abroad as international student. MIT and Stanford will look at residency (i.e. JC here but US resident = apply as local/domestic).
How do you know this?
The admission policies are on the websites, usually under International Applicants and then eligibility or FAQ. For admission vs. financial aid, I think I read something a while back that indicated there could be a difference (hence, look at different schools' policies out of interest). Also, I think need based aid = must be US resident as you noted.
I see, never picked up on this before. Didn’t think that they would explicitly list the way they sort candidates.

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Any advice on gap years?

Post by Swn4 » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:45 pm

It is true - Cornell no longer publishes student stats by US state so I can’t give you the exact states anymore but…
For fall 2021, only 3% of enrolled students were from the Southwest region of the US (11 states).
Based on undergrad population of 15,500, that is 465. That translates to roughly 116 entering Freshman from 11 states or on average 10.5 freshman per each of these 11 states.
https://www.cornell.edu/about/facts.cfm


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Last edited by Swn4 on Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by malcontent » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 10:31 pm

Lisafuller wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:21 pm
Swn4 wrote:
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:52 am
Lisafuller wrote:
From what I understand, most schools have a quota too fill for international students. It’s definitely easier to apply from the US as a domestic student where the quota is much higher compared to if you were applying from a huge country like China or India, but may be easier applying from a country as small as SG. Although at the end of the day there is no way to know the exact quota, and it’s difficult to assume that it is the same for all countries outside the states.
At Cornell, there were more Raffles/Hwa Chong students attending than there were from entire US states.


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That can’t be true… Cornell has an undergrad pop of 21,000, and only 22% are international. It’s statistically impossible.
I was thinking the same thing and wondering if the correct quote is that more Singaporean students are admitted to Cornell than any single state in the US. That might be possible.
Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it - Niels Bohr

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 25 Apr 2022 2:54 am

At Cornell, there were more Raffles/Hwa Chong students attending than there were from entire US states.
Mal, to me I read it that way as well. "from entire US states" is a bit different that "from THE entire US" entire US states to me means the whole on any state in the union, not all the states combined.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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