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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 12:52 am

NYY1 wrote:
Sat, 23 Apr 2022 5:01 pm
BBCDoc wrote:
Sat, 23 Apr 2022 4:34 pm
Presume they charge International Students a lot more. In some murky areas, perhaps they are less likely to fail too…

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Yes, definitely charge more. However, I think this also exists within the domestic/local students. The high "sticker price" of US university admission is basically a transfer payment; those that can pay do, and this is used to subsidize grants to those who cannot pay.

Perhaps a noble objective until it is abused by society or creates the pervasive incentive of spending every dime you have waiting for others to pick up the tab...

Regardless, I am mainly interested in Bucket A vs. Bucket B as it pertains to admissions odds...
You’re exactly right, the sticker price is shocking but hardly anyone pays full price. It’s those who make high 6-7 figures that pay the full price, most “normal” families don’t nearly pay that much.

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 12:55 am

malcontent wrote:
Sat, 23 Apr 2022 11:24 pm
NYY1 wrote:
Sat, 23 Apr 2022 5:01 pm
Perhaps a noble objective until it is abused by society or creates the pervasive incentive of spending every dime you have waiting for others to pick up the tab...
Be careful, that is heresy to the liberal left!

*gasp* where is your privilege guilt?

LOL… that is the world we live it today.

It did cross my mind to quit my job and “appear poor” while my kids attend college in the US.

It’s the same way in US hospitals, everyone who can afford it, they pay through the nose to subsidize those who can’t. Although I wouldn’t advocate going to the extreme like here, demanding money upfront or letting you die.
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.

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 12:59 am

Swn4 wrote:
Sat, 23 Apr 2022 11:32 pm
NYY1 wrote:BTW, I noticed that some universities classify international students differently. Option one is international = based on where you went to school. Option two is international = not holding US residency.

Obviously your residency is what it is, and at any particular school you can only apply under whatever rules it has. However, any thoughts on what bucket is preferred? Or doesn't really matter (i.e. just apply for the schools you want most regardless of how they classify you).
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.

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 1:01 am

malcontent wrote:
Sat, 23 Apr 2022 11:40 pm
Swn4 wrote:
Sat, 23 Apr 2022 11:32 pm
NYY1 wrote:BTW, I noticed that some universities classify international students differently. Option one is international = based on where you went to school. Option two is international = not holding US residency.

Obviously your residency is what it is, and at any particular school you can only apply under whatever rules it has. However, any thoughts on what bucket is preferred? Or doesn't really matter (i.e. just apply for the schools you want most regardless of how they classify you).
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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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.
Exactly what I thought with my daughter - US citizen in a top local school. But now having gone through the process I can say it’s not as easy as it seems. If your son has the opportunity to finish his schooling in the US, it would probably better to let him do that.

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 1:02 am

Swn4 wrote:
Sat, 23 Apr 2022 11:43 pm
malcontent 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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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.
Their complaint is that Raffles & Hwa Chong get more admits (accurate) than say SAS would get.


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It’s probably true… there was one year where 90 Raffles kids were admitted to Cornell.

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by malcontent » 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.
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 NYY1 » 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).

I would think very likely there is some (soft) "quota" for Singapore students as a whole and then within each school (+/-) depending on the year. If you take IB, the IB score itself should transfer cleanly and be well understood. 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?

Undoubtedly, the schools that get a lot of applications from certain JCs here understand the system. But that is someone in the international division reviewing the application.

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by malcontent » 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.
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 NYY1 » 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.

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by NYY1 » 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).

I have also wondered whether there is a disconnect between the annual promotion criteria of some schools and your complete transcript/what may be looked at by some US universities? I.e. I believe many schools here do not require you to put all of your classes/subjects in the annual GPA or MSG calculation and instead require something like L2R5. So if you take a lot of classes due to a) interest or b) just try out even if stretched because you know the lower scoring ones won't hit the calculation, that is good from a general learning and expanding oneself perspective. But does it look poorly if you blew-up on a class or two when someone in the U.S. reviews your transcript (if classified as local/domestic)? Most US kids will have very strong marks across the board, although the content standards may have been lower.

As for community college if one can't get what they are hoping for, my current belief is that I will suggest my child accept whatever they have and intend to finish out four years there. I think there is just so much more to do in uni life than worrying about moving house in a year or two. Add in that the transfer odds probably aren't great anyways, and I'm not sure thinking about it will put one in the best mindset. At some point, we need to be content with what we have, make the best out of it, and fight hard for the next round (which is a job for many). Of course, I think this is easier to type now than if my child is actually faced with this decision (i.e. not accepted to the schools he/she wanted most)...

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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by NYY1 » 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...

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Any advice on gap years?

Post by Swn4 » 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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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by Swn4 » Sun, 24 Apr 2022 9:52 am

Lisafuller wrote:
Swn4 wrote:
Sat, 23 Apr 2022 11:32 pm
NYY1 wrote:BTW, I noticed that some universities classify international students differently. Option one is international = based on where you went to school. Option two is international = not holding US residency.

Obviously your residency is what it is, and at any particular school you can only apply under whatever rules it has. However, any thoughts on what bucket is preferred? Or doesn't really matter (i.e. just apply for the schools you want most regardless of how they classify you).
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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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by Swn4 » 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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Re: Any advice on gap years?

Post by NYY1 » 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.

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