View Full Version : Older student (A levels) considering top 50

11-05-2009, 03:27 PM

I am 27 years old now and considering USA schools in the top 50 but not sure about my chances and feasibility. I don't have a particular list at the moment but I do accept that it would be difficult to consider those at IVY or MIT / caltech standards.

Some schools I am interested in are the likes of Northwestern, U chicago, Umich - Ann Arbour, UC's et al. I am still weighing the pros and cons of re-entering student life again due to the obvious sacrifices I'd make in my career - but the opportunity and experience at a "premier" school would justify it for me and also provide the chance to carve out an alternate career path.

A little on my backstory, I did a few months of NUS law school before dropping out to start work due to financial reasons - I have done pretty well and went on to become a broker (for the money basically) but still feel compelled to finish up my uni education to feel more complete. For the record, I do well in my job which pays well and all, but its something I can't imagine doing for the next 15 years. My interests are also wide ranging but are probably more arts based - and these range from subjects relating to public policy, politics, sociology, women's studies, philosophy and even up to branches of austrian economics. I do intend to eventually move on to a research based career.

Grades wise my results are average and not arts based at all - I was in the engine fac in JC years back :o I also didn't take S papers then.

I understand that the personal statements and recommendations, apart from the Alevels/SATs are crucial to acceptance. The admissions model however seem unpredictable at best and I feel further clouded as working the past few years has desensitized me towards the ongoings and development of the educational environment.

Some doubts which I have since doing some research, mainly pertain to the fact that the local education system seems to have evolved quite abit and some of my teachers have already since retired. I do think it can be a little tricky revisiting my alma maters to fish out the relevant material required for my applications.

I also feel a little out of touch as well and have not seriously looked at SAT exams even. I don't know if I even remember any of my F maths calculus at this point of time.

So, to sum it up really, my main question is how realistic are my chances in applying to top US schools and what schools in particular would you guys recommend that I would have realistic chances for.

I am still in the process of shortlisting - of course I'd love to attend Harvard or Princeton or Yale but these might be a little too far reaching at this point of time. Any recommendations for mid to realistic reach schools would be highly appreciated :)

Sorry this turned out so long... I'd be very grateful if anyone can give me some feedback.

11-05-2009, 08:47 PM
if you can enter NUS law your grades must be decent. my gut feel:

umich, ucla - good chance
northwestern, chicago, berkeley - still worth a try

you don't need calculus to do well in SAT. SAT math is almost like olevel standards.

if you can't get any of the necessary documents, just explain to the uni about your circumstances. they might understand your situation. US schools are much more welcoming of students from non-standard background like yours. with regards to teacher recommendations, you can consider sending in recommendations from other people, eg employer, or from any other organisation that you might be involved in, eg volunteer groups.

11-05-2009, 08:51 PM
Maybe you could try the School of General Studies at Columbia University? It's meant for returning, nontraditional students like you.

More information here: http://www.gs.columbia.edu/

11-13-2009, 04:15 PM
Thanks for the info :)

I actually looked up the non traditional route thanks to your post and I realised my options are actually more expansive that I thought...

I'll just list the schools that have special considerations for students such as me below - which takes into account other factors as opposed to regular kids who are just out of high school - SATs for instance are not required in most circumstances.

These schools are also pretty different from the likes of Harvard's extension program and you get the choice of having the regular college experience together with other regular students.

To sum up from what I've read so far, the Yale and Brown options are exceptionally competitive though, with Yale being the hardest - My impression is that you'd probably require "olympic athlete", "prominent activist/lobbyist" "rock star" "ex Lehmann CEO" on your resume, Brown is a little less selective but still requires a somewhat stellar application. The other schools though are surprisingly within reach for regular human beings like me.

Several notable options:
1. Yale
2. Brown
3. Upenn
4. Columbia
5. Northwestern

I'll be looking further in the the state schools as well and post back on my research e.g. UC's and Umich. Some other schools which seem to have positive info as well for non trads are John Hopkins and Carnegie Mellon.

So far, I'm a little apprehensive of uni's which are too cold winter wise =X I've been to Milwaukee where it did at parts live up to its "colder than moscow" reputation (not that I've been to moscow).