Pakistani Accepted to nearly All Top Graduate Schools in US
After getting done with the grueling admissions process at the Top 10 US universities later last year, Fatima would have thought that her work was done. However in the next few weeks or so, Fatima must work even harder in trying to make a tough decision: Which of Harvard, Cornell, Columbia, Duke, Stanford, UPenn, Georgetown should she attend this fall (2015)? (By the way she is also awaiting a decision from Oxford.)
For Fatima, the acceptances started coming in over the past few weeks, and by end of last week she had been accepted to almost every single graduate school she had applied to. With funding of up to nearly $50,000 she most probably will not even have to pay anything for her education. Many programs are holding a spot for her and she is in the process of negotiating scholarships and financial aid packages with these programs. Fatima is in an extremely advantageous position since she can easily get the best financial aid and scholarship packages from at least one of these schools.
With acceptance rates of between 5%-10% for nearly all of these programs, this achievement is extremely rare for a Pakistani applicant given that only a handful of students from Pakistan make to even one of such programs every year.
For Fatima, many things have worked favorably for her – she’s a young woman from Pakistan and admissions committee’s in US these days admire female applicants from developing countries. Not to take anything away from her, she had a GRE score in the top 95 percentile of global test takers and had two years of full-time work experience in the public sector. Moreover she is already a graduate of one of the top 5 programs in Pakistan where she stood among the best of her class. Not only did she write awe-inspiring essays and get recommendation letters from top government and public figures, she has also been working in remote areas of Pakistan for over two years; under various government and non-profit divisions, her work spanned from water purification projects to improving quality of life for the general public. She wants to pursue public policy and also wanted to apply for the Fulbright but she will definitely not need to.
For those of you still in the process of applying, essays are not the first things looked at in the evaluation process. Instead, the standardized scores, transcripts, your background, your undergraduate program and courses do. Without decent numbers, you will not go much far in your applications. On the contrary, just having a great GPA, GRE etc. is just the start of getting in to top programs. Almost everyone who applies to such elite programs has strong credentials, and some are nearly perfect. But they still don’t get in. This is because grades only predict academic potential but not your practical potential; the ability to bring words and actions to come in to play. Again, as always, my advice is – make a well-rounded application.