Ivy League Applications

Hello I am a senior in the middle east. I have decided that to apply to Ivy League schools (Harvard) and there a couple of questions I would like to ask.

  1. Does my location (Kurdistan) affect my chances?
  2. Do I have to do SAT 1 with essay?
  3. Finally, another student from my class is applying to the same universities (Ivy League), and I want to know if you can give me an estimate of who has better chances of getting in.

I have a GPA of 3.90 (aiming for 3.93) and have had straight A's for almost all classes I took in High School (except for English as First Language because its my second language). I have an SAT 1 of 1350 but I am doing it again with the essay and I am aiming for 1450 above. I have ALOT of extracurriculars (not the ones everyone does).

However, as far as I know he has a GPA of 3.82 and SAT 1 of 1340 and he isn't planning to do it again. He has almost no extracurriculars. The only difference we have is that he has more A+s than me in the past two years. Our school doesn't differentiate between As and A+s on the GPA but I'm still worried. Furthermore we both take the same classes and have the same SAT 2s (750-800) but I have taken the SAT Math 2 which he hasn't.

I know I might sound crazy and envious but I'm not; the problem is that my teachers, principals, and counsellor are helping with the application (they convinced him to apply) and that really annoys me. They even tried to convince to not apply to the universities he was applying to. They wouldn't even check my application essay but made his look much better.

  1. Short answer: probably not at the application stage. The biggest impact your location is likely to have would be on your chances of financial aid - it's usually more difficult and complicated for international students to get scholarships and loans to study in the US than it would be for US students. Your applying from a location where not that many students apply from could be a plus (since Harvard, like many selective schools, likes to have as diverse a class of incoming students as possible); however, this potential advantage may be canceled out by the fact that international GPAs and US GPAs aren't always equivalent.
  2. Yes, you need to take the SAT with essay for Harvard.
  3. It's difficult to say who has the better chances. A higher GPA and a higher SAT score is definitely a positive thing, but just participating in more extracurriculars doesn't automatically give you an advantage over someone who participated in almost none; it depends on what the activities are, what your role was, and if they help tell a story about you as a person.

If you haven't already, I'd highly recommend reading this article on how to get into Harvard and the Ivy League, which demystifies the process.