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View Poll Results: Which country would you as an 18 year old fluent in EN and FR study in ?
Switzerland 18 27.69%
United States 26 40.00%
United Kingdom 15 23.08%
Others 6 9.23%
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  #81  
Old 07.06.2011, 14:40
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

Thank you for all your replies! I have had to take some time to process all of this. One observation that jumps out at me is that this discussion highlights some of the differences I've observed in primaire/college (elementary/middle school) vs. their equivalents in the U.S.

I sometimes feel that Swiss public schooling is strong specifically in the areas American schooling has been weak, and vice versa. In liberal public schooling in the U.S., my children have learned to think critically, understand different points of view, be dramatic, and express themselves creatively. In Switzerland, they are learning to be organized, neat and precise; follow directions; take tests; memorize; measure and quantify. All put together, an excellent education!

I am grateful for your input as I sift through all the different possibilities for my child (and children). College is still down the road for us, but I am trying to answer for myself how to best prepare him (them) and how living in Switzerland now will affect their options down the road.

The points raised about the role of geography have been helpful in thinking it all through. You have also helped me recognize that I may have children spread between different countries/continents. I like your confidence in letting the children identify their choices and fly where they want to go.

Question:

If we are really going to be here for the long term, it does sound as though getting to the top U.S. schools might be more challenging applying as a Swiss, rather than a U.S. student?
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  #82  
Old 07.06.2011, 15:17
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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If we are really going to be here for the long term, it does sound as though getting to the top U.S. schools might be more challenging applying as a Swiss, rather than a U.S. student?
If your kids are US citizens, no. If not, getting a student visa is generally a lot easier than getting a work visa or green card. Once you have some universities in mind, contact their admissions office as they will have handled this many times and can give you much better advice. Also, if you're talking private universities, they generally don't have any tuition difference for residents versus non-residents, unlike state universities.
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  #83  
Old 07.06.2011, 15:55
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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If we are really going to be here for the long term, it does sound as though getting to the top U.S. schools might be more challenging applying as a Swiss, rather than a U.S. student?
I would say this is generally true, but that's a simplistic view.

I hold admissions interviews for my US university here in Zurich. I have several students a year that I interview. Despite the often positive reviews that I give the students, none of them have gotten in. My university was pretty generous with its international students, but no more than 100 were accepted per year. This was for students that had no US passport at all, versus those that simply went to an international school but counted as "domestic" students.

What I have seen successfully work for people who want to go to US university, but don't have the passport is to do an exchange year at an American High School for the 12th grade and graduate with the class. They then have an American high school diploma, which many universities will gladly take.

What you can do if your child has an American passport is "homeschool" them while they attend a local school. There are many umbrella schools that you can contact that would allow your child to be enrolled in the school if you follow the curriculum. While it seems impractical to have your child go to double schooling, there IS a fair amount of overlap and if your child is able to go to a top US school, then it's not a massively difficult task to finish an American high school diploma (and no, I'm not talking about a GED, but a full, normal degree). However, an IB diploma is technically supposed to replace this double diploma business, but the IB diploma isn't available at all schools.

I've seen all of these things work for my classmates at university, so they are legitimate methods that may help out.

But honestly, what I tell students who are around 14 or so and slowly thinking about college, find something you are passionate about. Dedicate your time to it. Become a leader in that one thing. Do the best you can. That passion and dedication is what a lot of schools look for (other than the obvious academic qualifications).
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  #84  
Old 07.06.2011, 16:07
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

If you are a U.S. citizen, check. And soon to be an EU citizen, too. But will Swiss public schooling be seen favorably enough by U.S. universities? Right now my child is a strong writer, in English. I don't know what he will look like with another couple of years here. We do like the public schools and wouldn't want to make the switch, as it is so nice to be part of the local community and the education is overall quite good.
But I have been assuming that Swiss public schooling means Swiss universities afterwards. If my child were to decide to attend a North American university, as many of you have suggested might be a good strategy, will Swiss public schools put him on a path that would hinder that possibility?
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  #85  
Old 07.06.2011, 16:15
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

A lot of American universities simply don't understand the Swiss system. The matura process is foreign (obviously) and different from the US by a fair bit. The grading system is also different. The universities have worries about quality control as well. They might figure out what these things mean and how they equate, but it's not guaranteed that they will.

If you do just stick with local Swiss schools and do Gymi and everything, when applying make it REALLY explicit how the Swiss system works and what the grades REALLY mean and what the American equivalent is. US universities put a lot of weight on transcripts, so make sure you have one and that it's translated well. I get it all the time that people from local schools when applying to my old Alma Mater don't know really what to do with the transcript. You can find example ones on the internet. If possible, ask the school to send a similar document. It may be complicated, but the Swiss system isn't really designed to feed into the US system.

P.S. When I say that it's complicated, doesn't mean that it's impossible, just rarer. Plus a lot of universities have a year or semester abroad. That's always something to consider.
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  #86  
Old 07.06.2011, 16:24
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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A lot of American universities simply don't understand the Swiss system. The matura process is foreign (obviously) and different from the US by a fair bit. The grading system is also different. The universities have worries about quality control as well. They might figure out what these things mean and how they equate, but it's not guaranteed that they will.

If you do just stick with local Swiss schools and do Gymi and everything, when applying make it REALLY explicit how the Swiss system works and what the grades REALLY mean and what the American equivalent is. US universities put a lot of weight on transcripts, so make sure you have one and that it's translated well. I get it all the time that people from local schools when applying to my old Alma Mater don't know really what to do with the transcript. You can find example ones on the internet. If possible, ask the school to send a similar document. It may be complicated, but the Swiss system isn't really designed to feed into the US system.

P.S. When I say that it's complicated, doesn't mean that it's impossible, just rarer. Plus a lot of universities have a year or semester abroad. That's always something to consider.
Just as a comment to this, it's good to be aware of the complications but don't let it put you off. There are a lot of foreign students doing undergraduate work in the US. As is often the case in the US: "money talks". A good university, especially a top one, will have plenty of experience with this. The only time things get a bit dodgy is when they are trying to evaluate someone from a country that doesn't often send students there. It's likely that you will have to send your child's transcript out to be translated and evaluated by a third party (there are services in the US that do this).
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  #87  
Old 07.06.2011, 17:57
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

US universities welcome foreign students. A high percentage of foreign students often acts as a selling point. On top of that foreign students are FAFSA/loan complication fee. Foreign students may provide an in-road to future study abroad programs oract to strengthen links. Many of the top universities (State and Private) have departments that deal specifically with foreign students. They also have a strong Alumni body, one of whom may be called upon to interview the student in their home country.

This is for a Public Ivy ( Penn State)

Out of state tuition costs:

FALL
Tuition: $9,074
Activity Fee: $74
Information Technology Fee: $236
Facility Fee: $104
Total: $ 9548 per semester

additionally there are living costs food plan etc. food plan is just under $1300 and housing in a double about $2000.

So about 16,000 with books then you must add flights.

http://global.psu.edu/International_Students/
http://www.outreach.psu.edu/summerab...y-switzerland/

Then there is MIT ( private/ elite not Ivy)

NDERGRADUATE TUITION AND LIVING EXPENSES

Nine months' tuition and fees for 2010–2011 is $39,212. Additionally, undergraduate room and board is approximately $11,234, dependent on the student's housing and dining arrangements. Books and personal expenses are about $2,764.

I would estimate at least $60,000 per year when you include flights.

Loans and scholarships are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. In addition many parents may have lost out on investments that they hoped would pay for children's college. Due to the large difference in costs, many students opt for the Public Ivies. The result is that the acceptance rates are comparable if not lower for the Public Ivies.

P.s. Basically if your child has the grades and money to pay for a private elite- the private colleges will be vying for your business. It is not always the brightest but those who have the money that get into the private elites- think George Bush and Yale. I would opt for a State Ivy.
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  #88  
Old 07.06.2011, 18:28
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

You've probably already seen this bu there it is just in case:

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Study in the U.S.

Undergraduate Study

What Qualifications Do You Need?
Swiss students may be concerned about the interpretation of their educational credentials since Switzerland's secondary school system and grading scale are very different from the educational system in the US
http://bern.usembassy.gov/qualifications.html
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  #89  
Old 07.06.2011, 20:52
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

I've heard there is a thing about history too... High school graduates going to the US must have had american history in high school and all three sciences in order to apply to many science/ingenering study sections. Myth or reality?
I had once a student who applied to the US, but I just signed what he needed without asking about the details
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Old 07.06.2011, 21:29
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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I've heard there is a thing about history too... High school graduates going to the US must have had american history in high school and all three sciences in order to apply to many science/ingenering study sections. Myth or reality?
I had once a student who applied to the US, but I just signed what he needed without asking about the details
I think it's going to depend on the school. If you're a promising, interesting student, you often have time to make up any deficits. US history is a requirement for graduation from a US high school - I don't think many science, engineering programs give a rat's behind about it. As for the science requirement - I'm not sure - it depends on the school.

I was a chemisty major as an undergrad - granted, I went to uni many years ago, but I did a stint as an organic chemisty lab TA for undergrads when I was a senior. I got to grade their lab notebooks. Forget history, these guys needed a course in basic writing.
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  #91  
Old 07.06.2011, 21:57
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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I've heard there is a thing about history too... High school graduates going to the US must have had american history in high school and all three sciences in order to apply to many science/ingenering study sections. Myth or reality?
I had once a student who applied to the US, but I just signed what he needed without asking about the details
I've never heard of a specific requirement for US history. I checked my university and there's no mention of that , just 'sufficient academic rigor' (No taking 'underwater basketweaving' and 'advanced surfing', as we say). Usually, it's just a matter of having so many 'units' of science, so many of English, so many of math, etc. International students are also required to take the TOEFL exam (test of english as a foreign language), along with either the SAT or the GMAT (the SAT is more common). International baccalaureate programs are often a good bet but not required I don't think.
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Old 07.06.2011, 22:00
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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american history
Wouldn't take very much effort to catch up, surely?
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  #93  
Old 07.06.2011, 22:09
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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Wouldn't take very much effort to catch up, surely?

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  #94  
Old 07.06.2011, 22:26
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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Wouldn't take very much effort to catch up, surely?
It's easier when you aren't having some new battle or plague every other Thursday for a couple of thousand years.

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Old 07.06.2011, 22:36
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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I've heard there is a thing about history too... High school graduates going to the US must have had american history in high school and all three sciences in order to apply to many science/ingenering study sections. Myth or reality?
I had once a student who applied to the US, but I just signed what he needed without asking about the details
These types of subjects could be required as SAT II's which are subject specific. Students aspiring to gain admission to more exclusive universities will often follow up with the SAT's with SAT II in the subjects. For less selective universities it really does not matter. For them SAT's or ACT's will suffice.

When I came to the states I was put into the Junionr year of HS because the school made me redo all 4 years of english, all US history/government requirements and some sciences again. Not exactly ideal but as previously mentioned the school officials did not understand the Swiss school system.
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  #96  
Old 07.06.2011, 22:50
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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When I came to the states I was put into the Junionr year of HS because the school made me redo all 4 years of english, all US history/government requirements and some sciences again. Not exactly ideal but as previously mentioned the school officials did not understand the Swiss school system.
If you were graduating from a US high school, then you were satisfying their graduation requirements. Those requirements are not the same for a foriegn student to get into a US college. School districts generally don't have the resources to evaluate foreign transcripts.
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  #97  
Old 08.06.2011, 08:13
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

Back in the day (late '70s) when I went to university in the US, you didn't actually need a high-school diploma to get into university, just high enough SAT and AP scores. This I know as I considered skipping my Senior year of HS, and had discussed it with my advisors (as they had no more math or science courses to offer me), but in the end I ended up do math courses at the local university during my senior year.

And this was BEFORE I took US history.

I also never took biology.

Tom
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Old 08.06.2011, 10:49
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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Back in the day (late '70s) when I went to university in the US, you didn't actually need a high-school diploma to get into university, just high enough SAT and AP scores.
Schools like MIT don't actually require a high school diploma, they just recommend it.

But here's the very helpful admissions info just for the international students who are interested in MIT. There is no mention of requiring US History. They just want 2 years of history.

Also, they do give financial aid for international students. You don't necessarily qualify for EVERY type of financial aid, but if you get into a good school, they do try and help and make sure that you can actually afford to go to the school, no matter where you are from.
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Old 08.06.2011, 13:04
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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Schools like MIT don't actually require a high school diploma, they just recommend it.
Well, first of all

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Secondary School Report Form - This form, which includes your school transcript, is to be completed by a guidance counselor or principal/headmaster. If your school offers predicted grades for the IB or A Levels, this should be included in the Secondary School Report Form. It is your responsibility to provide us with an official English translation of any letters or transcripts not written in English, in addition to the original untranslated document.
Ok, that doesn't actually say 'diploma' anywhere but I can guarantee you that if you don't finish secondary/high school, the admissions officers will consider you likely unable or unwilling to finish what you start. They are very protective of their reputation and if they started letting people in and those people never finished and started calling themselves MIT graduates, then soon it wouldn't have the same cachet that it does now. I would say it's more than a 'recommendation'. It also used to be the case that US high school seniors, after getting into college, would often relax after getting their acceptance letters in at the start of their last semester, with predictible results on their grades. Universities got wise to this (finally) and began sending out acceptances 'conditional on sucessful completion'. That is, if you were an A-student and, in your last semester, you suddenly started getting C's or D's or F's in your classes, they could recind your acceptance. Why? Two reasons. First, you might fail to complete your degree because you didn't care anymore. Second, you might have reached the peak of your abilities at that point. Given the stiff competition to get into good universities, one would be a fool not to have completed their secondary education. It's even harder for international students, viz

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International admission to MIT is very competitive. There are many more qualified international students who apply than there are available spaces in the class. Each year, more than 3,000 international students apply, and approximately 100 are admitted.
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Old 08.06.2011, 13:38
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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I also never took biology.
Tom
Me either. Lots of chemistry, earth science, physics, math but not bio. I only took a year of it in college because they made me take it to graduate. I'd have gladly taken another science or math sequence.
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