Tags: UC Berkeley, international
Institution: University of California Berkeley
Study: Major in computer science, minor in data science/electrical engineer/management
High School Experience
My high school was reputed to be one of the best in India, so I really can't complain about the quality of education. However, I wanted to study Computer Science, Economics, Maths, Bio Tech and English, but in my school, you can't study CS unless you are studying Physics, Chemistry, Maths and English. So basically I could only choose one of the 5 subjects I was gonna study in my Junior and Senior year (grade 11 and 12) and that just sucks. Although most schools in India make students choose between a set of 4 subjects (like Physics, chemistry, maths and English to be called a STEM student) and then let them choose any subject as their "fifth subject", my school did let me choose any subject as my fifth subject, I could only choose CS as my fifth subject if I was a STEM student.
I was only interested in studying CS (and maybe a little Bio Tech), but my school forces you to take Bio, Math, Chem, physics and English if you wanna take Bio Tech, and it forces you to take Physics, Chem, Math and English if you wanna take CS.
SAT Physics: 800 SAT Math 2: 800
My entire profile was centered around my passion for CS and I think that is really what got me through my dream colleges. I was in a lot of clubs: I was the president of one (7 years), the Vice President of another (3 years) and that member of two ( 2 years each) I also had a lot of community service and donations to charities. I ran a crowdfunding campaign to collect money for cataract patients who couldn't afford it and I was able to get like enough to sponsor the surgery of more than 100 people.
I've always had a very chilled out relation with all my teachers, so the same goes for those who wrote my recommendations. All of my teachers were extremely sweet and casual with me. Especially my CS teacher who wrote the best recommendation ever.
My entire profile was centered around my love for CS and the same goes for my essays. I can't deny that I also included a lot of my leadership roles in it and some amount of community work that I did.
Essays, test scores
Just focus on the things you're already good at. I knew I could write essays that would impress the admissions officers, and I knew that the ACT and the SAT subjects would be a piece of cake for me. Plus, don't hesitate to cram impressive points into your essays. I didn't hesitate to write about my leadership roles or how hard I worked to collect enough money to sponsor the surgery of more than a 100 poor cataract patients. You just gotta know when you have to be humble and when it's time to brag. Also, don't care too much about one or more places where you're not up to the mark, like I sucked at Physics, but I still made it to my dream college.
Financial issues, international
Berkeley was at the top of the universities I applied to. I have an aunt in California, California has good tech jobs, California's weather is amazing, and California's Mexican food is amazing.