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Information request about universities in the US for foreign students
Dear members of the DML
Although I've read the mailing list for quite some years now (using an
old e-mail address), I've never send a message to the list. Probably
because I am not a palaeontologist, or not (yet) even a college
Since the 7th grade, I've deeply wanted to become a palaeontologist.
Although my family always thought this would be something temporary,
now, at the beginning of the 12th grade, my dream hasn't changed. Last
week, I've made my family clear that this is something I want to do
more than anything.
All these years, I've been working towards this. I have used all
resources, especially the How To Become A Paleontologist-FAQ. Thanks
to the FAQ, I've been able to prepare myself.
Let me (not briefly enough) introduce myself:
My name is Michiel Pillet. I live in Landen, Belgium (Western-Europe),
where we speak Dutch. I am 17 years old. My parents are divorced. We
are a middle-class family. My hobbies are: dinosaurs and other extinct
animals, collecting cacti and breeding exotic animals like reptiles,
African beetles, millipedes, praying mantises, scorpions, nature in
general, sciences and computers.
Before I write how I do at school, here's some information about our
Belgian school system. At the age of 3, you start your first (three in
al) year of nursery school, which is not compulsory. After this, six
compulsory years of elementary school follow. After finishing
elementary school, you go to high school. In high school, each year,
you have to choose a "direction", a package of compulsory courses.
Electives are highly unusual.
In my first year, I chose Latin. In my second year Latin-Greek. In my
third and fourth years Latin-Maths. In my fifth and sixth year I
studied/am studying Sciences-Maths. I have the maximum amount of
sciences and maths:
* Mathematics: 7 hrs/week.
* Chemistry: 2 hrs/week.
* Biology: 2 hrs/week.
* Scientific work (laboratory): 2 hrs/week.
* Physics: 2 hrs/week.
* Geography: 2 hrs/week.
We have three compulsory languages: Dutch, English and French. The
rest of the curriculum consists of history, religion and physical
We do not follow the letter-grading system. We get 3 reports a year
and 2 big examination periods. On each report, each course gets rated
with a number (maximum is ten). After each examination period, we get
a general report, with each course getting a number (maximum 100).
My overall grade average of the past 6 years is 90%.
I have taken two years of art school. I have won two spelling
competitions and a writing competition. This year the international
science Olympiads take place. Of course, I am planning to compete. I
also take sports as seriously as possible: currently I play badminton
and before that I was into soccer (for several years).
I've also made sure to be socially engaged. I am the president of our
school's student council, am responsible for both my class and form,
am a member of our city's youth council and have been appointed to
organize X-mos (the official school party of the seniors).
So, I want to study palaeontology in the United States. As a
foreigner, it'll be difficult to get into an American institution. To
have greater chances, I want to apply to as much as universities as
My request is to help me find universities with undergraduate
I've already found the University of Pennsylvania (just contacted Dhr.
Peter Dodson) and the Indiana/Purdue University at Fort Wayne via the
What other universities have an undergraduate palaeontology program?
Could you also please add to what extent these universities accept
foreign students and have scholarships available? At these
institutions, are there persons whom I can contact privately?
Thank you for your time and consideration.