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I'm an undergraduate student in University of Hong Kong directly go for PhD in elite universities in the US without MA degree. I'm wondering if I am aiming too high here.

Double major in Politics and Sociology. Applying for Comparative Politics in Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, Duke, Michigan and Cornell. Major field is discourse analysis in authoritarian regimes.

GPA 3.69/4.3 (we've got very harsh marking system, so this is first honour already); GRE V167, Q165, AW4 (Terrible writing score); TOEFL 119/120.

Working experience: RAship for 2.5 years in HKU, 3 months in LSE, 5 months in Chinese academy of Social Sciences, 3 months in a local Hong Kong think tank. Independent researcher for 40 days in Nepal.

One semester exchange in King's College London.

Reference: one from a tenured professor in LSE; the other two from my undergraduate supervisors, non-tenure but know me really well.

Publications: 'Revise and resubmit' from a peer-reviewed journal, but I did not contribute the manuscript: instead I re-engineered it as my thesis. I highlighted this experience in my SOP

Conference: presented at a low-rank not-famous conference; invited as attendee for a more famous one (but attendee only)

Awards: Undergraduate Awards: Regional winner of Asia; HKU Undergraduate Research Fellowship Programme; 2017 Rhodes Hong Kong finalist; and two other smaller scholarships.


So I am wondering if I am aiming too high here. Lack of an MA degree; undergraduate from an oversea university; shitty GRE writing plus no peer-reviewed publication... I fear that my evaluation of myself was totally wrong, and that I am not competitive for any of the universities I am applying for at all...

Thank you in advance.

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