I'm an international student based in New Zealand and I've just finished my first year of my Bsc Double Major in Physics and Maths. I managed to get a GPA of 3.35 and a Major GPA of 3.6 which wasn't what I was aiming for but I put a lot of effort in achieve it. I learnt a lot this year and I'd expect I could possibly get a higher GPA next year as I've learnt a lot about learning... these past few months. I managed to get into my school's Scholars program which will allow me to do a Research project in my 3rd year (The degree is 3 years long).
I've been looking at the past performance of people who have made it in to Post Graduate programs in the US. To get accepted into a program and get tution paid for as an International student seesms like a very hard mark to hit. I think I could possibly raise by GPA to an A- average over the next 2 years which would settle my US GPA around 3.7. It also seems like the PGRE test for an International student can be no less than 850 as well.
I know that doing as much relevant research as you can is recommeded and I will be looking to do exactly that going ahead. It is still early days but I'm just planning ahead and trying to set realistic benchmarks early. I really enjoy theory work in the pure maths papers I've taken but I really haven't done enough Physics and Maths to really decide where to specialise and I'm just taking a broad range of papers at this time (Definitely leaning towards doing a Physics post graduate degree at this stage). I'm not looking at getting into top 10 schools as I don't think I really have the potential to meet the GPA requirements (I will go if given the oppurtunity ofcourse).
How realistic are my goals here? Is there a general benchmark that international students need to hit to get considered for paid tuition? I'd imagine it depends on the University I'm applying for but if there are any further words of wisdom you could offer I'd appreciate it .