(Original post by sarahoo)
Is it at all possible for you to sit the AP exam tests? Even independently? My husband went to Durham after going to high school in the US and they required 3 AP scores from him, he had taken the SAT and subject tests as well... UK schools typically want AP scores as the US diploma is typically pretty easy to get, and like half my graduating class got a 4.0+ (I went to school in the US, too), so they really don't ride on the GPA at all.
You won't need to submit your UCAS app until the middle of January, so there's no rush, but I would take the SAT as soon as possible (and maybe rush scores if you can?) because you may want to take it again. My husband got a 1500 on the old SAT (which i think would equate to a 2250 now?) and five 5's and a 4 on his AP exams which got him into Durham.
For many unis, you can also take the ACT if it turns out you don't test well on the SAT, though you'll still need to take SAT subject tests. I would advise having the tests taken before submitting your ap; however, you can just put that you're taking the exams when you enter qualifications, and they'll set scores as conditional if you haven't already. I think it may be easier to get accepted on current scores than to say "i'm taking these tests eventually," and have them set a bar for you.
Also, as is repeated dozens of times on these forums, your personal statement is SO IMPORTANT.
When you email the unis, let them know you're from the US, taking a gap year, what tests you'll be sitting and your GPA, and ask if they have any advice regarding an application to the degree program you want to study. They'll let you know if they have any.
And the reason you should be looking at the best universities is essentially just 1) you'll get a better education and 2) the degree will have more weight when searching for jobs. Although I have to say, most Americans probably don't know any of the good schools here aside from Oxford/Cambridge and maybe some of the london schools like UCL/LSE, etc. I mean it's the same reason you'd go to an Ivy or Baby Ivy rather than midwestern state uni. People that go to better schools get better educations and better jobs, for hte most part. I mean, there are obvs exceptions, but :I. Still, I'd apply to two great schools, two more realistic schools, and one super easy option, just to be safe.