I can easily see why the AP exams are more valued than the SAT II tests. The questions in the AP exams seem quite comparable to those in my recent AS Level modules. I must admit that upon discovering the SAT II tests, my faith in the American education declined considerably but I would like to thank you for restoring my confidence! Which subjects are you sitting APs/SAT IIs in?
In any case, I can't say I really have my heart set on attending university in America; I quite simply want to get a good education for as cheap as possible! As a result, if I were to apply to a reputable American college and were fortunate enough to receive a full scholarship as well as financial aid for room and board etc., I'd be rather inclined to go there. In short, it's highly probable I'll end up studying in the United Kingdom but I felt it was worthwhile investigating the options as an international student.
At the time I thought that SAT IIs entailed quite a bit of work (as opposed to multiple choice questions that remind me of driving theory tests), I was disinclined to contact colleges requiring them so I wrote to a few such as Bard and Mount Holyoke.
Bard were really helpful but said that their financial aid to international students is typically $20,000 out of the full cost of attending, leaving $25,000 per year for tuition, room and board. Obviously, this isn't really worth it but the admissions secretary who replied to my e-mail mentioned a few small liberal arts colleges that offer substantial financial aid to international students. I've yet to discover which colleges these actually are but, when I do, I shall consider making an application to them.
Bowdoin said that they receive over 400 applications from international students requesting financial assistance but offer full need-based scholarships to usually only 4 or 5.
For some reason, I think there are probably applicants from other countries who are probably in need of financial assistance to meet the massive costs more than I am. I thought they were quite cool for offering a Gay and Lesbian Studies major. I'm all about doing a "conversation starter" degree.
I shall graduate a British university with approximately £33,500 ($63,400) worth of debt (though it is worth noting that £12,000 of this will be top-up tuition fees). If I happen upon an excellent university - either here or in the United States - where it would be remarkably cheaper to attend, I would consider it long and hard. I just really want to go to a good university and it'd be a bonus if I could somehow minimise the debt too! (I want to eventually get a doctorate as well, which, unless I somehow receive sponsorship, would mean even more debt!)
I have silly Sylvia Plath/Mona Lisa Smile
pretensions of being an empowered feminist, majoring in Women's Studies (or, if I were feeling especially avant garde, Gender Studies) and wearing thick-rimmed black glasses at somewhere like Smith, Wellesley, Middlebury, Williams, Amherst... In reality, I'm going to end up as a boring History & Politics student somewhere in the UK, probably partaking in binge drinking, staying up all night to finish essays at the last minute and sleeping through lectures.
In short, my latest American infatuation is just a way to pass the time since I've pretty much decided on the six universities I want to apply to here.