Hi, I've made many threads on these boards over the past year about college and very soon, I will have to make a final decision. I wanted to apply to the USA but for a few reasons, wasn't able to do my SATs in time. I then decided to do a gap year and focus on a few other activities (mostly related to math and education), smoking the SAT I and II and only then applying for entry in the fall of 2013. Frankly, I'm not certain as to what I should do. I was very attracted to the prospect of studying the States because there seems to be a lot of academic freedom and I could explore all of my academic interests, which include math, physics, neuroscience, economics and the humanities. (classics, literature, history) Germany Pros: - 3-year degree - taught in English (Leipzig) - application is straightforward: no essays, just high school diploma, passport, etc. and you're in. - strong program - the physics BSc includes the same linear algebra, analysis and differential equations modules that math majors take; I have a friend there who is just finishing his degree and he told me he was able to take an additional Galois Theory class! - Max Planck Institutes - will be 22 when I finish the degree, as opposed to 24 in the states* Cons: - only physics for 3 years; will have to self-study other disciplines (but perhaps that's a good thing?) - I don't know much about how the "student life" is there - It looks like there is much, much more going on in college in the States, with REUs, loads of student clubs and many students living in the dorms, while in Germany, it is more typical for students to stay with their parents and only students who come from far away stay in the dorms - not sure about grad school in the States; I've seen scary things on physicsgre.com, where foreigners with great profiles not being accepted to most places they applied to - usually, the successful applicants have already done a diplom or MSc and if I stay for another 2 years in Germany without any funding, I would more than just stretch my budget. *If I go this year, I will be 19 when I start and should be finishing within 3 years. --- The other concern is, it may happen that I take the gap year, do very well on the SATs and all exams, have a very good profile and I still don't get enough financial aid/scholarship from the colleges I applied to. I intend on applying to 20-25 of them (in case I don't apply to Germany), ranging from the likes of MIT to Berea, passing through liberal arts colleges like Reed and Vassar. I understand that these schools are hard to get in but they're the ones who offer full-need to internationals they accept. (and yes, they are need-aware when reviewing applications) In that case, it won't be because I suck but because I was unlucky and most people don't get lucky! I also don't know if I have too much of a romanticised view of what studying+living in the States is like. I grew up with TV and all I know about what living there could be like is based on that and what I read on the internet. For what it's worth, I like everything ranging from the carefully designed roads (everything is FLAT, dammit!) where I could skate without much fear and the gigs and cute Japanese girls in mini-shorts. But hey, for all I know, living in Leipzig might be as cool as - but in a different way - living in Boston or NYC. What do you suggest? Up until today, I was set on taking the gap year and applying to college at the end of the year but my dad thinks I'd be better off applying to Germany now and start my degree this year. He isn't putting any pressure on me but I can see where he's coming from, seeing that he got his Physics BSc at 26-27.