I am currently a high school student (in my final year) in South Africa. I am passionate about physics, and can frankly see myself following no other career path. Ultimately it is my goal to become a theoretical high energy physicist. (And then unify quantum mechanics with general relativity. And then win the Nobel prize. Hey, a guy can dream, right?) At any rate, I suspect that my infinitisimal chances of achieving the above goals might be improved somewhat if I managed to get into a world-class university. I have heard that the actual coursework is similar at most institutions, but I am also looking for stimulation from professors and peers as well as prestige, opportunities etc. I understand that admissions at US universities are extremelly competitive (especially for international students), so essentially I need to know if (a) I have any hope of getting in and (b) if so, which universities I should apply for. I'm aiming for MIT/Caltech/Harvard/ Princeton if at all possible. (Hey, a guy can dream, right?) So, here's my CV: (Not sure how relevant everything is; I hear prospective universities look at personality and extracurriculars as well.) My average marks are as follows: Physics, Mathematics, Biology, Accounting: High 90's, the occasional 100. Geography, English and Afrikaans (a South African language): High 80's, the occasional 90. From what I understand of the American grading system, I have a 4.0 GPA. (I think.) I participated in the National Physics Olympiad this year. The results have not yet been released, but based on past results and an internet search of all the answers, I believe I stand a good chance of winning it. I started school at the age of 5 (In SA the required age at the time was 7) and will thus matriculate at the age of 16. I was selected last year to participate in an SA TV gameshow (not as a contestant, more of an obstacle to contestants) for 1 season based on both academics and personality. I take part in the National Mathematics Olympiad every year. 4 years ago I was placed in the national top 100. Last year I was placed in the regional team. This year I hope to do better. I am Deputy-Head Boy of my school, and have won the annual Public speaking competion 3 times. Further extracurriculars include the chess and debate teams. I think that's it, other than to add that English is my first language, but that finances are going to be a problem (and the exchange rate doesn't help either). MIT will waive course fees (family income < $75 000p.a.) if I get in (not sure about the others). I'll still need bursaries, though... Anyway, please, oh Good Samaritans of the Physics Forums community, advise me!