I’m currently enrolled in high-school in Denmark, a little Scandinavian country. Lately I have seriously considered going to the US to get a university degree, however I’m wondering what is required. My ultimate dream would be to go to MIT or a similar top university. Of course I know this will be very hard, and no matter what, I can’t be sure to get in. I would like to try though, and then if I’m not getting in any top universities, then I’ll hopefully be able to get into other universities. I still need 2.5 years of high-school, so I’ll have plenty of time to improve in whatever ways are required (I hope to improve significantly in English, I know I probably didn’t even get punctuation partially correct in this post). I was wondering what exactly is needed, if they are to consider you. Obviously I’d need a very good score on the SAT tests, higher than the average MIT student, because I’m international. I doubt this will be such a big problem, considering I have plenty of free time which I can devote to studying. At the same time many guides for the SAT is available, so if I really didn’t feel 100% prepared I could read some of those. So even though I might not get 2400 I hope to get close. I have done some reading and it seems two other things are going to make a big difference, the personal statement and extracurricular activities. As for the personal statements, are there any good personal statements publically available? That would give me a good idea of what to include. If not, then what would be the best way to prepare for that? Just improvise, or try to get hold of one through other means? The extracurricular activities are probably the ones I’ll have the most trouble with. This seems to be a big deal in the US, but here they aren’t considered important. So what qualifies for extracurricular activities? Extracurricular activities are completely separated from school here, so I hope other stuff still qualifies. There are two things besides mathematics and physics which I truly enjoy, electronics (maybe a subset of physics, I’m not sure) and programming. Would these qualify as extracurricular activities even though I’m not enrolled in an official club? Would I need other extracurricular activities to be considered attractive to universities? We don’t have honors, AP courses or similar “elite classes” here. Would that significantly lower my chances? I have physics and mathematics at the highest level possible, but honestly that isn’t all that spectacular here. How about grades? We use an entirely different system here (it resembles the ECTS), so I’m afraid I would have disadvantages if it will be converted to a US scale. Will my grades here even matter or will they only consider the SAT? I expect to get perfect (~6 % get perfect in a subject according to our ministry of education) in all scientific subjects (mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology) and English, but will other subjects be considered? There are other subjects which I don’t think I’ll get perfect in (I’m sure of one of them), but will these matter? As for the SAT, from what I have seen of sample questions I should be able to score quite well. Sorry for the long post (hope it isn't considered spam). I'm just making sure I didn’t miss anything. So anyone have any recommendations or comments? Or maybe someone want to share their personal story.