CONFUSION! Austrian girl needs advice, badly!

<p>Hi everyone! I´ve got a very complex case here. My problem is that I´m the most undecided person in the world - short list of stats:</p>

<ul>
<li>until age 14: straight A student, later at competitive (equivalent to) junior<br>
high</li>
<li>started painting at age 12/ wanted to become an artist,
exhibitions, awards at age 13/14 (nothing prestigious though)</li>
<li>admitted to art boarding school at age 14 - didn´t go due to problems - 9th<br>
grade finished with mediocre grades</li>
<li>age 15 - started at art school again at 9th grade (=lost one year)</li>
<li>9th/10th grade: straight A´s</li>
<li>11th to 13th grade: A´s except for math. (school was a 5-year-school.<br>
Curriculum low on science, high on art (esp. audiovisual - due to this still
some knowledge in engineering and computer science)
I guess school had good reputation, but only for art achievement,
otherwise nothing special</li>
<li><p>graduation with all A´s and one B (I hate the teacher)</p></li>
<li><p>languages: German=mother tongue, English=foreign language for 12 years,
3 years Latin, 1 year Italian</p></li>
<li><p>off to local college, one year of art history, one year of English - still<br>
continuing</p></li>
<li><p>summer jobs at photographer´s and video company</p></li>
</ul>

<p>Okay, now the problem: Since graduation I´ve had NO idea what I wanted to do. The art stuff had lost its luster, I had no inspiration anymore, I didn´t believe in art anymore...But it´s still the only thing I´d have above-average qualification for.
I´ve always played around with the thought of going to the U.S. to go to college, but I thought it was too tough to make and, above all, too expensive. And now I fear it´s too late for everything. I really feel the urge to learn (in a stimulating environment - our college here is just so dull. People look at you as if you were crazy if you cite Saul Bellow´s nobel prize speech in literature class ["Stick to the textbook!"]). I´m not even sure if I should go on studying English, since it doesn´t challenge me. Since 10th grade I provided our English teacher with a reading list for the year (so that we read something decent), and in the last two years she sometimes let me correct the quizzes and essays from her other classes. I´ve never, ever had other grades than A´s in German or English my whole life. What I can learn here BORES me to hell!</p>

<p>So I´m considering doing something really demanding, because I want to get the best I can out of my life, and I honestly was leading a very laid-back life the last years. I could have done way better.
But now I have no credits that could get me into some good college, and the time is running out. I´m already quite old, so who will want me?
I´ve got really not much except my wish to learn, and all the odds are against me. My mother even is against me. She doesn´t get the concept of learning just for the sake of it - she just sees college as the necessary evil that is to get over with as soon as possible to start working (which probably has a lot to do with the prevalent education ethic here).
So what I´d like to do, if possible, was: taking all missing tests asap (I´ve got no TOEFL or SATs) and applying to some U.S. colleges - just giving it a try.
Realistic opportunities: applying for local art colleges to at least get an education that is a notch above NOTHING, even though I´d rather not become an artist anymore.</p>

<p>What I want you all to ask now is how you´d guess my chances if I applied to U.S. colleges, at which colleges I´d have chances and what I could possibly do if I wanted to improve chances.</p>

<p>I just feel my time is over anyway. It will remain a wonderful dream. </p>

<p>By the way, I´d need as much financial aid as possible since we are poor.</p>

<p>Another question: what would my situation look like if I tried it as a transfer student? What do they look for under those circumstances? Do you strictly have to stick to your major after the transfer?</p>

<p>Thank you a lot. Sorry for bothering you.</p>

<p>First of all, let me say I know how you feel. I went through the same thing with programming. After a while I just didn't care about it anymore and I felt really lost because I had no plan while all of my friends did. Here's my advice...</p>

<p>I'm biased, but you should consider a Canadian university. You can get a great education here for less than 1/10th the cost, so if you 'waste' some time trying to find out what you want to do, it wouldn't really matter. (Aka only $3,300 CDN for the first year @ U of Winnipeg). Also, they're not strict at all about admissions, especially compared to American schools. You might want to check out McGill, Winnipeg, Victoria, and Queens. They're all top notch schools at less than 1/10th the cost and you wouldn't have to take any tests!</p>

<p>PS: I know some Americans may bash Canadian schools as lesser quality, but this is simply not true. U of Manitoba's business program is ranked equivalent to Harvard's. The reason everything(healthcare/education) costs so little here isn't because it's poor quality.... it's just all subsidized by our pseudo-socialist government!</p>

<p>Yeah but international tuition is much higher. Whereas UBC is $4500 or so for a Canadian, it's $16500 for an international.</p>

<p>Still cheaper than the U.S. though.</p>

<p>U of Winnipeg costs ~$8,000 for internationals and is usually ranked 4th in Canada. Not bad, I guess.</p>

<p>Also check out International University Bremen (<a href="http://www.iu-bremen.de).I%5B/url%5D"&gt;www.iu-bremen.de).I&lt;/a> think it's a great school in Germany and you wouldn't be so far away from home. I applied there this year and they covered almost all my expenses. It's an American University. from what I've seen so far, they are very generous with both the admission and the financial stuff. I'd apply there if I were you! Honestly! </p>

<p>Take the SATs, study like hell to get a decent score, and my guess is that they'll want you.Trust me, they'll want you with a decent SAT score! you can also email me at <a href="mailto:raluca_eftimoiu@yahoo.com">raluca_eftimoiu@yahoo.com</a> for any other questions. By the way, I am from Romania and I'll attend an American College this fall. </p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>Wow story of my life (except all the artsy stuff)!
Try an English University, pretty cheap even for international students (at least compared to the US). There are some great schools there, only problem is you have to choose a course when you apply. But no SAT sh!t to deal with. But an English University sounds good no matter where your are going later in life. </p>

<p>Plus if you time this right, i think it is July 14th I will have to check, you can simply call the schools after they have given back their UCAS (UCAS is the national enrolment supervisor) decisions and ask if they have any places left in their courses, then just tell them your details and they may say yes. </p>

<p>But this has do be done quick, because of the mandatory UCAS system in England has a flaw. Kids have to apply and they are limited to 6 schools then get given an offer from the schools but they are only allowed to accept 2, which they then have to match with their end of year grades (A-levels). </p>

<p>Well not all the courses fill up and some fall short so when grades come back in July there is a crazy rush in England over the 3-7 days after results come back, where if you didn't get the grades you needed for your two choice schools then you start calling other universities and asking if they have places to fill. Most of the time they will just say yes or no right over the phone!</p>

<p>Another good point is that because of the specification that goes on early in UK high schools, Universities are used to accepting students with backgrounds in subjects that are not directly relevant. *Except the sciences of course. </p>

<p>If you have anymore questions <a href="mailto:A_Gausepohl@hotmail.com">A_Gausepohl@hotmail.com</a>
Or if your interested in economics I know for a fact that Surrey University thinks there is one student turning up for next year that won’t be there in September. (I decided to defer my place there for a year to take a gap year, but then decided to apply to American Universities.)</p>

<p>Thanks everybody, but I think I´ll give up on all that. The main problem is time - by the time I got into an American (etc.) university, I could already have graduated here. I wish I could go back a few years and start over from there. You know, it´s really like you know NOTHING about international college options unless your attention gets caught somewhere and you start to investigate. Nobody told me one thing about how the application works etc.. Otherwise I could have taken the tests way earlier and I would´ve had a real chance to go abroad. But no - only today my mom had another shot at giving me the "America is bad, their educational system is bad,..." speech. She still thinks my "funny ideas" are some kind of postadolescent phenomenon and that one day I´ll come to my mind and realize how much better Austrian universities are compared to Harvard. Only to give you an idea against what dimensions of small-townish delusions I have to fight...Other parents would more than welcome a child wanting to achieve something, but I think my mother has been wondering for years and years what an odd child she´s been living with. Where I´m from it´s common for girls to get a boyfriend, manage to graduate from high school somehow and get a job. Those who go to university would NEVER go abroad and are trying to get over with the whole college thing as soon as possible, so they can settle for some dull job and get kids. I was always the oddball - from age 7 on I´ve never left the house without a book, and my hobbies have been literature, Neuroscience and computers instead of getting drunk or making out. Nobody ever knew what to do with me.
Anyway, I´d decided on taking the TOEFL and SAT this spring/summer and then apply for NYU and some other schools in fall for fall 2006. Thus another year would be lost...but now not even this will be working out. I have to maintain my straight A average at the local college (so that I´ll have a chance with postgraduate applications or transfer apps. By the way, how does that work exactly? When I transfer, do I have to keep the same major? What are the important points in a college´s decision?). And then I´m also preparing my application for 2 or 3 art schools (which is quite demanding because I have to hand in quite a body of work) for fall. This is really my last stop, since with my credits it is the only possibility for me to do something that is slightly above the average in this stupid country, even though I don´t really want to go. I´ve grown out of it somehow...
But since all applications are due in May/June, I won´t have the time to prepare for all the tests, and with bad scores I won´t get anywhere.</p>

<p>What do you think about all this? It´s really nice of you to give me all those good suggestions, but if I go abroad, I first want to reach what I really long for. Just hypothetically, do you think I stand the slightest chance of getting accepted at, let´s say, NYU as a freshman with already 3 years of college under my belt (I have very good grades, but I´m really slow. We don´t have a strict curriculum here)?</p>

<p>Okay, that´s it for today. Any comments welcome.</p>

<p>Another question: what´s up with teacher and counsellor recommendations? Since things like that are never done here, I don´t need what I should ask my teachers to write, how long this should be etc.. So could please anyone clear this up?</p>