international student - GPA. HELP.

<p>Hi. I've been pretty depressed lately because the situation with my grades has gotten out of control. So let me just tell you what I'm most worried about and maybe you can assess the situation more than I can since I'm not American.</p>

<p>I'm junior in high school, meaning to study in the U.S. I've been most worried about the transcription of my grades. In my country we have the scale of grades from 1 to 6, but while in the U.S. it's common to get an A, the top mark, here you can get a 6 really rarely. Of course it depends on a school, in my school if you get a 6 that means you have gotten the president's award for special achievements. So that's only a couple of people in the entire country! However colleges, not knowing the characteristics of our system, are going to take my grades for average, am I right?</p>

<p>Here we don't have only 6 (or so) subjects as you should, we have to take 14 subjects each year for 5 years. Right now I have 40 hours a week. It's just different, you can't really focus on what's going to be your future career, you have to study for all these subjects. So you have a lot of stuff to do and it's physically impossible to get a very high GPA. Basically getting 4 out of 6 is a great achievement, but I've a feeling that colleges won't view it that way.</p>

<p>Another thing is that recently my grades have gone drastically down, not because I work less but because we've really had it tough. I come to school for 9 straight hours and I have 7 tests, some of them big which take me a lot of time to prepare for (I also have a part-time job, I need to pay for my education myself).
The reason for this is that they want us to study, not to get great grades. Grades don't matter for universities in my country, only the exams, so people don't care about stuff they won't need in the future. I can't do this because I know it's going to be in my documents.</p>

<p>Also, my school doesn't support the fact that I'm trying to get to an American college (and they overtly told me that), let alone offering me any help. Sorry about the dramatic tone here, this is just what is happening.
Lately I've barely slept because I'm studying all the time and my grades don't show any of the effort I'm putting into school. I am not the highest rank in class, but my school is the best one in my city. I don't want to brag, it's just that the expectations aren't feasible here and I hate it. </p>

<p>Basically, my question would be: how important is GPA, especially for international students? Will colleges take into account the fact that education systems differ in our countries? And more importantly, do people whose grades are less than fabulous have chances to get a big scholarship (I just don't know, I haven't figured out this whole financial aid issue and for me it's crucial. Without it there is no way for me to study).</p>

<p>Sorry about complaining, I didn't mean to sound like "I'm this persecuted student and the whole universe is against me", I'm just really stressed out because I think I am working hard and I feel like I'm losing ground...</p>