It is possible to find the right university for you and scholarships when living abroad, but it will take some extra work. In all honesty, my first suggestion is to do some googling. See what available scholarships you can find for students in your situation. For narrowing down colleges, start with big, broad searches (things like “colleges for political science” or “best colleges on the west coast” or “small rural colleges” or whatever versions of those you’re interested in). Once you’ve done a little bit of preliminary research, you can start narrowing down your lists.
When you find a school that looks interesting to you, check out their website - thoroughly! All schools will have a part of their site dedicated to “admissions” and that part will tell you exactly what you need to do to get into that school. (If you’re helping your non-US-citizen friends, US schools also generally have a subsection on the admissions page for “international student admissions”. The list of entry requirements will be similar, but will vary slightly.) For most colleges, in addition to your SAT’s or ACT’s, you can expect to have to fill out an application, write an essay, send your high school transcripts, and possibly get some letters of recommendation. Each school varies slightly, though, so read their admissions requirements carefully.
In terms of financial aid, there are 4 types you may qualify for: grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs. Check out the links below for some good explanations of and resources on those. American colleges are super expensive, so check out lots of options for financial aid. Many students also choose to start by going to a community college for 2 years, which is cheaper, then transfer to another university to earn their 4 year degree.
Good luck with your search!
Alison recommends the following next steps: