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Why don't colleges like self-studiers?

nerdygirlyynerdygirlyy Registered User Posts: 112 Junior Member
I always see things about colleges really not liking them.

Replies to: Why don't colleges like self-studiers?

  • guineagirl96guineagirl96 Forum Champion Math/Computer Science, Forum Champion Richmond Posts: 3,841 Forum Champion
    Because usually they have the wrong motivation and don't actually learn the coursework. Colleges prefer you to take the class, because you learn much more than what you just memorize to score a 3+ on the exam- there's much more to most of these courses than facts: learning to write, analysis, working in a lab, etc. It doesn't add course rigor because you aren't spending the time in it you would a normal course, even a regular course. Most of what you learn in that 3 months you self-study you won't remember in college, but if you take a year long course, you're more likely to remember. Also, AP scores don't have bearing on admission, so its pointless to do it to try to "impress" them. It won't- you just look score driven and like you don't care about learning. There are a couple exceptions to this that are deemed appropriate reasons, but they still don't help your app. Self-studying is good for if your school doesn't offer a course but you really want to learn it and get college credit (such is in your case by looking at your other threads), or if you are taking an honors course on the subject and wish to extend your knowledge and get credit. Another reason is if your school offers it, but it is impossible for you to actually take the course (conflicts or restrictions), although this last one colleges still prefer if you take the course, they just understand the situation.
  • ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad Registered User Posts: 6,280 Senior Member
    edited September 2014
    I disagree with practically everything in the previous statement.

    Let me start.

    AP Scores of 5 matter in admissions. Lower scores can be due to a poor teacher or a class that didn't cover the material. Unless schools get a lot of scores from the same school that are 5s, schools can't really tell. Getting 5 shows a certain mastery. It helps in admissions. My D got a C in an AP class but scored a 5 on the exam. Then took another college course over the summer that relied on it and got an A. Certain college admissions offices said that they would consider the AP scores if they received official scores. We sent them. Of course we sent the college transcripts.

    Self-study demonstrates that you can teach yourself. This is something that people are supposed to learn in college. If you learn it earlier - self-study and get a 5- then it is impressive.

    Good reasons to self-study.
    - You are interested in the material and have the time to do a good job learning it.
    - You have financial issues to the extent that it would be very beneficial to do college in 3 years. if that's the case, self-studying APs and taking CLEPs can often cover general eds and can make it feasible to do college full-time in 3 years, and part-time in perhaps 4-5.

    Bad reasons to self-study
    - anxiety about college admissions - it's totally unnecessary to self-study an AP. Nobody will hold it against you.
    - parental pressure
    - peer pressure
    - ego
  • nerdygirlyynerdygirlyy Registered User Posts: 112 Junior Member
    Ok, so I'm currently self-studying AP World along with my honors class (my school doesn't offer the course). Would this be good on college admissions? I'm also thinking about studying AP HUGE because my school didn't offer it my freshman year and I'm interested in the material and would love to get the credit, but don't want such an easy AP to take the place of a more rigorous one (I'm doing Psych this year).
  • jimmyboy23jimmyboy23 Registered User Posts: 608 Member
    edited September 2014
    Here's the thing:
    AP scores will not ever impact your admissions chances officially. The admissions officer will look and see that you got fives on the exams and that will give you a little bit of an edge, but nothing worth going out of your way and self studying a course.

    That being said, College admissions officers are usually wary of massive self studiers. These are people who study more than one AP a year on their own. This isn't a good thing because what they want are people who are active and engaged in their community because those are the people that will go further than a bachelor's degree and those are the people that will represent the university better. If you self-study a course because your school doesn't offer it and it's the next logical progression and it's an extension of work you've already then it looks good. An example of this would be studying calc BC because your school only has up to calc AB or taking physics C when you're in a physics honors class.

    What they don't want to see is you self-study Psych, Human Geo, and Stat all in one year because then they'll question, "This person had nothing better to do with their free time than to read 3, 1000 page textbooks".

    A 5 doesn't really show true mastery. In most cases the AP exams give out fives for 75% and some go as low as 60%. Trust me, I did not know one thing about economics the night before the exam. I ended up pulling an all nighter watching videos and working through the kaplan review book. I scored a five easily. Do I know much about economics? Heck, no. AP exams are decreasing in difficulty in order to allow less intelligent people the opportunity to do well. A five shows you have a solid grasp of the material, but because there are so many people who sleep through their AP classes and don't care what they get, it makes it a lot easier to score a five.

    The AP world wouldn't do anything except make it equivalent to taking AP world in school. I wouldn't do AP human geo. Not for admissions reasons, but because I hear it's not very tough or interesting and it does not yield significant college credits. This is something you want to look out for is whether the credits are significant. It may be great to take calc BC but if it's not required for your future degree then you put yourself through a lot of work for only the benefit of knowledge.
  • billcshobillcsho Registered User Posts: 18,405 Senior Member
    Just a note that AP scores often sent to the registrar office, not admission office. Also, many college do not even give credit to certain AP exams.
  • jimmyboy23jimmyboy23 Registered User Posts: 608 Member
    They showed up on my transcript and were seen by my school's undergraduate admissions office.
This discussion has been closed.