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Self-studying AP courses vs Online AP courses

ViewsViews Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
edited May 2016 in AP Tests Preparation
I've heard that self-studying AP courses that are already offered in your school can actually have a negative impact on your college apps. Some colleges will view it as "being lazy" since AP courses in some circumstances are easier to self study than to take the actual course in school, and many people advise self studying only if your school doesn't offer the course you wish to take. However, as a rising junior, I have already filled up my junior year and senior year with loads of AP's, so I don't have any more room for other AP's I want to take, and in my freshman and sophomore year, I had to take the requisite courses for the AP's I wanted to take (such as honors literature, honors chemistry...), so I was only able to take 2 AP's in my freshman and sophomore years combined. While some people in my class were able to take those pre-req's online, and managed to fill up those classes with AP's during the school year, it's financially straining to do so since the courses are about $500 each, so I was unable to do the same. I also didn't really know much about the importance of high school grades and AP's during that time, so I didn't really bother to care much about it.

So my question is, should I just take those AP classes online to show colleges that I wasn't being "lazy" or should I just self-study? Also, taking them online will boost my GPA since they will be weighted, but the courses do cost about $300-$500 depending on the class, and I can probably score about the same on the exam by self-studying so it wouldn't make a lot of difference from taking them online.

Replies to: Self-studying AP courses vs Online AP courses

  • GoldenHordeGoldenHorde Registered User Posts: 23 New Member
    If you've "already filled up" your junior and senior year with "loads" of APs, do you really think colleges are going to think you are lazy for self studying a few extra?
  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod Posts: 25,129 Inactive
    The original premise is dead wrong.
    (S)elf-studying AP courses that are already offered in your school can actually have a negative impact on your college apps. Some colleges will view it as "being lazy" since AP courses in some circumstances are easier to self study than to take the actual course in school, and many people advise self studying only if your school doesn't offer the course you wish to take.
    That is absurd, and you should simply ignore it.
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 40,282 Super Moderator
    edited May 2016
    The original premise is dead wrong.
    There are many many things wrong with the original premise. No college is going to admit solely based upon number of AP's; this is not an arms race where the applicant with the most AP's "wins."

    As Stanford says:
    We want to be clear that this is not a case of "whoever has the most APs wins." Instead, we look for thoughtful, eager and highly engaged students who will make a difference at Stanford and in the world beyond. We expect that these students have taken high school course loads of reasonable and appropriate challenge in the context of their schools.
    http://admission.stanford.edu/basics/selection/prepare.html
    And MIT:
    Let me state clearly: we do not admit students solely because of their AP courses/scores. There is no minimum or recommended number of AP courses. AP scores are not part of an admission formula. We're not simply going to look at a weighted GPA and throw everything else out. Challenge yourself in a way that is reasonable for you, while making sure that your courseload provides your with material that keeps you excited and engaged, and that you have balance in your life. What we are saying is that, despite what you may have heard, college admissions isn't a game of whoever has the most APs, wins.
    http://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/on_aps_1
    should I just self-study?
    If you want to self study to quench your thirst for knowledge, fine. If you want to do so to impress colleges, you'd be wasting your time, since they won't be impressed.
    I was only able to take 2 AP's in my freshman and sophomore years combined.
    Most fresh/sophs take zero AP's. Let's step back. AP courses are designed to be college-level courses and most 14 y/o's are not ready to take college courses. Let's be real, even though they have an AP header, colleges know that some of these AP classes that are laden with freshman (like APHG) are not of the rigor as some others (like Calc).
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