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TA or Independent Study Senior Year - CS

mathhappymathhappy 59 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 67 Junior Member
I'm currently a junior (for another couple days!) looking to major in computer science. I have taken everything that my school offers in terms of technology courses (Web Design, both AP CS courses), but I can't really imagine going a full year without doing something related and I do want to demonstrate my continued interest in the subject for college admission purposes. I have three options for continuing CS next year:

1. Independent Study. This is an established program at my school. It involves submitting a project proposal, identifying an adviser (my CS teacher is willing to fulfill this role), and presenting a project in front of a committee at the end of the year. I would get .25 credit (just being realistic about my time constraints next year, amounts to ~30 hr overall), graded P/F.

2. Being a Teacher Assistant for one of the AP CS courses. My school does not have an established program for this, but my teacher has volunteered to petition the school to create this opportunity for me. All of this could change depending on what the administration says, but at this point, my teacher is thinking that it would be .5 credit (every other day for the year, adjacent to my health and gym classes in the schedule) and I'd help students with understanding concepts, develop new projects for the students to be assigned (which would involve some coding myself), help with grading and debugging, occasionally teach a full class period. I haven't asked about grading, but I imagine it would be either P/F or a pretty much guaranteed 100.

3. Informal coding projects in my free time, as I am currently doing.

I'm leaning toward one of the first two options because of the accountability they'd give me, in addition to allowing me to maintain the excellent relationship I have developed with this particular teacher over the years (who has had a very sizable impact on my life). So, what are your thoughts? Would one of these options look significantly better from the perspective of college admissions? What sounds like it would be the most fun or meaningful? What else should I be considering?

Also, if you're leaning toward #1, do you have any suggestions for topics of study? I don't have enough time to meaningfully delve into data structures, which is typically the next course in a CS major sequence.

P.S. My class schedule looks something like this next year:
H Multivariable Calc
AP Stat
AP Micro/Macro
AP Physics C (both mechanical and E&M)
AP Lit

Thank you in advance!
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Replies to: TA or Independent Study Senior Year - CS

  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 1727 replies16 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,743 Senior Member
    DD will be in a similar situation in a couple of years. Our HS handles it with an independent study, which can be the student designing his/her own course under the supervision of a teacher OR taking a DE course at the local CC (not exactly "independent study", I know, but not many students exhaust the CS possibilities and the school probably doesn't want to appear out of options). Taking an online course from an accredited institution might also be an option.

    My personal choice would be to drop AP Stats from your schedule next year and add in a DE CS class. You've already got math covered with multivariable calculus. If your goal is to teach CS in the future (and they definitely need more CS teachers!), then the TA would be a great option, but if your primary goal is to continue to expand your own CS knowledge, I would go with one of the independent study options.
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