Does Indepdently Studying for AP's and getting 5's Help?

<p>Hey, </p>

<p>I self-studied for 6 AP classes (AP Physics: Mech, AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, AP US History, AP World History, AP English Language, and AP Computer Science A) and got 5's as well as getting 5's in the two course-based exams I took (AP Chem and AP Calculus BC). I had a 2390 on my SAT (790 CR) and an 800 on SAT Math 2, and 800 on SAT Chem, and 750 on SAT US History. I took all honors/AP classes in my high school career including the six I am enrolled in now. The thing is my grades are decent from a normal standpoint and probably low mediocre for Harvard. In freshman year, I took the standard honors classes and got all A's in my first semester but all B's including an F (in a computer class in which the grade was based on one small test). That year I was in a large public school. In my sophmore year, I switced to a small (90 person class) private school and got two B's (1 math and 1 science) and 10 A's for all of my year grades. In junior year, I slacked first semester and got 4 B's and 2 A's, but got very high straight A's in my second semester and did the same in my most recent semester-the first semester of senior year. Disregarding what EC's I did (I did lots) and all awards I got (2 national level math/science ones), does my self-studying make up for my lousy grades?</p>

<p>If you take a foreign language AP in high school and score a 5 on the test, it will exempt you from taking a foreign language at Harvard.</p>

<p>In all other circumstances, Harvard DOES NOT grant credit for AP's, unless a student's opts for ADVANCED STANDING. See: Advanced</a> Standing Advising Programs Office</p>

<p>Otherwise, all your AP tests will be noted in the applications process, but unfortunately, all your self-stuying efforts will not make up for your grades.</p>

<p>I'm impressed. Please explain that on Harvard app.</p>

<p>Who are you? Are you Aslan?</p>

<p>It could, but in all likelihood will not. You'll need solid extracurriculars (and by solid, I mean, REALLY solid) if you want to get in.</p>

<p>What many applicants don't understand is that Harvard Admissions is looking for "character" -- and that cannot be gleaned from a laundry list of accomplishments and stats, such as yours.</p>

<p>"Character" is an old fashioned word that means the way you develop your inner qualities: intellectual passion, maturity, social conscience, concern for community, tolerance and inclusiveness. </p>

<p>Harvard accesses character through what your teachers say about you in their recommendation letters, as well as your guidance counselor's SSR report and your essays. See: Guidance</a> Office: Answers From Harvard's Dean, Part 1 - NYTimes.com</p>

<p>"While we value objective criteria, we apply a more expansive view of excellence. Test scores and grades offer some indication of students’ academic promise and achievement. But we also scrutinize applications for extracurricular distinction and personal qualities.</p>

<p>Students’ intellectual imagination, strength of character, and their ability to exercise good judgment — these are critical factors in the admissions process, and they are revealed not by test scores but by students’ activities outside the classroom, the testimony of teachers and guidance counselors, and by alumni/ae and staff interview reports.</p>

<p>With these aspects — academic excellence, extracurricular distinction, and personal qualities — in mind, we read with care all the components of each application."</p>

<p>Much depends on what your teachers and guidance counselor writes, as well as how your essay comes across -- not your AP's or SAT scores!</p>

<p>Good AP scores beyond your curriculum are nice to have, but unlikely to make up for lousy grades. AP scores indicate that you were able to master the material, but don't really say anything about what kind of student you are. Harvard is unlikely to look favorably on students who don't bother to do well in class, knowing they can just cram to do well at the end. Harvard wants students who will do well throughout their classes here, rather than blowing off everything but the final.</p>

<p>Anyway, APs ARE NOT extracurriculars. Having them is nice if you have them in addition to extracurriculars, but self-studying with a book by yourself by no means absolves you of the need to have an otherwise impressive resume.</p>

<p>I would be a bit worried about that F, but great SAT score.</p>

<p>Didn't see the F.</p>

<p>That's a serious problem.</p>

<p>^ Thirded.</p>

<p>Ok, please look back at my previous post. In my own opinion, I am a candidate of character. I screwed up my grades by getting a bunch of b's and even an f (WHICH WAS NOT ALL MY FAULT B/C THE OLD HAG TEACHER FAILED ANYONE WHO DIDN'T HAVE A CERTAIN TYPING SPEED-ONE TEST DETERMINED YOUR GRADE IN THAT CLASS.)</p>

<p>See: Writing</a> Recommendations | MIT Admissions</p>

<p>I would imagine Harvard admits have recommendation letters like the one on MIT's website. Are you, with all your B's and an F, that kind of student?</p>

<p>"It is a great pleasure for me to recommend David for admission to MIT. He is one of the most extraordinary students I have encountered in 20 years of teaching. I taught David A.P. Calculus last year as a tenth grader, and he was one of the very top students in an extremely able group of mostly seniors. He has a high aptitude for math and was very much involved in his work, applying himself with persistence and dedication and often going beyond the regular class assignments.</p>

<p>David's abiding interest, however, is computer science. He has developed a series of "strands" for use in providing computerized drill and review in the basic skills and techniques of algebra and arithmetic, and has recently adapted these to other subjects. David's work in this area has been so original and significant that he has published a paper on it and delivered several lectures to professionals in other parts of the country. This is a phenomenal accomplishment for anyone, especially a young man in rural Arkansas. It is also worth noting that both last year and this year David taught computer programming to a tenth grade class of mine for two weeks. He took over completely, preparing lectures, assignments, and tests with great care and thought. His lectures were clear and well organized, and it was obvious that he had expended a great deal of effort to make the course the success that it was.</p>

<p>David's personal qualities are as impressive as his intellectual accomplishments. An extremely kind, sensitive and sensible boy, he has had a difficult family situation for a few years now. He provides emotional support to his mother through her battle with cancer without allowing the situation to undermine his own stability and accomplishments. He has exhausted all that we have to offer him in this small community, and the maturity that he has demonstrated leads me to believe him capable of entering college a year early, as he now plans to do. I sincerely hope that you will be able to offer him a place in MIT's freshman class."</p>

<p>Yes, I did read your post. I shouldn't probably have jumped on the "F is a problem" train, though, because this is actually a much bigger one:

[quote]
In junior year, I slacked first semester

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Yes, Harvard can forgive low grades freshman year. But low grades continuing into junior year? That provides rather convincing proof that, whatever your grades junior spring, it took you way too long to learn your lesson--especially since while you claim to be a person of character, you so easily fly into a rage, blaming everyone but yourself*, after only light prodding by complete strangers on an internet forum.</p>

<p>*One low grade might not be your fault, but a pattern is on you.</p>