Parents want me to study abroad in college, I want high school

I am looking to study abroad in high school next year in my junior year in France or Belgium or French speaking Switzerland . My parents are against this as they believe it will only hurt my college admissions. They want me to take AP classes (I am only interested in two of the four offered AP classes in my junior year, APUSH and AP Stats). Also, they worry I won’t have time to prepare to take SATs.
Also, I will miss out on cheerleading, swimming, and track, although I only really have achieved something in swimming (I hold school records and go to states), as well as a year out of my ten years of piano lessons.
As I do not care missing two AP classes as I can fulfill graduation requirements abroad and take Lots of APs senior year, missing extracurriculars, but instead becoming a world citizen, more responsible, and fluent in french.
I plan to take AP French when I get back as well as a test that gives college credit.
Also my school gives full junior year credit for me going abroad.
His list:
Miss out on key classes which limit/eliminate choices in senior year that you would want/are important for college acceptance at best schools
· Miss out on A/P classes in junior year that are crucial for college acceptance at best schools
· End up with a very thin transcript for college to assess on application
· Come back unprepared for classes senior year due to mismatch of curricula
· Miss important time for college search trips/tours
· End up taking the SAT late without an opportunity for a retake if needed; not have enough time to make a good prep course before taking the SAT
· Missing the PSAT administration that qualifies you for merit scholar
· Miss out on activities that strengthen your college application (cheer, swimming, band, voice, etc.)
· Not have access to the same resources here when you run into issues with concepts/classes (late night, friends, language barrier, parents)

Well you didn’t ask a question but I’ll assume it’s the obvious one. So here’s my advice: GO.

To address some of your father’s concerns:
-the PSAT is useless, so is national merit
-the SAT can be doctored, but it’s really just a test of English and algebra 2. It’s incredibly easy for the kind of student who would try to study for it
-to the above point: I got 2130 in spring of junior year, didn’t study at all for four months, and got 2350 in fall of senior year
-I do not believe the universities will penalize you for missing one year of your activities; moreover, one additional year of these activities will not matter much in the scheme of things
-regarding activities, depth before breadth always
-4 (or 2) AP courses is in no way “crucial” to admission
-to the above point: I had 6 AP tests in a school where the top students took 10, but I was the only one accepted to a college better (imo) than Berkeley
-thin transcript is puzzling since your school gives full credit for abroad

I hope you can see that admissions don’t look at stats so much as a person. You’re a qualified student. And anyway, it’s a crapshoot. If admissions suddenly changed to a policy that placed all qualified applicants into a hat, and drew names, you’d see no difference in the makeup of colleges except that maybe their football team wouldn’t have a quarterback that year. Go to Europe, you will have fun and probably become fluent. Then you can come back and skip the AP test altogether. Most top universities have a fluency test that allows you to bypass the foreign language requirement and/or the lower classes.

Just don’t come back from Europe and say it changed your life. That’s the essay that everyone has read. In my limited experience of reading essays, I’ve yet to find a compelling writer on the topic of foreign travel. I think this is because teenagers like to reduce an experience to its sentiments. That is the cliched pitfall, telling instead of showing.