Please help!

<p>I am an international student who has just joined an American school (for the senior year). My school doesn't offer any AP courses, and hence I would like to self study for a few of the exams.
Could you please help me choose suitable subjects from the short-list below?</p>

<p>Calculus AB (not sure if I can manage this one)
US History
European History
English Language
English Literature
Microeconomics (this, I am pretty sure, I can deal with)
Art History (sounds very interesting!)
Environmental Science
Human Geography

<p>I would like to go for at least 5 of the above mentioned 12 subjects.</p>

<p>Also, which textbooks would be most useful? Can I get a good score even if I don't study from a set text?</p>

<p>BTW, would simply studying from prep books like the ones published by Kaplan or Princeton Review be sufficient?</p>

<p>Just so you know----I really don't think self-studying for 5 AP's your senior year is going to help you at all in the college application process. Colleges are going to focus on your high school transcript grades 9-11 for admission. They look at your senior year classes for rigor of your curriculum and gpa. Basically, senior year is to prove to admissions that you are maintaining your level of classes and gpa. </p>

<p>Self studying for 5 AP's your senior year will not give you an advantage in the application process.
The AP scores won't come out until after admission decisions have been made by colleges.</p>

<p>In my opinion, the only benefit for self studying this late in the game will be possibly scoring high enough on the AP exams to knock out a couple of college general ed. requirements (which is a good thing).</p>

<p>Well, I agree, but I'm not quite looking for an advantage in the application process. Honestly, I just wanna learn. Also, the AP credits might help me graduate faster (this is not a requirement, at all, though).</p>

<p>Would it be a good idea to request my guidance counselor to mention the AP courses I would be self-studying on the School Report? Teachers teaching similar non-AP courses could predict my grades (as per my performance in the respective classes).</p>


<p>No, I don't think it's irrelevant to ask non-AP teachers to predict possible grades of students in a class other than what he/she is teaching. Predictions do not equal reality. The teacher can address your ability as seen in their classroom within the recommendation.</p>

<p>Also, self-studying for AP tests has nothing to do with official school reports. If one is not taking the official AP class, then it can't be included on a school report or transcript.
Depending on how your high school records their statistics, the only thing that may be included on the official school record is the score on the AP exam.</p>

<p>However, if you want to self-study and take a couple of AP tests, make sure that the colleges you are looking into actually give credits for AP scores. You can find this information on the specific college's website. Check and see what score you must achieve in order to be granted credit. </p>

<p>YOU can mention that you are self-studying for AP tests in the "Additional Info" section of your college applications. It's not going to boost your application because the AP test grades come out AFTER acceptance/rejection decisions.</p>

<p>I plan to apply to some of the top notch colleges and universities (including Ivy League schools). Do you think I'd be at a disadvantage not having taken AP courses (as my school doesn't offer any)?</p>

<p>I don't know what sort of school you are in. Some schools that don't offer APs don't do so because they think their courses are better than AP courses. (Often less survey-like and more topical.) I'd choose the best courses your high school offers, the ones that have the best teachers and that sound the most interesting to you. If they line up somewhat with an AP exam, great! You can study on the side to make up for whatever the course doesn't cover. I'd consider self-studying from scratch for a maximum of* one *AP. Perhaps art history since it interests you. I think that one would be relatively easy to do on your own. I know there are students who self-study for more APs, but really I think there are much better ways to spend your time in high school.</p>

<p>Colleges look at schools in context - if your school doesn't offer APs they won't expect to see any. Often schools that don't offer APs will have dual enrollment courses with local community colleges. Colleges want to see that you have challenged yourself - if there are ways to go beyond the curriculum that's great, but it doesn't have to be by taking AP courses. For example my son ran out of computer science offerings at our high school freshman year, but that didn't stop him from learning on his own. He didn't have any proof beyond the fact that he worked in the field and had very good recommendations from professionals. He did however address it in his essays.</p>

<p>Along with your transcript, your high school will send their high school profile to the college admission's offices. The profile is like a "information fact-sheet" describing the high school with statistics such as average SAT/ACT scores, number of athletic teams, curriculum info, etc. If your high school doesn't offer AP classes, this will be noted in the high school profile.</p>

<p>Colleges will take into consideration the courses offered at your high school. Make sure you are taking the most rigorous curriculum offered by your school.</p>

<p>You won't suffer because you did not take AP classes if your school does not offer them. Colleges don't punish students for not having the option to take AP classes, and they don't expect people to self study and have AP credit just to show extra committment. Mathmom makes an excellent point that if you're really committed there are lots of ways to indulge your passions without getting school credit for it, and you can mention those in your essays. In fact, if i were on an adcom I would find it more impressive that a studetn studied computer science on his own after finishing his school's courses, then that he self-studied for an AP exam. Computer Science thrives on people pushing the limits of what's been done, whereas AP classes basically teach you to do what's been done. </p>

<p>Still, if you're determined to do this, only self-study for tests in course you're really really really good in. If you know you are strong in history or English, do that. I would avoid Art History, it's a very difficult, lengthy subject that requires studying tons of different works of art in great detail. Most AP art history courses use a very expensive, very large text book. </p>

<p>I would caution against thinking you can do this relying just on a study book. Prep books are meant to help students review material they already learned, so that it's fresh for the test, they won't help you a lot if they're your only study source. You should look online and see if you can figure out what textbooks are used for similar AP classes and try and get your hands on those. Read them, take notes, review, and use your prep book to review. Also, you'll need to practice doing the kinds of things that will be asked of you on the test. That includes timed essays if you're doing English or History, and for History you also need to be able to do the analytical essays, where they give you three or four items (articles or pictures of artifacts) and ask you to use them to answer an analytical question. </p>

<p>It's not easy, and it may not be worth it in this instance. But if you must do it, that's my advice.</p>

<p>I agree with what other posters have said. Self-study is effective when you have the AP score to submit to colleges; without the score, there is no way to concrete way to evaluate the "self-study." But if you really just want to prepare for a top-tier college, here are the courses I'd recommend:</p>

<p>Calculus AB
US History
English Language
English Literature</p>

<p>Whatever else you do, try to take calculus your senior year.</p>

<p>I guess you are correct. There is, indeed, not much point in self-studying for the AP exams if the scores are out after the admission decisions have been made. I'd rather concentrate on activities I'm more passionate about.</p>

<p>I also have another option. I could take courses at a college/extension school. This way, I wouldn't have to wait till next July to have my exam scores/grades delivered to me. Would this be a better idea?</p>

<p>If you are going to take AP exams just for the college credit, try to pick subjects that will satisfy core curriculum requirements and then you're done with that subject. For instance, if you earned credit in say Chemistry and never needed to take it again in college, great! But unless you're extremely good at the subject, you may find you're not prepared for the next level of the class. I hear that's often the case in the sciences. I would think some of the stand alone classes like Euro and Lit could allow you to bank some credits, though. Good Luck!</p>

<p>Since the AP scores come out in July and therefore wont really act as an advantage in the application process, wouldn't it be a better idea to take extension school/college courses instead (even for the credits)?</p>

<p>^If you're interested in taking college courses at a local college or university over the summer that's fine. I don't think it will really make a huge difference one way or the other in terms of your acceptances, but it's worth it if it's of interest to. Though you should know in advance that many private colleges make their own rules about what credits count and/or transfer and which don't, so you need to make sure that you're okay with and interested in doing the course even if it turns out next year that the college won't accept those credits as transfer credits.</p>

<p>So, does that mean college/extension school courses are given the same importance as AP exams/courses (in terms of college acceptances)?</p>

<p>Each college and university sets its own admissions policy. They almost uniformly evaluate student achievement in the context of the high school, so if you do well in the most challenging classes available at your school, you'll probably be fine. </p>

<p>There is a thread on the MIT website in which the question was answered by an admissions officer of MIT (MITChris). This question was posed by a homeschooled student, but you might find the thread interesting: <a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>"No, I don't think it's irrelevant to ask non-AP teachers to predict possible grades of students in a class other than what he/she is teaching. Predictions do not equal reality."</p>

<p>^obviously, I made a big typo in my previous post. It should read:</p>

<p>No, I don't think it's relevant to ask non-AP teachers to predict........." LOL</p>

<p>instud, As I mentioned earlier, what you have accomplished up through your junior year is what will be focused on regarding the college admission's process. Your applications to colleges will go out in the Fall. Thus, your academic history used for review will include grades 9-11.
Your senior midterm grades and final grades are only used to insure that you have maintained your previous gpa and rigor. </p>

<p>If you are trying to boost your application, perhaps take a college course this summer at your local college and take another course at the college in fall. The boost will be slight, but the experience alone may be worth it.</p>