Summer plan advice?

I’m going to be a junior September of 2017. I’m US citizen studying at Shanghai High School International Division looking to apply to US universities. I wish to major in computer science.

I’m taking IB next year. My classes are as follows:
English SL
Chinese Lang and Lit SL (at my school, native speakers must take Chinese Lang and Lit)
Math HL
Physics HL
Computer Science HL
Economics HL
At my school, you cannot take AP classes once you choose to take IB. Any APs must then be self-studied.

I’m currently drafting a challenging summer plan. I do not have any internships or summer camps planned.
My summer is going to involve studying for SAT and SAT II exams, which I hope to take during the first semester of my junior year.
I’m considering studying physics and computer science to prepare for competitions in those subjects, such as preliminary exams for Olympiads.

Unfortunately, my school’s IB program does not support taking computer science and chemistry simultaneously. Therefore, I plan on studying for AP Chemistry.
I’m deliberating on what other APs I should self-study. Should I study for APs that overlap with my current class choices, such as AP CS, or ones that do not have any overlap, such as AP World History? Which subjects would you recommend? Should I study more math and science or more humanities? What are some combinations that would be good?

I understand there is huge time gap from summer to the AP exam in May next year. I’m prepared to study more during the winter and the semesters. I hope to make the best use of my summer.


I do not think you should spend the summer studying. Top colleges like to see students doing things during the summer. Volunteering, working, or pursuing some worthwhile activity is going to serve you better. Top colleges are also not impressed with self-studying. It won’t get you extra points in admissions. If your plan to self study interferes with you pursuing ECs, or means that you will be sacrificing study time for your already-rigorous course load, I don’t think it’s a good idea. You aren’t planning on studying chemistry, so why bother with that? If your goal is to rack up APs, there are far better choices for self-study than chemistry, whohcnis apparently very difficult to study on your own.

I think the lingadaf is pretty correct in that colleges want to see you put yourself out there, but test scores are pretty important as well. The first step is actually finding something to do over the summer, and then you can build study time around that. However, if you can swing it, I think self-studying and taking an AP chem test is a good idea. Chemistry is still in the STEM field and showing a broad interest in that area may benefit you. Also, if you’re trying to decide which AP courses to self-study, think of what you’re strongest at in the first place, and then you should look up the score rates to see which ones look easier.