A-level or AP Watch

odgerell
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This year I have done my igcse and will be doing a-level. But I am considering to go to American unis. Should I switch my current school to AP offering schools?
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PQ
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(Original post by odgerell)
This year I have done my igcse and will be doing a-level. But I am considering to go to American unis. Should I switch my current school to AP offering schools?
If you're considering applying to american universities then the AP would be more useful. UK universities accept AP too so it wouldn't be a problem or rule out that route.
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HedgePig
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For American applicants AP subjects in themselves are, surprisingly not important. Universities don’t even explicitly ask for AP scores although you’d normally self-report those you have. US universities are far more interested in your GPA and SAT I/ACT scores and to a lesser extent SAT subject scores (these can be important for specific intended majors and courses but aren’t always needed)
For a UK applicant, I have no idea what they would consider, given that you won’t have a GPA. I think your GCSE and A level results would be important and you’d definitely need SAT/ACT scores. My feeling would be that AP’s are not preferable to A levels but I really don’t know this. Admissions officers would be more familiar with AP’s but I’d hope they understand the English system as well. Maybe.

One advantage of AP’s is that many universities will give credit for good marks (5’s or sometimes 4’s as well) meaning you could basically enter at the second year level if you have enough AP’s. I don’t know whether they’ll give credit for good A level scores - they should as an A level covers a lot more. But you’d only have 3 A levels whereas you could have 8 or 10 AP subjects.

Also be aware that the US application process is much more complicated than applying in the UK. And attending university there will be ver expensive- think around US$300,000 for 4 years
as you’ll be paying out of state rates. Scholarships, etc are available but not easy if you are a foreign applicant. Some universities are “needs blind” in that they don’t consider your ability to pay , ie they’ll help you out with tuition fees if your family income is below a certain level (a sliding scale); however, I’m not sure if this applies equally to foreigners.

If you have a good “hook”, ie something that makes you attractive to a university, this will increase your chances of being accepted as well as getting financing. But it would have to be pretty good indeed to make a significant financial difference. The hook could be academic or related to extra-curricular activities, such as sport related or playing a musical instrument, etc. All of this points to how important extra-curricular activities are in the US applications process. It’s much more “holistic” than the UK which is almost entirely focused on academics.
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