3 years ago
Admissions Advice

What is an alternative to AP classes?

Hey! So I'm an international student trying to work on my college application. As I was filling out the academic part when came across AP classes. Now, the system in my country does not have AP classes or to be more precise, choice in the classes we take. All the classes we have are common for all at an advanced level. It is further limited to 6 subjects. So I was wondering how I can fill out that part in terms of this system.

Thanks for the advice!

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
3 years ago[edited]

Whether you have the ability to take AP classes, IB (International Baccalaureate) classes, or just some College level classes (either online or through a local university), I don't think matters much to colleges admissions officers reading your application file.

The purpose of all 3 of these is to show evidence that a.) you are capable of thriving with the college curriculum b.) you have challenged yourself as a high school student with the hardest possible classes, and c.) you have mastered the materials evidenced by scoring top marks (grades) and in the case of APs/IBs, standardized test scores (either 5s or 7s). In UK commonwealth countries I believe they have yet a different system where you take A-Levels and the Cambridge system. I won't go into that, I'll just say the purpose is the same. These are classes, tests to show you are operating at a high standard.

These matter most at Ivy League or Elite Colleges or Top Liberal Arts Colleges so for simplicity's sake let's just call them the Top 30 colleges. There are over 4300 colleges in the US. And you go down each tier, APs matter less and less.

Honestly, as an International student I would focus my efforts on the following:

1.) If you can take an ACT/SAT test and get a high score to submit that will be a plus.

2.) If you can get a 105+ on the TOEFL or 7.5+ on the IELTS English proficiency exam.

3.) If you have some very good extracurriculars like being a team captain of your club sports team, some leadership activities, or those involving community service where you personally had an impact.

4.) Writing original interesting essays that reveal something special about yourself which will differentiate you from other candidates applying from your country.

5.) Getting excellent recommendations from teachers who write perfect English. You don't want to your top recommenders to advocate for you if they can't properly articulate what a great human you are.

6.) If there are some gaps in your application file, try your best to fill them or explain them in the add'l information section of the common app.

I wish you good luck.

3 years ago


That is a great question, for the most part, AP exams should be available wherever you live, you could self-study for them or enroll in extra classes if you need help. Besides that, if you are can try attending an IB school, they have really tough courses, some even harder than AP. Honestly don't stress about it, colleges will understand your situation, just try to make the most of it!


What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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