2 months ago
Admissions Advice

My high school does not provide any AP/IB or honors classes. How will it be counted?


I'm Korean high school senior considering applying at some schools at US.

Every public high schools in Korea does not offer any AP/IB and honors classes.

There's something similar, called "Career selective subject". Schools provide students various range of subjects that students can freely choose, roughly distinguished by liberal arts/science.

I've taken Physics I, Chemistry I, Earth Science I, Geometry, Physics II, Earth Science II, Calculus, Programming, Classic philosophy and Ethics, and Music Appreciation and Criticism.

Each contains more complex content of previously attended subjects. (Meaning of Big Bang -> Steps of Big Bang)

I saw "Accelerated" and "Advanced" category in Common App subject section, should I select one of them for those subjects?

And colleges will consider about no AP/IB classes provided?

Thanks in advance!

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
2 months ago

Hi, yes it is true that S.Korean Public Schools do not offer AP/IB coursework because it is not in the the interest or mandate of any government-supported education system to advocate or support another countries curriculum or aptitude tests. Does that make sense? And furthermore just because a lot of S.Korean kids want to study in the US, doesn't make that a priority for any State-run educational system whose job is to educate S.Koreans and retain S.Koreans to help its country grow and prosper.

Nevertheless, if you decide to apply to US schools using the common app, you should pick the category of classes that makes the most sense. Accelerated in the US means taking a class that covers more material than you would normally be exposed to in a single year. So if you took Accelerated Chemistry in the US, that would cover more subjects and topics than normal standard Chemistry. Whereas if you took advanced Chemistry, that would focus on advanced topics not baseline or core chemistry topics, so it would be like taking Chemistry II if there were such a thing. Neither of these would be as rigorous as AP or IB Chemistry which are college-level courses, but you get the picture of what I'm trying to say. So I think you could state all the career selective subjects designated with II (2) after it is as advanced. That would be Physics II, Earth Science II. Also in the US, Calculus is typically taught as an AP class, either AP Calc A/B or AP Calc B/C so it would be acceptable to write in Calculus as an advanced math class as well. The other classes you listed would really have no qualifications for the "Accelerated or Advanced" course since they are considered core courses here in the US.

I don't know how exactly college will treat your application without AP or IB courses. I would ask both older students or older brothers/sisters how their college process worked out for them or talk to your college counselor and ask them if any students got into Top colleges without APs or IBs from your high school. It's too late to worry about that now since you are filling out the Common App already.

For any South Korean 9th, 10th, 11th graders reading this post, I've provided a list of Korean Private Schools that offer AP and IB coursework. For the younger students, it might be a good time to think about switching high schools in order to have a better transcript if you are planning on applying to American Top colleges.

AP Schools in South Korea

Asia Pacific International School (APIS)

BC Collegiate

Big Heart Christian School

BIS, 33 Jeongjail-ro, Bundang-Gu, Seongnam

Bugil Academy

Busan Foreign School

Centennial Christian School

Chadwick International School

CheongShim International Academy

CityHill Academy

CMIS Canada #B1076 Igc Support Center Songdomunhwa-Ro 119 Yeonsu-Gu

Cornerstone Academy of Seoul

Crossway Prep

Daegu Middle/High School

Disciple International Christian School

Edible International Academy

Eucon International School

Fayston Preparatory School

Gangnam International School

GIA Micro School

Gimcheon High School

Global Christian Foreign School

Global Christian School of Seoul

Global Prodigy Academy

Global Vision Christian School

Goyang Foreign Language School

Gyeongnam Intl Foreign School

Han Young Foreign Lang HS

Hana Academy Seoul

Hankuk Academy

Haven Christian School

Humphreys High School

Incheon Haewon HS

Incheon Intl HS

Indianhead School

International Christian School - Pyeongtaek

International Christian School Uijeongbu (ICSU)

International School of Koje

Korea Christian Intl School

Korea International School, Jeju Campus

Korea International School Pangyo

Korea Kent Foreign School

Korea Minjok Leadership Academy

Kwangju Foreign School

Phileo Intl Academy

Saint Paul Academy Daechi

Saint Paul Preparatory School

Seoul America Middle/High

Seoul Christian School

Seoul Foreign School

Seoul Global HS

Seoul International School

Seoul Scholars International

Shepherd Intl Education

St. Johnsbury Academy Jeju

Valor International Scholars

Yongsan International School of Seoul : YISS

IB Schools in South Korea

Branksome Hall Asia

British International Academy

Chadwick International

Chung Nam Samsung Academy

Dulwich College Seoul

Dwight School Seoul

Gyeonggi Academy of Foreign Languages

Gyeonggi Suwon International School

Gyeongnam International Foreign School

International School of Busan

Korea Foreign School

Kyungpook National University Elementary School

Kyungpook National University Middle School

Namsan International Kindergarten

North London Collegiate School Jeju

Seoul Foreign School

Taejon Christian International School

The Fulbright Organization administers AP exams for HS students unable to take them


2 months ago[edited]

Hi! Colleges will look at your individual circumstances to see if you were challenging yourself with your coursework. If no AP/IB Classes are available to you, they will not hold this against you and take this into account when they make an admissions decision.

In the US, if your high school had no AP classes to take, you wouldn't be on a "lower level" than someone who took 8 AP's at a school that had 20 AP Classes to the admissions officers. This is because those opportunities were simply not available to you.

However, if you want to show that you are strong academically, take the most rigorous coursework available to you if you are aiming for top schools. If all your classes are the same level, make sure you get good grades and maintain your GPA.

As for Accelerated vs Advanced, some schools have students select classes, based on level. There could be a lower level, accelerated or honors to choose from. Since you did not have this, I think you could choose the title that best fits your class.

Good Luck with everything!


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