3 years ago
Admissions Advice

Improve your course rigor when AP and IB or Dual Enrollement classes are not available!

Some of you have posted questions about this and myself and others have answered them but I'm posting this today to reach a wider audience. One of the alternatives to taking APs, IBs, or Dual Enrollment classes is to take legitimate college courses as a high school student. You have the option of a.) attending a local community college, b.) attending a local private college or large state college c.) or attending Outlier.org.

Today I'm going to share one of the ways I added 'course rigor' to my 9 APs classes and 24 credits of dual enrollment. After 11th grade, I knew that I'd run of time to take all the APs I wanted to and have time to apply to colleges, write compelling essays, fulfill all my time-consuming ECs, curate recommendations, and keep up my 4.0 in high school.

I received an advertisement from Outlier.org while in 11th grade, clicked on it, and learned that I could take college courses online on my own schedule with different learning formats for an affordable price. I learned that depending on my class, I would have between 3 and 10 Ivy or Top Elite instructors teaching the course over a doable timeframe of either 7 or 14 weeks. I learned that on completion of the class, I would get an official transcript from the University of Pittsburgh who partnered with Outlier to run the back end and make it legitimate. I had a quick talk with my parent and signed up.

The 2 classes I took were Calculus and Psychology, instead of taking those 2 classes as APs. I was already familiar with distance online learning so that was not a barrier. But what was better was that I could log on anytime I wanted and as long as I met the deadlines to turn in the homework and take the online (proctored) tests, I would be on track to get a good grade. I liked the fact that they had a "no pass, no pay" deal which meant that if I didn't pass the class, we'd get all our money back. But failure wasn't an option.

In the end, I earned 2 (As), got my college transcript, and submitted that additional piece of paper to Columbia University as one of the follow-up documents after I was accepted. I'm not sure how Columbia assessed this part of my application or whether I'm going to get some kind of Core curriculum exemption but I know that it didn't hurt me.

So if you are finding yourself in this position and want to get some more course rigor during your 11th or 12th grade and don't have access to APs, IBs, and dual enrollment, please look into Outlier.org. I think this would be especially useful for International Students living in countries that do not have a lot of AP or IB opportunities.

I'm writing today because I just got an email from them and they are offering a 21% discount as an end-of-summer promotion. I don't work for them but I feel that they exceeded my expectations as an HS student so I'm going to share the good news. Normally a 3 credit course costs $400 USD so I'm guessing the price hasn't increased since I took them. Until Sept.7, if you sign up, the cost will be like $315 which might still sound like a lot but $105 per credit unit is what some standardized testing costs with reports. That is way better than the $2000 per credit unit Ivy's charge or the nearly $1500 per credit Univ. of Pittsburgh charges if you are a part-time non-resident.

If you have any additional questions you can't find on their website, let me know. Again, I'm not on their payroll, just a helpful CV source for you that don't have the same access to APs and IBs and dual enrollment classes.

Good luck.


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2 years ago[edited]

Hi! I have a few questions:

1. How long did it take for you to complete both courses?

2. How were the courses (i.e. were there any issues during the class), and how was the outlier website system like?

🎤2 years ago

When I took them they were 7 weeks start to finish. Now I believe you can opt for a 7 weeks or 14 weeks. If you are doing them back to back, I recommend taking the 7 + 7 approach. If you are doing 2 classes concurrently, then take 14 weeks. The website is great. You can access it 24 hour a day and do your lessons anytime. When you take tests you have like a 24 hour window to take the timed test. It is proctored using your webcam, so you can't cheat buy accessing the internet at the same time because the entire test is recorded. But if you get through the homework, the tests have no surprises. Just the same material covered in the lessons.


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