Where I'm from (the Philippines), schools don't provide AP or Honors' classes. Everyone is taught the same general topics in each subject without any opportunities for accelerated learning or specialization within the classroom. Because of this, I've been taking online psychology courses on Coursera, learning more STEM topics through Khan Academy, self-studying using any AP textbooks I can get a hold of, and teaching myself Spanish using the internet. I worry that these don't count as extracurriculars and I won't have any concrete proof to show what I've learned.
How can I show colleges that I took initiative and pursued a more advanced education despite the limitations of my country's school system? Thank you so much in advance! (P.S.: If it helps, I'm in the summer of my freshman year right now and will be in the 10th grade in a few months.)
You could certainly count your studies outside the classroom as an extracurricular! I would list all the classes under one extracurricular called "Independent Learning." Colleges won't need proof to consider this extracurricular a valuable experience, though you could make your independent learning even more impressive by taking AP exams and then submitting any scores between above a 3 to colleges.
Colleges also review applications holistically, so they take the context of your school and country of origin into account. They will know from a school report that your guidance counselor will send them as well as prior experience that a full American curriculum is not easy to emulate in the Philippines. Keep doing independent learning, and put extra time into distinguishing yourself through essays and extracurriculars. Hope this helps!
Volunteer and charity work, as well as extracurricular activities always look good, depending on the college you're thinking about applying to. I'm not sure if this is available to you, but taking a couple classes at a community might help.
You could also test-apply to the school you wish to attend, or take the SAT/ACT (depending on if you can- but the test apply thing is definitely an option). Colleges may ask for an essay for entry (typically very selective colleges), which is where you can explain your situation and explain why you deserve to go to that college.
I hope this helped you!
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