What should I do to prove I "took the most rigorous courseload" when my school doesn't send colleges a School Profile?
I go to a small (<200 in my class) rural high school that offers 8 AP classes consistently (we have a few that only run every handful of years) and which often conflict in a way that you can't take them all, because they're only scheduled in one slot. We don't have any honors/dual credit courses. I'm a rising senior who's been told on forums like this that it won't matter since colleges will evaluate me within the context of my school. The problem is, on a recent call with my guidance counselor I learned that we don't send a school profile to colleges.
I'm applying to T20 schools, and I'm a little nervous that they can't see how many (or rather, how few) AP/honors courses are available at my school while they're reviewing my application. It's unlikely they would use concurrent/previous applications from my school as a reference for course rigor because usually we only have 1 senior (if that) apply to T20s, so there isn't a very high chance even a regional admissions officer would have seen any applicants from my school in the past five years.
Can they see how many APs were offered from places other than a School Profile? Should I work with the school to implement one (if that's possible?)? Not all of my schools accept guidance counselor LORs, and as you can probably tell from this story, my counselor doesn't really consider our course rigor to be low as most seniors don't even apply to schools as competitive as our state flagship.
I have self-studied 2 APs (econ) and have a scheduled independent study in another AP (emag) next year, but I was really banking on counselors understanding my school's background, because I know my course rigor is very low compared to others applying to T20s, even with the independent and self studies.
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Virtually all T20 schools should in fact require a counselor recommendation (you can confirm that here: https://www.collegetransitions.com/dataverse/recommendation-requirements) — and that usually includes information on how rigorous your schedule was compared to what was available to you at your school. So even if the regional admissions officers are unfamiliar with your school, they should still have that. And it's not about whether your core rigor is low, it's whether the schedule you individually took was less, average, or more rigorous than most other students at your school (it's given to them like a multiple choice question).
That aside, you can definitely use the Additional Info section to discuss this as well, and I would mainly use it to focus on your self-studying APs (something like "While my school did not offer many APs, I self-studied and took exams in [X Y and Z]. Over the course of that, I learned...)
Assuming commonapp is what you are using the additional info section is what you should ultize.
I face a similar vein circumstance my school offers 25+ AP classes trouble is most are 2 semester long and with other grad requirements I will only take approx 8 so I was planning on clarifying that on commonapp.
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