I really want to take AP Computer Science A this year (my senior year), but it unfortunately conflicts with another course I'm taking (BC calculus). I'm interested in computer science and plan to major in data science or a similar field, so I was wondering if it's worth self-studying computer science instead? I heard it doesn't really look good on applications, and probably even more so since my school technically offers it, and I self-studied for AP Computer Science Principles last year so I could take Computer Science A this year, so it feels like a complete bummer to not be able to take it after all.
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!
Self studying anything is never as good or impressive as taking the actual class. During senior year, self-studying an AP would be seen as taking some action toward intellectual curiosity more than improving your course rigor because no one in the college admissions process will see your efforts.
When you self-study as a senior, no one will know whether you are mastering the material because there will be no grades, no quiz scores, no test scores, no labs and no projects. Furthermore, you will have applied and received all your college decisions prior to taking an AP exam in May 2023 and getting your score back in July 2023, so there really is no point of that unless the school you are applying to gives you full college credit for taking AP CS an getting a 4 or 5 in that.
As long as you know that it's not really going to change your GPA or course rigor very much, I would recommend that you follow your passion and study this.
I don't think it looks bad on your college applications to self-study an AP. Contrarily it shows your interest and dedication towards the subject.
Self Studying an AP Course can be particularly useful if you attempt the AP Exam and get a good score on it (4 or 5). This guarantees college credit as well (if your college accepts the AP course of course)
I recommend self-studying Computer Science A and taking the Ap exam if you're really interested. You can also try taking the AP Comp. Sci. Principles exam as well since you've already self-studied it, but whatever suits you.
Hope this helps!!
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