I have a very unique situation, which has made it hard to find any conclusive results with a google search, so I decided to asking to see if I could get any responses. So here we go.
I am 17 and currently studying abroad in Germany. Its a very selective scholarship program with the U.S. DOS called CBYX(Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange) While this definitely sets me apart from other applicants, as I would like to apply to some top 20 schools, I am worried it has created a little bit of a gap in my resume(I am not exactly excelling in my classes here because they are in a foreign language, and while my german is improving I‘m nowhere near a native speaker). One of the main issues is that I am here for my junior year of high school. I do plan on taking the SAT while I am here and have been studying for that, so if that goes well that should help from an academic standpoint. As for the rest of my stats, at the end of my sophomore year I had a 4.56 weighted GPA and 4.00 unweighted with 4 APs under my belt(APUSH-4, US Gov-5, Physics-2, and Statistics-4). I was ranked #1 before I came to Germany, I am not sure where I will be when I get back but probably still somewhat at the top. I don't think my GPA drops, some people might have just surpassed me. I was class treasurer freshman and sophomore year, very involved in theater, and competed at nationals for FBLA(although I only did the club sophomore year). Now my main question concerns my year when I return, because I have some options. I originally was planning on just completely filling my schedule with APs, and taking my smaller standard level credits at the community college(art, gym, health) that I need to graduate. However I now may have the opportunity to take part in a very prestigious internship fall semester in my preferred field of study(political science), where I would actually get the opportunity to get work experience as a high schooler, however to participate I would need to take a half day. So I would be taking 4 APs(Chemistry, World History, English Lit or Lang, and Calc AB). I think the internship would be cool and set me apart from other applicants, but has my exchange year done that already? I‘m worried I will seem too all over the place and not focused on academics. I will still have 8 APs by graduation if I do the internship, but would 12 make a bigger difference compared to the internship? So that‘s the question, APs or internship?
i think you are a very well-rounded applicant. being a recipient of a major scholarship certainly causes you to stand out, and will make you competitive to others. i don’t think it is unexpected for you to have lower marks while there, especially because you are not a native and the school system may be different. as for classes, you have already made yourself competitive by taking 8 APs. i would recommend the internship, not everyone will have the opportunity to do it, but a lot more people will be able to take AP chem, lit, etc. if you want to take a few APs anyway, go for it! just don’t overstretch yourself :)
Which one will you enjoy more? I know that's not a question you may consider because it's all about the colleges want to see. But, if you have something you enjoy, you'll do better at it than something else you're forcing yourself to do. Life doesn't consist of studying and courses. I think the internship will give you a better perspective of the real world, and real world applications. But again, it's whatever you'll enjoy more. I think the colleges (the good ones anyway) don't want to see more lists of courses, but whether you have a passion for it, and if you learned something valuable that will help you success.
Hope that helps!
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