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โ€ข 7 months ago โ€ข
Admissions Advice

Is it compulsory to take IB/AP/HONOURS program?
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Hello! I'm Tomi from Nigeria and I'm currently in my 10th grade. The syllabus here is completely different from the one is USA. For example, high school consists of only 3 years (will this affect my GPA?) And there are no such things as IB/AP/Honours classes here... I don't know if this will affect my college application as I hope to get into Duke and I really need a full ride scholarship too. Nigeria only has about 4 IB schools... And I'm not attending any. I really want to know what I can do to boost my application.

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โ€ข 7 months ago[edited]

Heyy Tomi!

I'm a fellow Nigerian here! I hope your SS1 classes/10th grade classes are going well.

Our syllabus is quite different, but college admissions officers in the United States know this. Besides, they ask your school counsellor to fill out a school report form that talks about your school. You can also provide them with additional information about your school in the Additional Information section of your application.

Does your school calculate GPA? If it does, then great! If it does not, you merely have to work with your school counsellor to calculate your GPA for each year and divide it by the number of high school years. Something I'm worried about is that you said we have only 3 years of high school here in Nigeria. As I apply to colleges, I take it that high school refers to secondary school. Hence I reported all my classes from JS 1 to SS 3.

U. S colleges know that AP/IB classes are not offered in many schools in Nigeria. However, they would expect you to be taking the most challenging classes in Nigeria. These typically include Further Mathematics and challenging courses. Does your school write the British A levels? If so, you should do it.

Now to the part of boosting your application:

What subjects are you very good at? If it's Maths or Science, then you should try participating in many national competitions such as Cowbellpedia, MAN, iSPAK, NNPC Science Contest, the Olympiads, and other similar ones.

If you're good at English and Writing related subjects, then participate in essay and creative writing competitions. Think of the Mike Okonkwo national essay contest, the Nigerian Stock Exchange essay contest, and other ones. Just search for them on Google.

If you're really ambitious, you could consider international contests for young people.

Ensure you keep your grades up, and study diligently from SS 1 till SS 3. Study for and take the SAT and/or the ACT. Write stellar essays (so many guides exist online). International students who need financial aid find it most difficult to gain admission to top schools because funding for international students is limited.

Participate in clubs and be a great member of the club who always looks towards leading the club forward. Have great extracurricular activities by following your passions and pursuing them to the fullest.

Build great relationships with your teachers because they will have to write recommendation letters for you, and you want them to say you are the most spectacular student they have ever encountered in their lives.

If you need more guidance, consider applying to the Yale Young African Scholars program (https://africanscholars.yale.edu/) or the EducationUSA Program (https://ng.usembassy.gov/education-culture/exchange-programs/opportunity-fund/). You should also feel free to reach out to me. I've read extensively on the college application process, and I have Nigerian friends who have gotten into many American colleges, so it is safe to say I know what I'm saying.

Duke is a great school! I'm seriously considering applying there. If you're looking for a full-ride scholarship, then you could be aiming at the Robertson Leadership Scholars program or a full-need financial aid award. Either way, I'd suggest that you cast an extensive net. Like I said, international students who need financial aid find it most difficult to get into U. S colleges. But they've done it, so you can.

It's great that you're already thinking about the process at this age, but make sure you have some fun and form good relationships in school.

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