I could have exceptional grades, but instead I've spent all of my time on academic pursuits that have, if anything, had a negative affect on my grades. How could all of this impact my future? I can't help but think that I've already screwed it all up.
posted by csjc to Education (28 answers total)
I'm 15, and according to the normal schedule I should be going into 11th grade this September, but instead I decided to structure my schedule so that I completed half of 11th grade last year (in addition to all 10th grade courses + electives) and I'm in the process of completing the other half over this summer.
Here's my dilemma: Taking into account all the time I spend on my personal academic pursuits (I'll explain in a minute), I still haven't done as well as I should in my courses. My average is in the low 80s, with marks ranging from just over 50% to 99% (the better marks are in my preferred subjects, especially languages). Even though my schedule is rigorous, it's still no excuse. If I had any kind of work ethic when it comes to my classes, I'd have an average in the mid-90s, no question. I spend all my time agonising over my lack of work ethic, and the stress has become hard to handle. The real problem, however, is just how much time I do spend on academic pursuits in my not-really spare time. Spending 6 hours a day working on language skills and linguistic knowledge is normal for a school day (I do some of it in class), and 10+ hours is not unheard of on weekends. It's not that I don't have a life, because I *do*, I just choose to ignore it most of the time. I can't seem to befriend people in my age group, and that is partially why I chose the accelerated schedule. If it helps to give you an idea, I have mild-Aspergers and NLD (Non-verbal Learning Disorder). Anyway, that may be irrelevant.
I sacrificed this summer (well, the potential of 12-16 hours of language study per day) for school, and it has gone much worse than expected- I ended up with a 70 in English after a major bout of procrastination (did the whole course in one day), and failed math. I'm not even sure that I'd be able to apply to American universities (I'm Canadian) with an F on my 11th grade transcript, especially for a course that's usually required for admission (I'd be taking it again next year, but I haven't talked to my school counsellor yet). Most of what I'm going to apply with is finalised at this point, and I really can't bare the fact that my future is so dependent on a set of numbers that couldn't reflect the past few years any worse. Most people I know my age have already gotten into their groove when it comes to school. I haven't, and have no reason to think I will before I have the opportunity to study what I want.
Of course, I've had to show a great deal of ambition for my teachers and counsellor to allow me to take on such a workload, and I've already disappointed them. I'm not quite sure what my recommendations are going to look like, and how I should justify my grades in my personal statement. As for SATs, I'm taking them in October, and to be honest, I'm not really worried- 2100+ is most likely, but I shouldn't get arrogant. My extra-curriculars aren't that impressive, but I'll have to supplement that with various language certificates to prove the levels I've achieved on my own, in addition to tutoring languages. I should also mention that I intend to major in linguistics and/or a modern language, and I see graduate school as an integral part of my future, likely in Indo-European studies. My job goal is ideally to be a professor/"scholar" but after graduation I'd like to teach English around the world and foreign languages to high school students back home. Maybe do a bit of translation to. That's probably irrelevant but I'm just throwing everything out there.
If I do manage to graduate the year early, as intended, what advice could you offer? What are my chances for admission into "top-tier" universities? Is there anything I can do to improve my chances? Am I entirely out of the running for any scholarship money? I should also mention that, next year, I intend to do my best and make sure my 12th grade marks are good enough for Canadian universities (UBC and McGill, for example), as I can't rely on SAT scores there. And lastly, could anyone recommend schools that would be suitable for me (where I can actually get in!)? I'm open to any suggestions. Personality-wise, I'm better suited to a smaller school. At least from what I've been told.
I know it's a lot of questions, but any help is appreciated!