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Classes to take in high school

CalvinTBODCalvinTBOD Posts: 869Registered User Member
edited May 2011 in College Admissions
When I go to college, I plan on majoring in Economics and double minoring in Philosophy and Environmental Studies. I'm planning on taking AP Statistics in 11th grade and AP Calculus BC in 12th grade. However, I am eligible to take AP Calculus BC in 11th grade and Multivariable Calculus in 12th grade.

So which route should I take? I can probably pull out a total of 4.0 GPA with the AP Stat/Calc combo, but if I take AP Calc/Mult combo, I'd pull out with a 3.8 GPA at best. If I plan on majoring in Economics, do I need that deep of a math concentration? Also, the schools I'm looking into are Stanford (epic reach), Georgetown, and U of S Cali. Thanks in advance!
Post edited by CalvinTBOD on

Replies to: Classes to take in high school

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 36,291Registered User Senior Member
    Students who want to go to graduate school in economics or go into some job like quantitative finance or actuarial work should consider going to a school with a math-oriented economics program. Typically, this means that the intermediate microeconomics course requires multivariable calculus (you can check the course catalogs). Adding a minor or second major in math or statistics may help in this case.

    AP Calculus BC is considered a much more rigorous and impressive course than AP Statistics, and it is also much more useful for credit at most universities. Would it be fair to say that since you are considering it in 11th grade, you are one of the top students in math (when I was in high school, reaching calculus in 11th grade was rare -- perhaps one student every few years)? If so, take AP Calculus BC in 11th grade. Then in 12th grade, you have the option of taking multivariable calculus or other university sophomore level math like linear algebra or differential equations, or calculus-based statistics that will likely be required for an economics major (check your local community colleges for transferable courses in these subjects).
  • CalvinTBODCalvinTBOD Posts: 869Registered User Member
    Generally, people who take AP Calculus in 11th grade are the ones exceptional at Math that were willing to study for the Geometry Regents so they can skip that course Freshmen year. I have one other friend in my grade who's doing the same thing.

    But she's planning on becoming a doctor. I'm planning on becoming a lawyer. I just thought Economics would be a nice major since I was decent at Math and it would be a viable career path if I don't end up going to law school for any reason.

    Thank you for your input! :]
  • KudryavkaKudryavka Posts: 867Registered User Member
    I wouldn't go for easier classes just for a couple tenths of a GPA point. If you can perform well in Calc BC and Mult, do it.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 36,291Registered User Senior Member
    Undergraduate admissions committees do consider whether the student took the most rigorous courses available to him/her. AP Calculus BC will look a lot more rigorous than AP Statistics.

    Law and medical school admissions committees are more likely to consider GPA without considering how difficult your schedule was, or how much grade inflation your undergraduate school had relative to its student competitiveness.

    Math heavy majors tend to have better job and career prospects than most other majors at the bachelor's degree level. If you are really one of the top students in math, you may want to consider economics with math or some other math heavy major (e.g. statistics, computer science, math, or combination). However, be aware that math tends to have less grade inflation than humanities at most universities. So a math heavy major may have a lesser chance at a top law school, but have better job and career opportunities if s/he does not go to law school.
  • CalvinTBODCalvinTBOD Posts: 869Registered User Member
    I feel like if I don't end up going to law school, I'd rather be an Economist with a background in Philosophy and Environmental Studies than an Economist with a Math supplement. Despite the fact that the Math supplement would be much more valued by employers. I personally want to double major in just Philosophy and Environmental Studies, but my parents are all up in my face about the whole "potentially lucrative careers" thing. So we agreed that if I at least major in Economics, they'll allow me to minor in the two other subjects.

    But anyways, you guys agree that it's better for me to take AP Calc BC -> Mult Calc & AP Stats than AP Stats -> AP Calc BC? Also, I found out today that Multivariable Calculus isn't really an "official" class so I won't be receiving a grade on it (would colleges see that as anything?) - I was planning on doubling that with AP Statistics, so there will be no GPA difference, just that my Senior GPA will now be higher than my Junior GPA rather than vice versa. Which I kind of regret, but I suppose it doesn't outweigh the pursuit of challenging courses idea.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 36,291Registered User Senior Member
    If you take AP Calculus BC as a junior, check for transferable multivariable calculus and calculus-based statistics courses at local community colleges for senior year. If you take them, you will then have much of the math needed for the "more math" type of economics major. Depending on the school, you may be able to take economics major electives in both mathematical economics / finance and environmental economics.

    Multivariable calculus in high school, especially if it is an "unofficial" course with no grade, may be less likely to be accepted than multivariable calculus in community college.
  • CalvinTBODCalvinTBOD Posts: 869Registered User Member
    Well the Multivariable Calculus class is sponsored through a community college. We can get college credits from it. It just doesn't go into our GPA. But there are a few other classes that offer "college credits" which pretty much aren't accepted anywhere outside of SUNY schools (I live in NY).
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