"You gotta do what you gotta do" but do I really have to do it?
So I hate history,
I'm good at literature/writing, I don't like it but I can tolerate it if it'll get me where I want,
And I adore all the sciences.
I'm a rising junior, and I've already picked out all of the classes I will be taking next year. Buut. Now that it's summer and moms are all talking about college, GPA, and ECAs, I'm starting to hear lots of different things about pretty much everything.
I'm hearing from lots of moms that you've just gotta take as many AP and Honors classes possible, even if you don't like them, to get into a good college. Is this true? I was about to email my history teach to ask if she could bump me up to AP (!) but I thought I'd regret it later so I'm asking you guys.
-Is it really worth taking an AP class for a subject you hate? I guess another was to put this is: Will colleges (I guess Dartmouth is my primary goal for now) see a non-AP class and see that as a lack of quality/devotion/determination in a student?
Also on ECs. Pretty much the only thing I did in Sophomore year was Track. I was just in JV (aka everyone else apart from Varsity), and I'm planning on running track again for Junior and Senior year.
-Is it worth doing this in junior year? I heard the workload is suffocating if you're taking several AP classes at once. The reason I really don't want to not do this is because I heard from students and parents alike that you have to be consistent with your sports/arts/community service, but I also don't want to fail junior year! A total bummer because I didn't continue band in 10th grade and now I'm gonna be taking choir next year. Yeah... My parents totally weren't and aren't college savvy.
Er I think that's about it.
I guess while I'm at it, I should also ask about AP tests.
How do colleges look at AP tests that you didn't take classes for. Is that good, bad, ugly ^^?
Let me just add that I hate my school located in beautiful, wonderful California, where 10% of the US youth get top-notch public education!
You will be evaluated based on you taking the most rigorous curriculum that your school offers and doing well in those courses. If the highest level courses are AP courses, you should be taking APs. If it is honors courses, then you should be stretching to take honors classes. If your school offers a slew of AP courses, and you have only taken 1 or 2, you will be viewed as taking the path of least resistance. In short, yes, you take AP US history and do well!!
While you do not have to submit official AP scores until after admission, you self report them on your application. Dartmouth will give you credit for a 5
On the one hand, sybbie is right: you should take the most rigorous curriculum, etc. OTOH, if you really hate history, it shouldn't kill your applications to take an honors-level rather than AP history course, provided that you are taking all AP courses in your math and sciences. I think the expectation that everyone should always take all the APs available to them is too absolute: some schools offer many more AP courses than a single person could take, some schools limit the number you can take, some schools simply don't offer many. If AP history will make you turn purple, or if it will require a truly inordinate amount of work compared with the stuff you enjoy, or if you know in your heart you're going to bail on it, don't take AP history. If your school offers lots of AP courses in the subjects you excel in, take those courses. If you take AP English, you can show that you are literate.
As far as extra curriculars go, there are many things you can do, in and out of school; I don't think not running JV track would show inconsistency, necessarily, if you replace it with something meaningful to you. Just dropping it and joining a couple of clubs would not be a good move, though.
Just to make myself clear: it would be better if you took the AP course. But taking it and failing would be worse than not taking it, and you are the one who knows whether you can suck it up and do the work or not. In other words, not taking one AP course will probably not be the reason you don't get into Dartmouth, if you don't get in; an application that is very strong in other ways will still be strong without that AP, and your application will have to be very strong to get in.
I was in your situation several years ago and am now a science major at Dartmouth.
I didn't feel like taking AP US History my junior year, so I took summer school US History instead. My junior year, I took AP Chem, AP English Language, Honors PreCalc, and Honors Spanish (along with choir, orchestra, and an independent study in art). At the end of the year, I took the AP Studio Art and AP Music Theory exams in addition to Chem and English.
Someone else in my class took summer school US History and ended up at Princeton.
Don't take AP US History if you don't want to. Enjoy life.
My son will be an entering freshman. He also had an aversion to history classes but took honors 8th , 9th and 10th. In 11th he took regular 12th grade Econ and PIG. All of his other classes junior and senior year were APs...including AP Lang. He loaded up on the sciences and math because he liked them and senior year he took AP Chem, AP Phys C, Honors Science Research, AP Calc BC and AP Japanese...no english nor history... Flourished senior year because he loved all of his classes.
I think it's better to take the classes that you love! Good luck to you!