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Will I still get into a good* college if I only take up to precalculus?

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Replies to: Will I still get into a good* college if I only take up to precalculus?

  • futurecollege00futurecollege00 Registered User Posts: 339 Member
    I have a broad, balanced list, but I also set myself high standards. I'm just super anxious because yes, there are a lot of great things I could do, but I can never get up the nerve to actually do them.

  • Dancingmom518Dancingmom518 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    My D20 is in the same situation. Last year we had a meeting with her school's math department heads because she was thinking of doubling up on geometry and algebra II in her sophomore year. They said the best way for her to get to calculus in her senior year is to take a precalculus course that the school offers over the summer, or an online option, the summer between her junior and senior years, because the curriculum for precalculus is much lighter than geometry or algebra II here in New York state and would be more amenable to taking an abbreviated course.
  • AroundHereAroundHere Registered User Posts: 1,931 Senior Member
    I'm just super anxious because yes, there are a lot of great things I could do, but I can never get up the nerve to actually do them.

    So, really, this isn't about your lack of opportunities, it's about your anxiety. Maybe find a psychologist and work on that, then figure out college?
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 61,522 Senior Member
    There are not that many US universities which explicitly require or expect frosh applicants to have calculus while in high school, although many frosh applicants at more competitive ones will have it.

    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-admissions/2015601-what-us-universities-explicitly-state-that-calculus-is-required-or-expected-for-frosh-applicants.html

    There may also be a difference in the eyes of admission readers between not taking calculus due to middle school placement at normal level (that reaches precalculus in 12th grade) and completing precalculus in 11th grade but then choosing not to take calculus in 12th grade.
  • futurecollege00futurecollege00 Registered User Posts: 339 Member
    But practically everyone else ever starts planning in, like, 6th grade what classes they're going to take, extracurriculars, etc., etc. There are freshmen out there taking AP calculus. What am I compared to them???
  • bodanglesbodangles Registered User Posts: 7,842 Senior Member
    edited September 7
    But practically everyone else ever starts planning in, like, 6th grade what classes they're going to take, extracurriculars, etc., etc.

    Those people aren't even the majority on this site, so you can imagine how low the percentage is in the real world. I would wager most students take whatever classes they take, and participate in whatever they want to participate in, and then start thinking about college late junior year or over the following summer. You are not late; you are ahead of the game.

    There are freshmen out there taking AP calculus.

    And in some cases failing miserably at it because it's too advanced for them. As for the miracle workers breezing through calculus at 14, we mere mortals don't compare ourselves to them. Aspiring writers don't compare themselves to Shakespeare. Aspiring artists don't compare themselves to van Gogh. Math students don't compare themselves to prodigies who were doing long division at two years of age. It's pointless and just invites undeserved feelings of inferiority.

    What am I compared to them???

    A fellow student who is also going to get into college and do just fine in life.
  • CottonTalesCottonTales Registered User Posts: 463 Member
    edited September 7
    Planning in 6th grade????? My kid and I didn't even discuss college, other that she would go somewhere until the summer before her senior year of High School. I assure you she did more than just fine.
  • futurecollege00futurecollege00 Registered User Posts: 339 Member
    "we mere mortals don't compare ourselves to them"
    "It's [comparing] pointless and just invites undeserved feelings of inferiority"

    Tell me those aren't contradictory statements.

    Overall though, I understand what you are saying. And just to touch on something someone else said, I would love to be able to tell my counselor everything that is going on in my head but she's so nice and sweet and she thinks I'm not screwed up anymore.
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 2,031 Senior Member
    "The Ivies and their ilk are a long shot for pretty much everyone."

    Entirely correct.

    @futurecollege00 relax, you will do well. There are a LOT of very good universities with strong premed programs, and you will get into a good one as long as you have appropriate grades and other stats.

    I graduated high school a LONG time ago, so I am not sure whether my experience matters. However, I also only took up to precalculus in high school for the simple reason that my high school did not offer calculus. I nonetheless got into a top university (actually two, but I only went to one at the time) and was a math major. One positive from this experience: My freshman year calculus course was relatively small, because most of the freshmen at my undergrad university had already taken calculus in high school.
  • bodanglesbodangles Registered User Posts: 7,842 Senior Member
    I don't see the contradiction.

    Imagine you're in the top 1% of students. You look up at the top 0.1% and feel like an idiot. But that ignores the fact that in the grand scheme of things, there are 99% of people below you on the scale.
  • MSU88CHEngMSU88CHEng Registered User Posts: 168 Junior Member
    edited September 7
    Granted, it was a LONG time ago, but one of my best friends in high school got into (and excelled at) Caltech, majoring in physics, without taking calculus in high school. Our high school simply didn't offer calculus at that time. Admissions realize that not all high schools do everything, and kids who are bright do their own thing and shine with the opportunities that they have. He self studied some calculus the summer before he started college, but he was perfectly FINE in college. Theres no need to compare yourself to others. Try to chill and be who YOU are, having fun, learning, exploring, and discovering your own path.
  • MSU88CHEngMSU88CHEng Registered User Posts: 168 Junior Member
    Yes, you need to just chill. Your success in life is not dependent on taking calculus in high school. I didn't, and went on (to what you would consider a non-elite school) to a very successful B.S. in chemical engineering which led to a top 10 PhD program. I graduated with my PhD, found a job, and was advancing. By my own choice, I downshifted to be able to have a family life (and this is a topic for another thread which I'm not in the mood to get into right now) , but I'm happy, challenged, and fulfilled by my career, and I'm in the process of launching 2 kids into the college world. My friend I mentioned before went on to get his PhD in physics from Caltech and is very successful. Another of the superstars in our high school class (that didn't have the option of taking calculus) went to Notre Dame for undergrad and then on to med school (I can't remember where), and is a successful doctor. We're all fine, and you will be, too.
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