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Impact of dropping a class 2nd semester senior year?

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Replies to: Impact of dropping a class 2nd semester senior year?

  • eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 2,993 Senior Member
    @mathmom that is my H's perspective. He had similar issues in HS, had to double up in college with a tutor and ended up with similar feelings once he got it.

    I do think if he does have to take it, he will be ok.

    @calmom I suspect you are right, I really don't think it will impact his admittances and no...not going for MIT or engineering.

    I managed to graduate college from a very good school without ever taking a math class (logic fulfilled the req and I adored that class)...much to the dismay of my HS Alg3/Trig teacher who tried to keep me in math. Back then though I'd have only gotten as far as pre-calc in HS and that was the highest track we had.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 7,695 Senior Member
    He is lucky to have you and his dad too!
  • eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 2,993 Senior Member
    So the question is, when contacting the schools to explain the schedule change does he need to say "why" he made the change or just simply note/inform that there was a change and what the change was.

    I am mildly concerned that without an explanation schools may assume that the first semester grade for the class will be very poor and while it certainly wasn't ideal it is also livable from a transcript and overall gpa standpoint. Obviously they will get the transcripts from the school in the not-too-distant future I'm just wondering about the message that it sends without an explanation.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 20,677 Senior Member
    Some explanation is needed.
  • beth's mombeth's mom Registered User Posts: 3,302 Senior Member
    I think he made the right choice. It is good that he was self aware and knew that he needed to drop. When my daughter dropped an English course her 2nd semester senior year and notified her schools, none of them requested an explanation. I'd think through how he's going to explain it just in case, though.

    As for calculus . . . I took 2 semesters of it as a college freshman and I can honestly say that I never once used it (at least consciously) and cannot remember a single bit of it.
  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 18,387 Senior Member
    I'm not sure that an explanation is needed or is particularly helpful. I do think that the colleges should be informed, but your son might wait until after the midyear transcripts have been sent. But it might actually be better for your son to send a short email to the admissions officers assigned to him at each school and simply say, "I wanted to let you know that I have dropped my calculus class for the spring semester. Please let me know if you have any questions or need further information." It's a busy time of year for ad coms - so my guess is that it is as likely as not that they will not ask for anything further.

    I doubt that any college admitted him (or will admit) simply because he's got a calc course listed. They do like to see a full academic schedule, but they also see plenty of cases of senioritis where kids slack off at the end. (My son managed to pull a D in his French class for the final semester, after consistent A's for the other 3.5 years. Didn't make any difference at all to the college where he had placed a deposit.).

    So if the calc course wasn't instrumental in the admissions decision... why would a college care if it were dropped? Of course it would matter a huge deal for someone applying to a math-based or engineering program... but your son's strengths probably lie elsewhere, and the colleges are basing their decisions based on his strengths, not his weaknesses.
  • NASA2014NASA2014 Registered User Posts: 1,860 Senior Member
    Is he still thinking about majoring in this area? Sustainable/renewable energy engineering, environmental engineering, environmental science/environmental studies with focus areas in energy and/or policy.

    These majors require at least calculus 1 or 2.

    I know I can't change someone views, but for me I should keep going and see where it leads me. People don't like to fail because they believe is the end of their lifetime. But eventually you have to overcome that fear and sometimes you just have to get a grade you really deserve. Getting a B- or whatever won't be the reason why some colleges will reject your son. I'm a college student and last semester was my worst semester ever. Ended up with a 1.67 GPA. My overall GPA right now is 2.6. Anyways, the last semester I earned two Ds my first ever D in my academic career. Nobody likes failing a class and retaking it. I'm retaking calculus 1 the class I earned a D in.
  • menloparkmommenloparkmom Registered User Posts: 11,856 Senior Member
    my only caveat is that IF he applied to highly selective colleges that 'encourage"[ i.e. require] 4 years of Math, and his dropping AP Calc means he will only have 3 years, it may very well impact his chances of acceptance at those colleges. He absolutely needs to notify them of changes to his Sr schedule.
  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 18,387 Senior Member
    AP Calc is beyond a standard 4 year math track. (My daughter only had 2 years of high school math, but it counted as 3 because she she started on an advanced track with geometry as a freshman, algebra 2 as a sophomore ). Very few colleges insist on 4 years of math, but among those that do, it generally means that through pre-calc level-- not necessarily 4 calendar years.

    In any case, the OP has already posted: "not super selective schools, all EA admits" -- so it looks like these are all schools that have already admitted the student. In prior threads the OP referred to her son as a "solid B student" and reported an ACT of 24, and she's also listed the schools that admitted her son -- I seriously doubt than any of the schools she listed requires more than 3 years of high school math in any case.

    That's one reason I don't think the calc things matters much. With the schools he targeted, he has been competing in a field where most applicants probably aren't taking AP calc. It is also apparent from other posts that he OP's son is talented and accomplished musician and has impressive EC's - so lots of good things for an ad com to like. I just don't think there is any particular expectation that students admitted to that range of colleges will have completed AP Calc, or even that the admitted students will have taken the "most rigorous" curriculum offered by their high schools.

    No problem with all of that - this sounds like a great kid with a realistic understanding of what his target schools should be, and given that he's already holding a full deck of colleges that have already admitted him... I honestly think this is no big deal. Just as a test, I randomly checked the admission requirements of a couple of the colleges OP had previously said were under consideration. One requires "three units of mathematics beyond pre-algebra, including completion of algebra II"; another, "Mathematics (Algebra 1 and 2, and either Geometry or Pre-Calculus), Three Units"

    So the fact that OP-son has managed to complete one semester of AP Calc with a B- puts him ahead of the curve.
  • eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 2,993 Senior Member
    edited February 16
    Thanks all

    I believe he is going to simply inform but invite dialouge should they have any questions about the change.

    He has been admitted to all of his schools (7) all EA. To clarify these are not highly selective schools (acceptance rates are 59-82%). All matches or safeties. He is not a competitive applicant on stats alone and targeted appropriately. He has a 3.45 UW, medium rigor, 24C (25 superscore) with a math score of 24. I believe the dropping of the AP calc is fairly consistent with that ACT Math score to be honest.

    Only one of the schools wanted math beyond Alg 2 if memory serves. Or at least only one that is still on the list, we will likely skip contacting the school he has no intention of enrolling at. He would like to skip notifying 3 schools however one is a financial safety (that I can't imagine will care) and one he insisted on visiting in a couple of weeks despite being sure he will not enroll. Given that I am making him contact the former as it's the back up plan and then latter as I find it rude not to.

    @NASA2014 No to engineering and likely no to Environmental Science. Current track is primarily Environmental Studies, Environmental Policy, Sustainability Studies, Political Science and Energy Science. Almost all of the programs do not require calculus at all, they are either stats/econ based or offer other alternatives (logic etc). For a few, his pre-calc which was a DE class, waives the gen ed math requirement.

    That said, one school does ask for 4 years. It may or may not be an issue as they do note exceptions to the policy. Given that the 4 years requested only note through Algebra 2, one would hope that having precalc plus one semester of AP Calc would be sufficient and he did have 4.5 years of HS math, just not all actually at the HS (Alg 1 was in 8th grade). If that isn't sufficient then so be it. I feel they short changed him on merit anyways for their level of selectivity and where he falls in their quartiles. He would be disappointed if that happens but is willing to take the risk.

    He really should change his major within one of the schools to Environmental Studies versus Environmental Science but as they are both within the same college I don't know that it is an issue. I don't honestly recall if he was given both options within that college at application time and I seem to think not as he put a different college (but still environmental science) as his second choice. Either way he met the admission requirements for the school in general as well as the specific college at the school without the Calc. We will be at that school in 2 weeks and it can be done then.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 60,225 Senior Member
    Ok, if he does not need calculus for his college major or college general education, then he should be fine dropping it and not worrying about it being a faster paced course in college.

    However, any changes to previously reported in progress senior year course work should be reported to all colleges applied to, because colleges may rescind admission offers if the senior year course work shown on the final high school transcript does not match the previously reported in progress course work. If any have already admitted him, he should contact them to make sure that dropping the course will not cause admission to be rescinded.
  • LoveMyPuppiesLoveMyPuppies Registered User Posts: 88 Junior Member
    We just went through the process with totally optional AP Psych. We decided to drop it because I realized that his poor performance in just one course was caused by a conflict with the teacher and he absolutely refused to remain in her class. For someone with 99% in AP Bio, AP Psych is a joke and he should be able to perform, but he chose not to. He applied early and already has all decisions except one.

    Find out if the colleges you are applying to require mid-year reports. Not all are asking for it, but our Guidance just sends it to all schools unless told otherwise.

    “He does not feel he can pass the semester”. In our school the course will still show up on the transcript – will his mid-year read “Withdraw/Fail” or “Withdraw/pass”? If it will be Withdraw/Fail, is there anything he can do to make it Withdraw-Pass? It seems like you already made your decision.


  • eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 2,993 Senior Member
    His transcript will show a B- for first semester. It will not be listed on the transcript at all for 2nd semester.

    Mid year will include semester 1 only on the transcript and the report will show the adjusted schedule but not list it as a withdrawal it just simply is no longer part of his schedule.
  • eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 2,993 Senior Member
    Our school automatically sends a midyear report which includes an updated transcript. Not all of his schools require (most do) but frankly I would just as soon have it go out and get it over with and deal with whatever consequences there are ( if any). If we tell them not to send that they will do so but I'd rather not take the risk.

    They are holding off on sending his report until we confirm with the schools as technically he would have for tomorrow to change his mind.
  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia Registered User Posts: 2,456 Senior Member
    @eandesmom It sounds like you did the right thing. If you want to offer any explanation, I'd simply say that he finished the first semester with a B- and would be happy to provide additional information if desired.

    I hope he can de-stress and enjoy the balance of his senior year. Congrats on the many acceptances. It's nice to have choices!
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