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6 or 7 Classes for Rising Juniors?

Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 3,849 Senior Member
edited March 2011 in Ask The Dean Topics
Question: Does it matter to the highly competitive colleges whether a junior takes 6 or 7 classes? I am an independent college advisor working with several sophomores who would like to take 2 APs and 4 other ’solids’, versus 7 classes of similar make-up. My sense is that they won’t be able to [...]

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Post edited by Sally_Rubenstone on

Replies to: 6 or 7 Classes for Rising Juniors?

  • smwhtslghtlydzedsmwhtslghtlydzed Registered User Posts: 1,556 Senior Member
    When looking at academic schedules, do colleges count course rigor above other things? Next year (Senior Year) I'll be in 4 AP classes and 1 honors class as well as a mentoring program, so to make room for this I dropped science (I won't be taking physics, instead taking a 1 semester elective in bioethics). Since the colleges I'm looking at don't require more than 3 years of science, will dropping science to make room for more history look ok if my schedule is still "most rigorous"?
  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 3,849 Senior Member
    smwhtslghtlydzed--If it were up to me, I'd say that your senior program sounds just fine. But ... depending where you're applying, admission officials may not be thrilled with your lack of a lab science. Your choice won't be a definite deal-breaker at any school, but it could disadvantage you at the more selective places.

    Personally, I'm irked by a system that doesn't give students enough leeway to follow their interests, but the way the current system works, the more selective colleges can penalize an applicant who isn't taking a "real" science in grade 12. But, in your case, if you've already taken a couple other rigorous sciences (e.g., AP Bio and AP Chem), then your senior program may not hurt you at all. Hard to say for sure.
  • smwhtslghtlydzedsmwhtslghtlydzed Registered User Posts: 1,556 Senior Member
    ok, thanks you your reply :) i haven't taken any AP sciences, only honors earth science then accelerated bio and chem, so i know it'll probably hurt me :( oh well, i think it's worth it even if it puts me at a disadvantage. i'll just hope that the fact that i'm challenging myself in other areas will make up for it...
  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 3,849 Senior Member
    I think you have the right attitude. Your 12th-grade science choice won't hurt you at the vast majority of colleges. At the hyper-picky places, it wouldn't be a total deal-breaker (as I noted above) but could be a tick in the "Cons" column when your folder is evaluated.

    Good luck!
  • mtnmommamtnmomma - Posts: 286 Junior Member
    Sally,

    I find it interesting that colleges don't give much weight to AP Statistics. I have been a math teacher for over 20 years, teaching both AP Calculus and AP Statistics. The two courses shouldn't really be compared at all. AP Statistics should be seen not as a math course, but as course that shows the students ability to synthesize information and come up with and effectively communicate a conclusion.

    You would be surprised how many of my very best math students cannot get a good grade in AP Stats because they can't think! They want to regurgitate formulas or to know "what type of problem" they are dealing with. If I was a college adcom, I would want to see students that can do both courses really well. I mean how many times do we hear that high schools don't teach students to think? Colleges should take into account that a 4 or 5 on this exam is meaningful.

    I wonder if they have ever looked at any relationships between a 4 or a 5 on AP Stats and college success in certain majors. I can't say that the opposite is true (low scores lead to poor college performance) as a lot of it is dependent on the quality of the instruction.

    Why do you think they automatically compare the two instead of looking at them individually?
  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 3,849 Senior Member
    It's not that colleges don't give much weight to AP Stats, but it tends to be treated as a something of a poor relation when compared to AP Calc--even if that's not justified. In recent years, however, I've certainly noticed that some teachers, counselors, and even admission folks are making the same points that you do in support of stats (and, in particular, stressing that AP Stats is a better fit for certain majors ... e.g., psychology). So perhaps there's some change in the wind.

    I think that the two--stats and calculus--are compared because it's common for high school students to end up in a position where they are choosing one or the other in their junior or senior year.

    But, even though AP Stats definitely has its supporters and no admission official will regard it with disdain, I think you'll still find that in the majority of admission offices at the most selective colleges, it doesn't garner the same respect as calculus does ... at least not yet.
  • jujubejujube Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    Re: AP Statistics, will admissions look down on it, if I've already taken AP BC Calc, and will be also be taking along with it H. Multivariable calculus/Linear Algebra my Senior year? (I'd rather take AP Stats, than an AP humanities or English course).
  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 3,849 Senior Member
    Re: AP Statistics, will admissions look down on it, if I've already taken AP BC Calc, and will be also be taking along with it H. Multivariable calculus/Linear Algebra my Senior year? (I'd rather take AP Stats, than an AP humanities or English course).

    Nope, no problem to take the stats class with that line-up already under your belt.

    Note also that some admission folks are fans of AP Stats. Not all will treat it like a second-class citizen. I personally an irked by those who do. It is not only a challenging class but also a better option for some students who are likely to pursue certain college majors or career fields where a strong stats background is helpful.
This discussion has been closed.