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Next Steps When Student Is Barred From Taking AP Class

CCEdit_TorreyCCEdit_Torrey 31 replies297 threads Editor
You want to take a specific AP class, but you don't meet your high school's prerequisite. Should you appeal? Find out here. https://www.collegeconfidential.com/articles/next-steps-when-student-is-barred-from-taking-ap-class/
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Replies to: Next Steps When Student Is Barred From Taking AP Class

  • skieuropeskieurope 39614 replies7192 threads Super Moderator
    edited January 23
    She had a meeting with her counselor where she was told she can’t take AP Physics next year because she didn’t get an A or B in her previous physics class.
    I don’t want her applying to college with 11 APs when students from nearby schools will have more.
    Taking 11 AP classes when all those APs impacts the grade (as they did here) is certainly going to be more detrimental than not being able to take one specific AP class.

    One other thing that @Sally_Rubenstone did not mention: most high schools prioritize staffing to ensure that courses required for graduation are covered before assigning teachers to elective classes. So if an AP class is at capacity, it's not likely that an additional section can be rolled out. So in that case, prioritization based on past grades (and class year) is fair and equitable.
    edited January 23
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2355 replies45 threads Senior Member
    "If your daughter is applying to that handful of hyper-selective places where missing out on AP Physics, when it’s offered at her high school, might indeed be a liability, then the sub-B grade that she earned in her initial physics class will probably hurt her more than having one fewer notch on her AP belt."

    Bingo! Clearly the kid did NOT take to Physics the first go around, so sticking her in the class at an AP level is not going to be a recipe for academic success (or family harmony).
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1807 replies27 threads Senior Member
    At our large suburban high school it is nearly impossible to get into A.P. classes and very difficult to get into honors classes. Very bright and strong students miss out.
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  • UndercrackersUndercrackers 872 replies2 threads Member
    Why set your kid up for failure unnecessarily? Barring any mitigating circumstances, getting a C in a non-AP level physics class does not bode well for success in a college-level-adjacent class (AP's are and are not like college classes). And 11 is A LOT of classes. A vice principal friend from a different uber-academically competitive HS really urged D not to sacrifice her GPA by overloading on AP classes. A 4.0 unweighted GPA and 6 AP's got her into Cal, where is she is excelling.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7636 replies61 threads Senior Member
    My dd found AP Physics C much more rigorous than H Physics. If a student isn't able to get a B in H, the school is doing that child a favor by denying access to the AP class.
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  • DCCAWAMIIAILDCCAWAMIIAIL 141 replies3 threads Junior Member
    edited January 23
    I would be grateful that there are restrictions to prevent students from making poor choices in classes. @Undercrackers has it right - why set up your kid for failure? The rules are not there to be arbitrary but to provide some sanity to course selection.

    A classmate of my daughter's failed the first semester of APUSH - and surprisingly to all of us, was allowed to take the second semester of APUSH - which, you guessed it, she failed as well. So summer school US history was on the docket for her. I wish the counselor had stepped in and prevented that second semester failure as well.
    edited January 23
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 4150 replies89 threads Senior Member
    I think it is important though that there be an appeal process available, as opposed to a hard and fast rule on cutoffs.

    In the first semester of my kid’s sophomore year in HS, he had a B+ in his World History class which meant no go for APUSH the following year. My kid pestered the teacher so much about allowing him to take APUSH that he wrote me a note on his persistence. He was actually a real ass about it, insisting that he wouldn’t approve the class no matter what his arguments were. I wrote back that his mother had passed away 6 months prior and that was really affecting everything, something that my kid did not and could not express at the time. I got the teacher to finally agree to re-evaluate at the end of the year. He got an A the second half and was allowed to go onto APUSH.
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  • parentologistparentologist 162 replies11 threads Junior Member
    Another option for a highly motivated student who has been barred from an AP class that they really DO have the ability to succeed in, is to go to Modernstates.org and take the class online for free, and just take the AP exam, without having taken the AP class in the high school. It's got to look pretty impressive if you can get a 4 or a 5 on an AP without ever having taken the class. It could even be used as a hook for an admission essay, about how your persistence as a motivated, self-directed learner allowed you to overcome the lack of available seats in AP classes at your high school.
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  • JoyGJoyG 35 replies11 threads Junior Member
    Or maybe just sign up as a non matriculated student at a local community college and take gen ed classes for actual guaranteed transferable credit. Many of them are online and you don't even have to go to campus.
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  • maya54maya54 2188 replies90 threads Senior Member
    Wow. Here at our large suburban HS you can always choose to override the schools placement. I guess enough of the parents are lawyers or have the money to pay one that the school doesn’t want to risk the “you’ve discriminated against my kid because of gender or learning disability or some other bad reason” lawsuit.

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  • LindagafLindagaf 9387 replies502 threads Senior Member
    edited January 24
    The more I think about this, the more it angers me. Really mom? You would pull your kid out of her current school, missing her senior year with her friends, making her adjust to a new environment, for the sake of an AP class that literally will not make one iota of difference to her chances of getting into a top school? AND, a class that she has little chance of doing well in, most likely at the expense of good grades in an undoubtedly heavy schedule? That’s beyond ridiculous.

    FWIW, my daughter appealed and was allowed into AP Stats. She wasn’t in the advanced math track, so they said she couldn’t take AP stats until she was a senior. That wasn’t going to work with her schedule, so she appealed based on her very strong grades in all her then-classes. She got straight A’s in AP Stats, and in fact, as a junior in college, excels in stats so much that she was hired as a campus stats tutor. Sometimes appeals are justified. Not when a student can’t get a B in a regular level class though.
    edited January 24
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2355 replies45 threads Senior Member
    "go to Modernstates.org and take the class online for free, and just take the AP exam, without having taken the AP class in the high school. It's got to look pretty impressive if you can get a 4 or a 5 on an AP without ever having taken the class."

    Show me a C-student who has time for a free non-credited online class plus time to study for an AP exam, and I'll show you someone who, if they are hoping to get into a decent college, has their priorities in the wrong place. Don't get me wrong - colleges appreciate intellectual curiosity - but the preferred way to show it is to do well in the regular classes (whether they are APs or not) and participate in ECs in a meaningful way.


    "Or maybe just sign up as a non matriculated student at a local community college and take gen ed classes for actual guaranteed transferable credit."

    DE's can be enriching and beneficial, but for a student having difficulty in high school level classes, DE's are a sharp, double-edged sword. Dual enrollment grades follow the student, sometimes becoming part of their college GPAs. All grades from college classes must be sent when applying for 4-year colleges AND to graduate school. Some state schools make students ineligible for financial aid if their GPA goes below a certain level. Do poorly in college classes taken while in high school and a student could find himself/herself shut out from financial aid at his/her own state's colleges before he/she has even graduated high school.


    Whether a student has 2 or 4, 8 or 17 AP classes is, in large part, a factor of high school policies. Some schools don't permit freshmen or sophomores to take ANY AP classes. Others do, but limit the number. Others schools are limitless (when you hear of a kid with 15+ APs, they're probably from this kind of restriction-free school). Some schools have four or five periods a day (block schedule), some have 6, 7, 8 or 9. Some schools have more graduation requirements than others, and those classes aren't usually APs, or even weighted. Some schools don't offer APs at all because they are on the IB system or because they believe their own honors curriculum is superior. That's why the sheer number of APs on the transcript is hardly the most useful point of comparison among applicants.
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  • houndmomhoundmom 320 replies11 threads Member
    @maya54 Same. I see parents override teacher recommendations all the time. I also see a lot of really stressed, tense kids!

    I am the only one who has never heard of a kid taking a class ie Physics, then retaking it as an AP? In my world, if the student took Physics H, it's a done deal and time for another science class
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  • DCCAWAMIIAILDCCAWAMIIAIL 141 replies3 threads Junior Member
    At my daughter's school, they offer Physics (full year) and then AP Physics C (Mechanics) for which the first class is the prerequisite.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 39614 replies7192 threads Super Moderator
    edited January 24
    I am the only one who has never heard of a kid taking a class ie Physics, then retaking it as an AP?
    There are 4 AP Physics classes, although schools generally don't offer all 4.

    AP Physics 1 is almost always a first physics course.
    AP Physics C :Mechanics almost always requires AP Physics 1 or Physics CP or H (plus calculus concurrently or as a prereq). If you want to see stressed kids, look at the ones that somehow managed to take AP Physics C as their first physics course.

    AP Physics 2 usually has AP Physics 1 as a prereq
    AP Physics C: E&M usually has AP Physics C: Mech as a prereq (or both mech and E&M are taught as a single course, but with 2 AP exams)
    edited January 24
    Post edited by skieurope on
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  • houndmomhoundmom 320 replies11 threads Member
    That makes more sense. Clearly my kids just took regular ole Physics 😌
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1149 replies16 threads Senior Member
    Our school, and almost all those in the area, have Honors Physics and then Calculus-based AP Physics C as a sequence/pre-requisite. I don't think any offer AP Physics 1 or 2, which are algebra-based and typically not accepted for college credit, as least at the STEM majors we looked at. Most schools required a 5 on the AP exam, and even then encouraged kids to still take it. As noted above, AP Physics in HS is significantly different from most freshman physics classes for science/engineering majors.
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  • damon30damon30 1147 replies5 threads Senior Member
    edited January 25
    I don't think any offer AP Physics 1 or 2, which are algebra-based and typically not accepted for college credit, as least at the STEM majors we looked at.

    Many colleges do offer credit for AP Physics 1 or 2, but Physics and Engineering majors only accept AP Physics C or college Physics with Calculus. For example Penn and Brown accept AP Physics 1 and 2 credit with scores of 5: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/college-university-search/brown-university (Click "Applying/AP") If you take and get a high score on both Physics 1 and Physics C Mechanics exams, then you will only get credit for one of them.
    edited January 25
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78639 replies697 threads Senior Member
    damon30 wrote:
    Many colleges do offer credit for AP Physics 1 or 2

    However, since AP physics 1 and 2 correspond to physics for biology majors, which is often taken by pre-meds, getting credit can be a dilemma for pre-meds. Some medical schools do not accept AP credit in place of pre-med course requirements, although they may accept higher level courses (but there are typically no higher level courses after physics for biology majors). But repeating AP physics 1 and 2 credit with physics for biology majors in college means looking like a grade-grubber to medical schools reading the application.
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