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MyDreamIsDuke
19 replies3 threads Junior Member

Hello,

I am finalizing my courses for my senior year soon, and I am stuck on what math class to take. I have taken Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus and AP Statistics (with A's in each). I am horrible at math and need a good teacher in order to succeed, so I avoided taking AP Calculus at my high school because the teacher is not good (she makes you learn from YouTube videos and packets while giving hard tests, and I don't want to ruin my 4.0 GPA over that). Because of this, I am in a tough spot finding a math class this year. I am afraid that what I may pick would look bad for colleges or less rigorous. I am applying to one top 10 college (specifically Duke, ED) and several top 20's. I have a few options:

I can take dual enrollment college algebra with the University of Florida, I can take Calculus with my local community college (which I'd rather not do since I already planned on taking UF classes and I'm not sure if its too late to switch), or I can take AP Calculus on Florida Virtual School (although I'm not sure my learning would be sufficient on an online math class).

Please let me know if you think I'm over thinking how much top colleges care about this. I'm actually pretty stressed out about it since I don't want to accidentally put myself at a disadvantage.

Thank you for any advice you can give!

41 replies I am finalizing my courses for my senior year soon, and I am stuck on what math class to take. I have taken Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus and AP Statistics (with A's in each). I am horrible at math and need a good teacher in order to succeed, so I avoided taking AP Calculus at my high school because the teacher is not good (she makes you learn from YouTube videos and packets while giving hard tests, and I don't want to ruin my 4.0 GPA over that). Because of this, I am in a tough spot finding a math class this year. I am afraid that what I may pick would look bad for colleges or less rigorous. I am applying to one top 10 college (specifically Duke, ED) and several top 20's. I have a few options:

I can take dual enrollment college algebra with the University of Florida, I can take Calculus with my local community college (which I'd rather not do since I already planned on taking UF classes and I'm not sure if its too late to switch), or I can take AP Calculus on Florida Virtual School (although I'm not sure my learning would be sufficient on an online math class).

Please let me know if you think I'm over thinking how much top colleges care about this. I'm actually pretty stressed out about it since I don't want to accidentally put myself at a disadvantage.

Thank you for any advice you can give!

## Replies to: What Math Class To Take Senior Year? If I Don't Take AP Calculus, Will I Look Bad To Top Colleges?

However, if you want to major in any STEM field, including Social Sciences, or in Business, you need calculus. If you find calculus to be extremely challenging, than, rather than take AP Calc, I would recommend that you reconsider majoring in a STEM field. On the other hand, if, by "really bad at math" you mean "I'll not be able to get an A, but I can manage a B" than perhaps your could consider Calc AB.

In short, if you want to major in a humanities field, you likely don't really need AP Calc, and you have your four years of math. If you can get a B in Calc AB, I think that a 3.98 with a B in AP Calc Ab would look better than a 4.0 without Calculus. However, others may have different advice.

Only on these forums is getting all A grades in math "horrible at math".

"College algebra" will duplicate much of the material in your precalculus course; it is mainly for students whose high school precalculus was low quality (based on math placement testing*), or who did not take precalculus in high school. Can you take calculus at UF?

What is your intended major? If it is any STEM field, business, or economics, you will need calculus anyway. Some other social studies fields may find calculus helpful for calculus-based statistics.

*You can try the quiz at http://math.buffalo.edu/rur/rurci3.cgi to check your knowledge of precalculus that will be needed for calculus.

I'm more surprised by the number of AP classes your senior year. Those aren't the toughest AP classes but it's still a lot. That said, if EC's are canceled this fall it might not be too stressful. You just want to give yourself enough time for essays. After the initial apps you'll still be writing a lot of essays for honors colleges and scholarships. My S20 was still writing into March.

Calculus in college will cover material at a faster pace than high school calculus AB (which covers about a semester or a little more of single variable calculus in college).

Economics majors commonly have to take calculus. At Duke, you would need to take two semesters of single variable calculus and a semester of multivariable calculus: https://econ.duke.edu/undergraduate/major-minors/ba-economics .

You should also get Calculus Problem Solver or similar book with worked problems https://www.amazon.com/Calculus-Problem-Solver-Solvers-Solution/dp/0878915052 which is like a SAT prep book focusing on a single subject. As your class covers a chapter then you find the matching one in the book and start working problems. Cover the answer, see if you can do it, check. Repeat until you're getting them right, and then the test will take care of itself.

Expect to spend 5-10 hours each week doing homework, reading the assigned material, and doing the extra problems on your own. Plenty of kids are smart enough to do well in math/science classes but they simply don't put in (or know to put in) the time it takes to succeed in these classes. Well, now you know. Whether you do the work is up to you.

How did you take five math classes in three years - did you do DE during the summer or online classes or all these official hs classes. Anyway, as others have posted, drop the non-core APs and find room for Calculus, it can be AB but it has to be taken in a high school setting.

Many, many students start Algebra in 8th, 7th, or even 6th grade. OP said nothing about "in three years" or "official high school classes". Not sure why that would even be relevant.

OP - "I didn't take the hard class because I didn't want to ruin my 4.0" is a brilliant way of completely turning off a college admissions officer. Take your HS Calc AB class. Facing challenges is a part of life.

The OP is probably pretty good in math, but just humble about it, a refreshing change for sure!

Making this excuse because you are afraid of your 4.0 makes me think that you only care about your GPA instead of learning something that might be helpful. In college, you will have professors that are good and bad. Sometimes you if its a required course and a bad professor is teaching it. Will you change your major and switch to English?

If I were you, take AP CALC and your future self will thank you. Get a tutor or even if you are near a college email professors and see if they have any students available to help you over zoom.