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Next Steps When Student Is Barred From Taking AP Class

CCEdit_TorreyCCEdit_Torrey Editor Posts: 205 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 Super Moderator Posts: 42,216 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.
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 Registered User Posts: 1,509 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).
  • EmpireappleEmpireapple Registered User Posts: 1,348 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.
  • UndercrackersUndercrackers Registered User Posts: 830 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.
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 5,160 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.
  • DCCAWAMIIAILDCCAWAMIIAIL Registered User Posts: 90 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.
  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 Registered User Posts: 3,077 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.
  • parentologistparentologist Registered User Posts: 121 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.
  • JoyGJoyG Registered User Posts: 42 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.
  • maya54maya54 Registered User Posts: 1,921 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.

  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 8,933 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.
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 Registered User Posts: 1,509 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.
  • houndmomhoundmom Registered User Posts: 248 Junior 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
  • DCCAWAMIIAILDCCAWAMIIAIL Registered User Posts: 90 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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