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Am I taking enough APs for the schools I want to get into?

ab2002ab2002 Registered User Posts: 640 Member
I am currently halfway through my sophomore year and I am just starting to become paranoid. I didn’t take any APs freshman year as they’re not offerred at my school. This year I’m taking AP Euro and AP Psych. Next year I am planning on taking AP Microeconomics, AP English Language and Composition, AP U.S. History and possibly an additional AP course. By the time I finish high school I will have 9-10 APs under my belt, but is this enough? I want to get into UMich, Notre Dame, Emory, NYU (contacted me asking for me to update them on high school stuff), CMU, UCLA, Dartmouth or Duke.
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Replies to: Am I taking enough APs for the schools I want to get into?

  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 Registered User Posts: 1,054 Senior Member
    Yes, it isn't an AP arms race. Many times an AP class isn't even the hardest in the department. For example, AP Stats is way easier than non AP Calc. Many top schools limit or don't offer APs. My DS HS until recently only allowed 2 APs and only for seniors. They had no issues sending students to top 10 schools. Just so you know, UMich and UCLA will be +$65k/year. I know where you live an what your mother does. Make sure that you understand your family finances and what your parents are willing to pay.
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 40,969 Super Moderator
    The conventional wisdom is that over 6-8 APs will not add much to the application. There may be valid reasons to take more, but college admissions is not one of them. Only take the # of AP's you can handle. If your GPA tanks, it will not help your case. As stated above, many high schools limit the number of Apps that freshman and sophomores can take, so your situation is not unique.

    Why do you have a UPenn avatar if that's not one of your target schools? :D
  • JenniferClintJenniferClint Registered User Posts: 311 Member
    You don't want to go to Penn?
  • ab2002ab2002 Registered User Posts: 640 Member
    Yes, but the Ivies are unpredictable, so I have to be realistic too.
  • needtosucceed27needtosucceed27 Registered User Posts: 434 Member
    Those should be enough. There's not a number of APs that is "enough" for any particular school; it varies greatly with the individual applicant, what their high school offered, what extracurriculars they partook in, etc...

    By the time I graduate from high school, I would have taken around 13-14 AP classes at my school. So far, I've taken an AP class my freshman year and am currently taking two my sophomore year. I will be taking 5 next year, and 5-6 during the following year. My school is more AP-intense with top students taking around the same number of APs as I am, so the number of AP classes a student takes really depends on what the school offers.

    Also, keep in mind to not take AP classes because you think you need to do more to look better on college applications. For me, AP classes so far have been a breeze, so I'm taking AP because I'm interested in learning more and improving myself. Although AP classes tend to be on the easier side for me, but it can be challenging sometimes, which is much better than being bored in an honors class.
  • Marg532Marg532 Registered User Posts: 448 Member
    I will have taken 5 AP classes out of the 8 that my school offers by the end of this year (my senior year), and I've taken some of the most as it pertains to my class. I've taken all 2 English classes, and the 3 histories that my school offers (World, US, and US Gov). Most in my grade didn't take any of the histories, and if they did, enrollment in each course dropped considerably each year until now. Most took AP Lang last year, but only a handful are taking AP Lit this year. And a large amount of my class are taking AP Bio this year, but are very overwhelmed with it.

    My rambling is basically to emphasize that the number you take doesn't necessarily hold very much power, only when compared to the number your school offers and when compared to your classmates at your school. Only one person that I know of has taken all 8 of our AP classes, and he is hailed as a sort of "legend" by those who care about school and APs.
  • ab2002ab2002 Registered User Posts: 640 Member
    The reason I care is because for one, I need to be in the top 10% of my class (about 380 people in my class). The second reason why is that I need to be able to compete against people in my area who are also applying to these schools. @Eeyore123 I know a lot of people say the ranking “doesn’t matter,” but if you’re applying to grad school, won’t they care where you went undergrad?
  • WaterborneWaterborne Registered User Posts: 231 Junior Member
    edited December 2017
    What you need is a big spike. Why are you taking AP Euro? Why are you taking AP Psych? Why are you taking AP micro? Why are you taking AP Lang? Why did you choose those classes over another activity? What ECs do you have?

    What it looks like is that you are well-rounded, but you do not really stand out. Why not double up on college psychology next year or college humanities classes and/or do research instead of taking both? Your schedule in itself is strong, but it is nothing special. Dual enrollment is weighted the same as AP.

    What you do matters more than where you go. Top universities are often perceived as harder, but that does not necessarily mean that you cannot make your own opportunities at a "lesser" college.

    GPA is just heuristic. What really matters is the story behind it.
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 4,869 Senior Member
    "if you’re applying to grad school, won’t they care where you went undergrad?"

    I went to a very highly ranked university for my Master's degree (ranked #1 in the world for my major). There were students there who had done their undergrad all over the place. There were a lot of students who had done their undergrad at their in-state public flagship school. What they all had in common -- they all had been very strong undergraduate students.

    Regarding your applications for undergraduate schools, I agree with @skieurope (and others) on two points: "over 6-8 APs will not add much", and "If your GPA tanks, it will not help your case". Be careful not to try to do too much.
  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 Registered User Posts: 1,054 Senior Member
    My experience is very similar to @DadTwoGirls .Although my grad school was only top 10 :(( . The range of "acceptable" schools is huge. Take a look at the undergrad of people that got into Harvard Law http://hls.harvard.edu/dept/jdadmissions/apply-to-harvard-law-school/undergraduate-colleges/?redir=1
    Someone got in from St Xavier University (not Xavier University in Cincinnati). If you use the US News ranking (with a grain of salt) they are 64th in Midwest Region. That would put them +500 in an overall ranking.
  • ab2002ab2002 Registered User Posts: 640 Member
    @waterborne According to the College Board, all of the classes on my schedule relate to my major. I am the President and Founder of the Political Science Club, Class Officer in SC (elected — going to run for VP for junior year), a Student Body Leader, a member of the school district’s student board, a student ambassador and hopefully joining NHS (running for leadership).
  • WaterborneWaterborne Registered User Posts: 231 Junior Member
    edited December 2017
    @ab2002 Just because it at least loosely relates to your major does not mean that it necessarily is the best class for you to take. College Board is a joke resource for that because they exaggerate the edge that people get from taking AP tests in order to sell. They are a company primarily out to make a profit. Statistics can be manipulated very easily and it makes it extremely easy to lie with them.

    I am guessing you probably are pursuing a degree in political science. This may not be the best course of action for you. For example, politicians come from mostly lawyer or business backgrounds and are "people people". Most political work they do comes from thin-slicing and leadership skills. If you are going that route, work on what is important to succeed in that career and not what you think looks good.
  • ab2002ab2002 Registered User Posts: 640 Member
    edited December 2017
    @Waterborne I’m planning on going to law school after undergrad. What do you recommend to take, because I can’t take any AP government classes until senior year. How is the College Board a joke? It said it relates to my major, how is that trying to make profit? I’d take AP classes either way and it was a FREE optional choice to receive recommendations on which classes you should take, it’s not advertising in any way to take APs for profit. Also, you’re a senior in high school, so where did you get the idea that statistics were manipulated? It’s based off of your PSAT answers, which they provide an explanation and a key for what you got wrong.
  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 Registered User Posts: 1,054 Senior Member
    @ab2002 Don't worry, you are doing just fine. Your proposed schedule is solid. Some advice that you recieve online you just have to dismiss, the advice giver isn't qualified.
  • WaterborneWaterborne Registered User Posts: 231 Junior Member
    edited December 2017
    Their relating to AP classes is a joke because of how loose it is. Most of what you take you will not actually use as much as you think.

    Now:
    CLEP Intro to Psychology

    Summer:
    Intro to Logic
    Start AP Gov (FLVS Global or another online school)
    Start AP Microeconomics (FLVS global or another online school)

    Fall:
    Dual Enrollment Intro to Philosophy
    Dual Enrollment Abnormal Psychology or Forensic Psychology
    English Composition 1
    Whatever math is next (FLVS Global or another online school)

    Spring:
    A college-level literature class based on your interest
    Another philosophy class
    English Composition 2
    Whatever math is next (FLVS Global or another online school)
    Another psychology class or psychology research

    Something like this. Something that actually prepares for you for the LSAT.

    C.C. classes are actually usually easier than AP classes with some exceptions.

    They can only stop you from taking a class on their campus and they can only not fund your college classes. C.C. classes give more college credit than AP classes, which makes them in the long run more beneficial financially even if you have to pay for them.
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