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HELP!!! AP Calculus AB or BC for senior year? Late start a turn off to AOs?

asiancaucasianasiancaucasian 17 replies10 threads Junior Member
Currently a junior and will be applying to small liberal arts colleges at the end of this year. Next year's courses are

AP Literature & Comp
AP Calculus
AP Bio
AP Env Science
AP Spanish


Please share any thoughts or input on whether I should sign up for AB or BC Calculus. Presently being an English major sounds interesting, or something to do with biology, the environment or conservation, but I am only 16 years old, so realistically I am undecided.

Rigorous course load so far & close to perfect cumulative UW GPA and a W GPA of 4.62.
1480 on first SAT attempt, shooting to break 1500.
Should get NM Commended student recognition based on PSAT.

Not planning at STEM major, so many people advised AB, but Precalc teacher recommended BC. (The school loves to report as high as possible and as challenging as possible AP participation for USNWR) :(

Math isn't my passion and I want to lead a balanced life with time for extra curriculars, family time, sleep, etc.

Speaking of sleep, thinking of doing the late start option - which will not be reflected on transcript - does that make sense or will it appear I have senioritis?

With my 4 other AP courses, wouldn't it make sense to do AB?
All thoughts are welcomed and appreciated!








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Replies to: HELP!!! AP Calculus AB or BC for senior year? Late start a turn off to AOs?

  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 1793 replies33 threads Senior Member
    Calc AB should be fine.but isn’t Biology a STEM (S = science) major?
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  • happy1happy1 23369 replies2314 threads Senior Member
    A few comments:

    -- If you are planning an English major Calc AB is probably fine, if you are planning a Bio major you may want to re-consider BC.

    --If you are shooting for top tier LACs they will want to see that you have taken the most rigorous courseload available at your HS. Talk to your guidance counselor to see if you can get that designation (given your past and projected schedule) without taking calc BC.

    --No SS class senior year?
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  • richardmillerrichardmiller 19 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Definetly take AP CALC BC, it will allow you to have a better grip with mandatory classes in college!!!
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  • asiancaucasianasiancaucasian 17 replies10 threads Junior Member
    @happy1 Good point about the BC if I decide to study biology. :-?
    The no SS class comment makes me think that maybe I should take International Relations instead of APES. That way there would be 4 years of rigor in the 4 core subjects.
    @socaldad2002 Biology is indeed a science! :)
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  • asiancaucasianasiancaucasian 17 replies10 threads Junior Member
    Thanks @richardmiller! I decided on BC based on these comments!
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  • richardmillerrichardmiller 19 replies1 threads Junior Member
    no problem, I also like the username haha
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 42380 replies455 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2019
    @asiancaucasian: "most rigorous" doesn't mean "every single AP". In fact, top colleges are very specific that they do NOT want students who just take all AP's, they want to see how your schedule reflects your interests, or as Stanford put it "It's not a game of who has the most Ap's, wins".

    Your reasoning is sound: having calculus (even Calculus Honors) is more important than what type. There'll be ZERO difference for adcoms whether you took AB or BC. At some schools you can't even take BC if you've not taken AB first. In short, take AB, there will be no negative repercusions wrt college and it'll allow you to focus on your interests.
    Next, choose between AP Bio and APES, but DO TAKE an AP History/Social Science. AP World, Euro, and US are seen as the "strongest" in that category, and this is where you want to take the "strongest" class offered, NOT in math which isn't related to your purported major. However, AP Econ or AP Gov would be considered good choices too.
    Keep AP Lit and AP Spanish to round out your Humanities/Social Science profile.
    Definitely take Late Arrival. (Lack of sleep is physically damaging and having a good work life balance is an essential skill)

    BTW, English has better career prospects than Biology. So you could always major in English and minor in Biology if biology really interests you. In addition, considering the oversupply of biology majors and the dearth of English majors, think of it as making yourself slightly more competitive for admissions.
    edited February 2019
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 5506 replies25 threads Senior Member
    Heed the advice above. But keep something in mind. You were recommended for Calc bc. This is a compliment, not a ploy to gain your school more points in ratings. Talk to both the Ab/Bc Calc teachers. You might be bored with AB but either is acceptable for any college. Also if you've been taking AP /honors classes then your schedule is fine except for the above recommendations. My son took 6 AP with Multivariate Calc his senior year and found it easier then his all honors classes. I really feel he enjoyed the extra depth of the classes. He definitely worked harder but he was so prepared for college also.. Which BTW.. Isn't a cake walk.. Lol.. Make sure your advisor /teachers are on board with your schedule.
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  • asiancaucasianasiancaucasian 17 replies10 threads Junior Member
    @MYOS1634 & @Knowsstuff Excellent advice! Thank you so much!

    I have already taken APUSH (4) and APGov (May 9 8-| ) as well as Sociology and two special 'gifted' 8-| SS classes offered at my hs.
    AP World isn't offered, so I think I may take Int. Relations and a Themes in Fantasy Literature class, with a late start.

    My schedule would then be
    AP Lit
    AP Calc AB or BC ???
    AP Bio
    AP Spanish
    Int Rel (Honors /A) / Themes in Fantasy Lit

    The advice about sleep is so true! Refreshing to see someone else back up what my Mom has been preaching for years!
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  • ilovebillyjoelilovebillyjoel 147 replies13 threads Junior Member
    S17 took AB--had no problems getting into good colleges with STEM programs.
    D19 is taking BC, and it's tough.
    If 1) math isn't super easy or 2) you are not planning on a stem major/applying to tech-oriented schools or 3) you would worry about senioritis or not getting an A/high B, then I would definitely recommend AB.
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  • bopperbopper 14316 replies102 threadsForum Champion CWRU Forum Champion
    I would have said Calc AB...take it slow and really understand it. If you have to take Calc in college you can take Calc 1 again or start in Calc2.

    I would suggest instead of late start, do something fun. Photography, cooking, anything at all!

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  • asiancaucasianasiancaucasian 17 replies10 threads Junior Member
    @happy1 I have a question for you (and the CC Community) since you noticed that my initial senior year schedule didn't have a SS course, and this observation, along with being an active member of CC, makes me value your opinion!

    I am at the point where I need to decide between taking APES and International Relations (a one semester course).
    My interests lean me toward APES, but International Relations would be a SS elective that'd be appropriate. Here's my schedule...

    AP Literature & Comp
    AP Calculus
    AP Bio
    AP Spanish
    AP Env Science OR International Relations / Themes in Literature.

    I have taken 3.5 credits of SS classes so far- a World Civ based seminar freshman year, APUSH sophomore year, APGov, Sociology and Philosophy based Seminar junior year: all but Sociology are Honors / A level.

    Should I take a SS class solely to have 4+ years of SS? Is this something Admissions Officers care about that my high school isn't 'guiding or counseling' us appropriately? Please advise CC Community!

    Thank you.
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  • happy1happy1 23369 replies2314 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2019
    Different colleges have different requirements/recommendations on how many credits you need of each subject. I would google the common data set of any school you are considering "common data set <name of college>" and look at section C to see if any colleges you are interested in recommend/require 4 SS credits.

    Also be certain that 4 SS credits are not required for HS graduation (4 SS credits are required for graduation in our local HS but it may not be the case at your HS). You should check online (google: <name of HS> graduation requirements) and/or ask your guidance counselor.
    edited February 2019
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  • asiancaucasianasiancaucasian 17 replies10 threads Junior Member
    Thanks so much @happy1 ! Our high schools only requires 3 SS credits, but I am leaning toward doing International Relations first semester with a fun English elective second semester. I really appreciate all the opinions and insight I have received with my question. The Common Data Set recommends 4 units, so you truly helped me out. It gives me great peace of mind! Namaste. ;)
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