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Does not taking math senior year look bad to colleges?

mp12345mp12345 17 replies10 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
I'm a rising senior and I just got my schedule for the next school year this morning. The math classes my school offers that I haven't taken yet are multi, linear algebra, cryptography, and AP stats, but they technically only require us to go up to BC calc. I took BC calc junior year so decided to take cryptography (which I have second semester) and microbiology (which is a science elective that I have first semester). A lot of my friends are surprised that I opted not to take math senior year, and they said colleges won't like it. I'm applying to colleges like Duke, Uchicago, Cornell, Dartmouth, Northwestern, Columbia, Hopkins and some of HYPSM, and am planning to take premed courses with a major in neuroscience. Is deciding to take only one semester of math (crypto, which is technically also a cs class) going to stand out as a problem for the colleges I'm applying to? Should I switch microbiology to AP stats (also a semester class)?
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Replies to: Does not taking math senior year look bad to colleges?

  • CaMom13CaMom13 1855 replies12 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Since you're already at an advanced level of high school Mathematics and you're taking interesting STEM courses, I don't think adcoms will view your schedule as lacking in rigor. If you rocked your math standardized exams it will indicate that you are choosing to expand your education this year and not that you are avoiding a difficult core subject.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6989 replies49 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think it's hard to say. At my D's school, 4 full years of math was a graduation requirement.

    If you were planning on engineering or CS, I would tell you to definitely take MV calc but as a pre-med.....it's grayer.

    I would talk to your guidance counselor to see what they recommend. They know what's typical for students at your school, and how they will consider your course rigor (which absolutely is crucial for those levels of schools, especially if your in school competition will take the upper level math courses).
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77733 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    AP statistics is not considered to be that hard a course, but high school biology electives usually are not either.

    You may want to ask your counselor if the choice between the two matters for whether s/he marks "most demanding" schedule and other counselor ratings for you, since if you are aiming for the most selective colleges, getting top-end marks on the counselor recommendation is necessary (but not sufficient) for admission.

    Some medical schools do require calculus but do not accept AP credit, so you may have to take multivariable calculus in college anyway (some pre-meds instead repeat their AP credit for grade-grubbing purposes, but then they may have to mark "Repeat" on their medical school applications when listing their courses). Note that any college course taken while in high school and the grade earned does count for pre-med purposes.
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  • sushirittosushiritto 3863 replies9 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Do you have any intention in applying to CA public schools?
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  • mp12345mp12345 17 replies10 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @sushiritto I'm planning on applying to some of the UCs
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  • sushirittosushiritto 3863 replies9 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    UC's recommend 4 years of math in HS.
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  • mp12345mp12345 17 replies10 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @sushiritto Would taking half a semester of math senior year (crypto is second sem my senior year) count as 4 years of math in HS?
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41760 replies450 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Only if you take the semester class at a CC.
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  • sushirittosushiritto 3863 replies9 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 22
    If you're considering UC's, then @Gumbymom is one of the site's most experienced in UC admissions. Maybe she can comment on crypto, but I think UC's are talking about MV Calc or AP Stat.
    edited August 22
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77733 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 23
    sushiritto wrote: »
    UC's recommend 4 years of math in HS.

    UC web sites list 3 years (algebra 1, algebra 2, and geometry, or equivalent integrated math. Algebra 1, algebra 2, or a deficient grade in (not omission of) geometry may be validated by more advanced math like precalculus or calculus (e.g. if you complete calculus, they assume that you know algebra 1, algebra 2, and precalculus, even if those courses are not present on your record).

    https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/counselors/files/csu-uc-a-g-comparison-matrix.pdf
    https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/admission-requirements/freshman-requirements/subject-requirement-a-g.html
    https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/counselors/files/quick-reference.pdf

    Of course, students applying to some divisions or majors will want to take more advanced math. Actually, it is a good idea for all college-bound high school students to complete precalculus at least, and many of those who complete precalculus in 11th grade or earlier will want to take calculus if available (based on whether any possible college academic interests need calculus).

    A UC frosh applicant who has completed calculus BC and has a geometry course on his/her record somewhere (even in middle school) should be covered for all UC admission math requirement purposes.

    If you are unsure of whether a course like cryptography counts as a math course for UC purposes, and it is offered at a California high school or community college, you can look it up at https://hs-articulation.ucop.edu/agcourselist .
    edited August 23
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