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Classes to take senior year

highsckidhighsckid 16 replies9 threads Junior Member
edited January 18 in High School Life
Hey guys. So I'm really conflicted on what to take next year. Currently, here are my classes:
AP US History
AP Environmental Science
AP BC Calculus
AP Physics I
AP Lang
Spanish 4
2-D Art 3

My hardest classes are definitely AP BC Calc and AP Physics; I spend most of my time and energy on these classes.

Next year I am planning on taking:
AP Government or Dual enrollment government (which one should I do?)
AP Lit
AP Physics II
AP Econ (Macro and Micro)
AP 2-D Art
AP Spanish
But my big question is, should I take Multivariable calculus or AP Computer Science? Or should I take a totally different class: IB Mathematics SL/HL?

Multivar:
I did some research and I figured out that multivar is basically useless unless you want to be an engineer, which I'm not planning to pursue. My parents are really against me taking this class because they think it's a waste of time (both of them are math majors and computer engineers and neither of them learned multivar; instead they focused on discrete math)

However, my counselor says that usually the path to take based on my junior courseload is to go for Multivar. She probably right about that my senior courses seem a bit easier than my junior year classes. She also says that prestigious colleges are looking more for me challenging myself instead of taking the easy way out and going for AP CS. I'm scared that if I don't take multivar, she'll end up putting in my recommendation letter that I didn't challenge myself enough senior year. Also keep in mind that there is a handful of people in my grade that are in multivar now and will be taking even more advanced classes senior year. So it's tough competition.

Computer science:
I think I'll either minor or major in CS in the future, so I feel like I should have a good background in CS before I go to college. However, AP CS is centered around Java, and I would rather learn about Python. However, I think AP CS should be more lax than multivar, which would give me more time to focus on college apps. But I'm afraid it might look bad if I take AP CS because I wouldn't really have any hard classes in my schedule.

IB Mathematics SL/HL:
My school doesn't offer any IB classes, but I'm thinking I can probably take it at another school. Would that be a good idea? I'm interested in taking discrete math instead of continuous math, and I'm wondering if any of the IB math classes cover these topics and which ones? But I also want to make sure that the IB class that I do take doesn't go too much over AP Statistics or AP BC calc because I am taking/have taken those classes.

Are there other options? What class should I take?
edited January 18
10 replies
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Replies to: Classes to take senior year

  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5986 replies1 threads Senior Member
    I am of the belief that you should take whatever makes sense for you, rather than try to guess what schools might want.

    "I figured out that multivar is basically useless unless you want to be an engineer"

    I did use multivariate calculus on a job after graduating as a math major. However, I have not used it very often, and not for a long time. This is likely to depend upon what job you end up in, which is clearly not possible to predict this far in advance.

    "I think I'll either minor or major in CS in the future"

    I think that this is a good argument for taking CS.

    "I think AP CS should be more lax than multivar"

    Seniors put quite a bit of time and effort and emotion into their college applications. You will have applications to fill out and essays to write. Some students retake the SAT and/or subject tests senior year, which may involve preparation. You are likely to have college visits to do. Once you start getting acceptances, you will also need to decide where to attend, which might involve more college visits. This will add up to a lot of time and effort.

    Whether AP Multivariate calculus or AP computer science is easier might depend upon what you are good at. Which makes more sense probably largely depends on what you want to do. I would not try to take an IB course at a different high school. This to me looks like too much effort and too much risk. Universities do not expect you to fix your high school. They only expect you to do as well as you can given the high school that you are at.
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  • chmcnmchmcnm 385 replies4 threads Member
    edited January 18
    What are are your stats? What state are you in and what schools are you thinking about?

    @DadTwoGirls advice is solid. Senior year isn't the best year to overload your schedule. Senioritis plus apps and essays plus visits take-up a lot of time.

    S20 is taking multivar and AP Computer Principles? He doesn't seem too stressed about either. He only took 3 or 4 AP classes this year. So far so good except deferral from Ga Tech today.

    He's taking a few classes that interest him like marketing. I don't think he's been penalized for taking a few non-AP classes this year. I think the key is making A's of course but also showing a clear path to what you want to major in college. Colleges are really looking for well-rounded students.

    If you're thinking CS I would take a CS class next year to show that you're at least interested.
    edited January 18
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  • highsckidhighsckid 16 replies9 threads Junior Member
    @chmcnm I have a 3.9 UW 4.37 W and I live in Virginia. My top is Yale, but I'm also considering Brown, MIT, Cornell, Duke, and UPenn. I feel like these schools would require me to take really difficult classes senior year.
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2808 replies64 threads Senior Member
    Is AP Govenernment a full year class in your HS? In ours it is a half year and is usually paired with a half year of economics.

    AP classes are more of a "known commodity", and may give you the better chance of getting college credits (or other perks) at a broad range of colleges than will a DE class. In-state public colleges are more apt to accept DE credits from community colleges as well as give AP credits.

    If you are applying to selective colleges, I would take MVC OR discrete mathmatics. Discrete math is more relevant to CS. However, a lot of CS majors come under the engineering schools, so in some situations it doesn't hurt to show you can keep up with the future engineers. CS is often a competitive major to get into directly anyway. So showing a rigorous courseload is desirable.

    Since you want to study CS in college, I would replace the full year of econ with AP CSA - UNLESS you need those credits in social sciences in order to graduate. If you are more interested in economics, take econ instead of AP Government. Check with your high school to make sure those requirements are interchangable.

    I wouldn't worry about Python vs. Java just yet. One will help you with the other, and you will likely end up learning both.
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  • chmcnmchmcnm 385 replies4 threads Member
    edited January 18
    highsckid wrote: »
    @chmcnm I have a 3.9 UW 4.37 W and I live in Virginia. My top is Yale, but I'm also considering Brown, MIT, Cornell, Duke, and UPenn. I feel like these schools would require me to take really difficult classes senior year.

    That's a great list but are they affordable at full price or with financial aid? Run the NPC for those schools with your parents and make sure.

    Also, you need some safety/matches. All those schools probably have acceptance rates around 10% or less for CS. UVA or Virginia Tech would be a great in-state choices. Look at the Georgia Tech thread. Lots of kids with 4.0/1500+ SAT were denied. CS is crazy competitive.
    edited January 18
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80154 replies720 threads Senior Member
    highsckid wrote: »
    But my big question is, should I take Multivariable calculus or AP Computer Science? Or should I take a totally different class: IB Mathematics SL/HL?

    IB math SL or HL will have substantial duplication to AP calculus BC that you are already taking, so don't bother.

    Multivariable calculus can eventually be needed in a math-heavy major (math, statistics, math-heavy economics, engineering majors, physical science majors, engineering-based CS). If you want to major in CS, discrete math and linear algebra are more likely to be required, even in non-engineering-based CS majors.

    AP CS can depend on which one. The principles course is an introductory course that is not generally considered that hard but should give non-CS-majors an idea of how CS relates to other things, as well as give potential CS majors with little or no computing experience some idea of what CS is like. The A course is programming and data structures for CS majors, and may or may not give advanced placement, depending on the college and AP score.
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  • XtremeBlaze777XtremeBlaze777 151 replies16 threads Junior Member
    IB Math is considered equivalent to BC so your only options are multivar or CS. If it is CSP, forget about it and take multivar. If it is CSA, then it is an option.

    Multivar seems to be the best option for a couple of reasons:
    1) You are considering CS, one of the most math-intensive majors; in fact, I dare you to find me a single CS program that doesn't require multivar to graduate.
    2) You are applying to highly selective colleges and multivar will look the best on your college app
    3) You want to do python, so do most colleges. Some even offer a placement test so you could self-study python and still test into a higher class.
    4) Not only will multivar build directly off of AP Calc, but it is also so much easier according to most people. Multivar is, for the most part, Calc BC just with more variables.
    5) Some colleges might not consider CS as a suitable substitute for a math course (although discrete math should).
    6) There are so many CS majors, especially at T20s, that have never coded. A Carnegie Mellon (possibly the best CS school in the country) admissions officer gave me a rough estimate that about 30% of the incoming CS class have never taken a CS class but were extremely strong in math. Though they may have intended this for schools that do not offer CS which is not the case for you.

    Now even though I am clearly showing a bias for multivar, I really think you should find a way to take both CSA and multivar for a CS major. CSA will help you a lot even if you don't get AP credit. I know that many Virginia schools require Econ so that is a bust, otherwise, I would say to swap CS for it. I would say swap CSA with either Physics 2 (you aren't going to get college credit for it and you already have 4 sciences) or AP Spanish (you already have four years). I'm guessing you aren't interested in dropping art so that's why I didn't include it on the swap list.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80154 replies720 threads Senior Member
    edited January 21
    1) You are considering CS, one of the most math-intensive majors; in fact, I dare you to find me a single CS program that doesn't require multivar to graduate.

    https://eecs.berkeley.edu/resources/undergrads/cs/degree-reqs-lowerdiv
    http://coursecatalog.web.cmu.edu/schools-colleges/schoolofcomputerscience/undergraduatecomputerscience/#bscurriculumtext
    https://cs.stanford.edu/degrees/undergrad/ProgramSheets/CS_Unspec_1920PS.pdf

    Also, if the multivariable calculus course that the OP may take is a high school course (versus college or dual enrollment course), then s/he may have to retake it in college if it is required for the CS major at the college s/he attends, since a high school course (that is not dual enrollment) is very unlikely to be accepted as fulfilling the requirement.
    edited January 21
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1873 replies31 threads Senior Member
    edited February 16
    ucbalumnus wrote: »

    Curriculum - B.S. in Computer Science

    MATHEMATICS
    All of the following courses:
    ...
    21-259 Calculus in Three Dimensions
    edited February 16
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