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Pre-Haverford Education Prep Challenges (Advice Needed, long post)

KelseyMKelseyM 180 replies11 threads Junior Member
(This is long and may take a few minutes of your time. Apologies.)

Hello all,
I have resurfaced from high school life in the midst of a troubling issue that, again, I need advice on.
Now, I previously posted this same post in the Haverford College specific forum section, but that forum is not very active, as I have no comments after a few days.
Therefore, since my issue is pre-college (yet preparing for it) I want to post it here so I can get some help.
You may find you can help me even if you know nothing about Haverford, because this might be an issue a lot of students without AP classes at their school run into.

Now that I have been "Matched" via QuestBridge to Haverford College (again with much thanks to all the people over there in that thread who made it happen), I have been doing my best to optimize my education towards advancing it as far as possible to be ready for Haverford, but am unsure of what to do.

First comes my major problem I am not sure how to address.
I had created a thread prior in the year of this same subject and thought not too much of it. Simply put, I was wondering if AP Chemistry was feasible given a Dual Enrollment class. In order to compensate for the seeming lack of rigor/transferable credit in my current schedule, I considered taking AP Chem so that I could already start working towards the knowledge I need for my future biochemistry concentration at Haverford.
However, now that I have begun studying for the exam with this class, I'm immediately reconsidering based on several reasons, which I will try to explain below.

Firstly, there are curriculum discrepancies between my Dual Enrollment Chemistry II class and the course requirements/exam subjects of AP Chemistry, notably:
- The labs are significantly different and do not teach the skills AP labs want
- This general chemistry II course only extends to Kinetics and does not cover additional material on the AP test such as metalloid properties and beginnings of organic chemistry
- The topics that are covered are not covered as in depth. I have been using the Molecular Approach textbook and study guide as supplement, but the material seems much more expansive than my community college dual enrollment class and takes more time to study for.
- The class meets one day a week for both lecture and lab for 4 hours and is one semester, which is a stark difference from a daily possibly year long AP Chem class.
- My professor teaches...well, different than an AP Chemistry teacher.

Secondly, I am already taking classes with extensive coursework and exams to prepare for. Some who see this may know me already, but I have to re-clarify: My school does not offer APs. Instead, it offers AS-level Cambridge courses, and I am taking the following courses w/exams:
- English Literature (2 exams)
- Environmental Management (2 exams)
- Global Perspectives (1 exam)
I would like to earn, at the very least, a b on all of these exams, which takes a good bit of studying, especially Literature.

Would it instead be optimal to sacrifice taking the AP exam, and instead get a deeper understanding out of my college course class (using the same Molecular Approach textbook, but not studying for the AP exam) so I can do well on the Haverford placement exam?
Would I, though, be sacrificing preemptive mastery of the subject? Would an AP chem score even matter for Haverford due to the placement exam being the ultimate factor in advanced placement? Do I look any less prepared than my peers? Is it worth putting myself under stress I can no longer deny exists?

My eyebrows are raised also with regards to my school's very inconsistent and disadvantageous educational choices. You know how I said they offer AS-level exams, right? Haverford, as you may know, doesn't take those exam credits. If I take the same approach as I am considering with the AP chem exam, should I instead place emphasis on learning and connecting with course material just for preparation and the love of learning? In complete honesty, I do favor Cambridge over AP. It's more rigorous and gets me more invested in course material. It just really, REALLY sucks that my school not only doesn't offer A-level (thereby maximizing my education potential), but also doesn't offer courses I would benefit from, aside from biology, which I took and loved (AS chemistry, AS Mathematics (they actually dropped this one this year because there wasn't enough!!! :neutral:)) What's even the point of AS level? To serve as a tease?

Lastly, I had to drop a dual enrollment french course (French II) because I couldn't pay for it and because I was deadset on taking the AP chem exam. Should I consider taking up a French textbook on the sidelines to prepare for Haverford's French Placement exam?

This has been bothering me ever since I started this semester and I have been caught in kind of an existential limbo with it. What do you think? I appreciate any word given to any part of this.

Thank you for your time and I eagerly await your response.
5 replies
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Replies to: Pre-Haverford Education Prep Challenges (Advice Needed, long post)

  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN 3644 replies13 threads Senior Member
    There will be a number of kids at Haverford who haven’t taken AP classes because they are not offered at their school. I wouldn’t try to study all the extra material you would need to know for the chem AP exam given how busy you are.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6585 replies10 threads Senior Member
    At schools like Haverford, many students who have taken the AP exam and done well STILL take the intro level class in their primary area of interest to make sure they have all the basics, as their school defines them, down pat. So I wouldn't fret about this. It's clear that you will get as much out of any course as you can. Focus on the class you are taking now. When you are assigned an advisor, talk to them about strategy (including what to do about the placement test.) It may be that you need intro chem but no molecular chem. They will help you work this out. That's one of the many great things Haverford does.

    You can do some french over the summer if you are rusty. But I would take the placement exam with the goal of being placed in a class where you will be comfortable. The point is mastery. If you are struggling to follow along, you may not enjoy class or feel comfortable speaking. In fact, if you do want to refresh, I would also play around with a language learning app that allows you to practice speaking and listening as well.

    While you don't want to "waste" classes learning material you already know because there is so much out there, you also don't want to get in over your head -- that's a different kind of wasting.



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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 82767 replies738 threads Senior Member
    Since Haverford uses its own placement exams for chemistry, French, etc., it does not seem all that useful to study for an AP exam covering the same material as the college course you are already taking.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 43103 replies470 threads Senior Member
    I don't really see the point of preparing for the AP chem exam. The dual enrollment class you're taking will teach you skills as well as specific content that should be fine to prepare you for the first level of chemistry at Haverford.
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  • JorgeAPRJorgeAPR 2 replies0 threads New Member
    Hello @KelseyM, this Jorge a fellow QuestBridge Scholar part of the Haverford 2024 Class. We have a group on Instagram for QB Haverford Scholars, would you be interested to be part of it? Send me a message through here, I don't really know how this works so hopefully, you get this message. Have a nice day!!
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