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12+ APs...how common is this?

chaphillmomchaphillmom 56 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Just curious from all you parents that have more experience than I do...I've seen numerous posts from parents/ kids that have 12+ AP classes. How did your kids manage this? DS20 (Junior) has taken AP Calc BC, AP Chem and APUSH this year. Next year he will take AP Physics C (two periods per day), AP European History and AP Stats. He takes honors English, and an engineering class as well. And, he takes a study period during which he studies (I assume!) and does volunteer tutoring. So- to me this seems like a challenging course load.

How are other kids taking double the number of APs? I'm assuming this means he would have needed to take 4 APs for soph- senior years? Or I guess 6 APs both junior and senior years with no study hall?

I'm not intending this as provocative question, just genuinely curious how other kids have accomplished this, and if this is a typical accomplishment for competitive applications.
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Replies to: 12+ APs...how common is this?

  • damon30damon30 1147 replies5 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If a school system has a substantial number of accelerated or gifted students, then 12+ AP classes would not be uncommon. They usually start taking AP classes in freshman year. Also dual-enrollment classes count the same as AP so, in some cases, totals of 15 or more AP/IB/DE classes are possible. UNC specifically only expects five total AP and/or DE classes, and they use the unweighted GPA for admissions: https://gazette.unc.edu/2013/01/08/study-finds-that-more-ap-classes-may-not-be-better/
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  • cshell2cshell2 552 replies7 threadsRegistered User Member
    Our school only offers 5 AP classes total so it's not happening here.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2236 replies30 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited May 27
    Our school limits AP courses to juniors and seniors, so 12 is not possible here either.

    Colleges will assess each student's rigor in the context of the offerings of their high school, so your S will not be at a disadvantage to applicants who have taken 12 APs (which I imagine is a small percentage of students in the big picture).
    edited May 27
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29422 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    AP World and Music Freshman year
    Bio, Euro, Sophomore
    Apush, English, calc AB, Latin JR year
    Calc BC, Physics, Govt, English Lit, —Senior

    That was one of my Kids’. Some had two languages— I have a niece who got a 5 on her AP language—she’s fluent in it and this year as a freshman is taking AP music and World exams. She’ll like have 12 or more APs as she has started a second foreign language. She will be taking APCalc AB and stats. Wants to squeeze in AP psych.

    I’ve had my kids in 3 different highschools altogether and they all had a lot of AP courses. They are offered here and if you don’t take them, your courses do not qualify as the most rigorous. I’ve not even listed the Art History one took, and computer Sci another did.
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  • washugradwashugrad 1132 replies13 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It varies a lot by the high school and school district. Ours put a lot of road blocks on acceleration at the lower grades (especially in math) compared to some I've heard of so it's rare to get to Calc before 11th grade at the earliest even for the top math students while I know at some schools some of the brightest kids are able to get there in 9th, for instance. Not that it's a race... just showing that what's normal for top students really varies and your student will be judged against what was available at your school.
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  • thumper1thumper1 74784 replies3278 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My kids each took 3 AP classes. They both got accepted to the colleges of their choice.

    My first kid was actually able to use ONE of his three APs to get credit towards college graduation. The other two...nope. Useless. Oh and it wasn’t because he scored poorly.

    My second kid wasn’t able to use ANY of her three APs towards her degree.

    In our school, if you take the AP course you are required to take the AP exams. In our kids’ cases...waste of money.
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  • JimQPublicJimQPublic 38 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    My kids are in a magnet program that includes about 8 AP classes as part of the standard curriculum and many more as options.
    9th 1: AP Environmental Science
    10th 1-2: AP US History and maybe another elective AP
    11th 2-4: AP Euro History, AP English Language & Comp, AP Calc AB if ready, others as electives.
    12th 4-7: AP English Lit, AP Calc AB or BC (they do a two-year sequence), AP foreign language (Spanish, German, French, Japanese, and Mandarin are offered) an AP Physics and/or Chemistry, others as electives.

    My daughter ended up with 14 total. She took the standard ones for the program plus Comp Sci A, Calc BC, both Phys C, both Econ, Chemistry.
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  • rosemaryandthymerosemaryandthyme 44 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Our school district has no limitations on APs, so the most competitive kids try to take 9 credit hours of APs junior and senior year (7 or 8 APs each year since science classes take two credit hours). My.D20 will have taken 13 APs her high school career and several friends view her as a slacker for not taking more.
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  • Jon234Jon234 318 replies9 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited May 27
    Judging from posts on here I don’t think it’s that rare to have 12APs, if you are applying to top colleges.
    I spoke with an admissions officer from Columbia recently and asked at what point does the number of APs a student takes tell them enough about the student’s ability. Her answer was five or six is more than sufficient.
    Given that so many colleges say they will consider your transcript relative to the curriculum your school offers we were grateful to hear this and also grateful my kid’s school offers five and not more.
    edited May 27
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  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom 1226 replies2 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Our school offers a lot of AP classes, but only 1 for sophomores- World History, regardless how advanced you are. Very few take in the double digits. We have great college placements.
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  • LuanneLuanne 50 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Well, I've been told that to get the box for "most demanding schedule" checked on the applications, you need 14-16 AP/IB classes in our high school. It's a lot. But, doing the IB diploma gives a lot of those, so matching the AP level makes sense. Only 1-2 non IB kids get it each year.

    My S is finishing up 9th and has APUSH now. He's scheduled for AP Statistics, English Language, and World HIstory next year. Then will do the IB diploma programme in 11th and 12th grades.
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  • ultimomultimom 150 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    My son took 15 APs. At his school a bunch of APs are required and then he took a few more because those were the classes he wanted to take.
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  • allyphoeallyphoe 2385 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The kid with the most APs, in our district, gets the dubious honor of making a speech to the rising sophomores about how awesome AP classes are. That kid has historically had 13-14. Only six class periods per year and none permitted of 9th graders, which keeps the number down and essentially precludes anyone with an interest in fine arts from being that kid. Other than Micro/Macro, all are full-year courses, which also keeps the number down.

    A typical load for the highest performing kids would be 1 in 10th, 3-4 in 11th, and 3-5 in 12th. One year a bunch of kids made an "only take 8 APs" pact, and the kids in that group with an unweighted 4.0 all ended up ranked 3rd in the class. Plenty of kids took more than 8 APs; only two managed to do it while keeping their GPAs high.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7259 replies56 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It’s very school specific. My D’s HS didn’t allow APs freshman year, only 1 sophomore year, 3 junior year, and a max of 4 senior year for a total of 8. They didn’t offer the easier APs (APES, psych, etc).

    The school report went to all of the colleges outlining the policy so I don’t think it hurts the kids any as students are assessed within context of their own school.

    We have family with a D at a New England private that sends a huge portion of their class to the T20s and they have a more stringent policy about not only limiting AP courses but also honors.

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  • elena13elena13 863 replies15 threadsRegistered User Member
    I think this is way overkill but the "most rigorous" schedule at our high school includes the IB diploma program plus multiple AP courses starting with AP World History in freshman year. Most sophomores on this track take AP Lang, Chem or Bio, Econ and Gov. S19 took 16 AP plus IB courses.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29422 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited May 27
    My youngest was only one who did not get credit for his AP courses. He didn’t need any of the credits and just used the math for placement. He did take two college courses senior year and got credit for those.

    For other kids, the AP credits featured heavily. My oldest two likely would not have gotten college diplomas without them. They barely did with them.

    Though I agree that maxing out on them is no guarantee, and can do more harm than good, for those who are truly in the running for the top schools, that curriculum rigor is essential. Unless you have some very strong hooks, from this area, to be an excellent academic admit to the top schools, you had better have those APs. I don’t know anyone unhooked without them from here who got HYPMSC admit without them. Here, you need the top class rank, most rigorous courses, top GPA to have a chance. Also a strong EC, top Recs and an excellent essay. All that isn’t even enough for most kids, but from this area essential for the rare pure academic admit.
    edited May 27
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  • Data10Data10 2952 replies8 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    12+ APs...how common is this?
    I've seen numerous posts from parents/ kids that have 12+ AP classes. How did your kids manage this?
    CollegeBoard stats suggests fewer than 0.5% of students take 12+ AP exams across 4 years. It is not at all common across the full US population. However, there are certain unique subgroups for which large number of AP classes are more common. One of these subgroups that is dramatically overrperesented on the forum is persons attended wealthy area HSs that offer dozens of APs who try to take the largest possible number of AP courses for varied reasons -- competing with other students/parents, believing it will increase chance of admission to HYPSM..., because they feel they are supposed to, etc. Taking so many AP classes is by no means required for admission. It is often not recommended or healthy, although the specifics depend on the student.
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