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How many APs should I be taking?

PleaseAcceptM3PleaseAcceptM3 32 replies10 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Hello there,

I am a student that is interested in applying to some top schools. However, my schools offers very few AP courses, so if I were to take AP tests, I would have to study on my own time, which is a massive extra commitment for me. I've already self-studied for AP Bio and CS (4 and 5 respectively) and I realize how hard it really is.

Say I am applying to Ivy League schools. How many APs should I be taking by the time I apply? I have taken bio and CS (mentioned), and will definitely be taking Calc BC, Chemistry, Physics C, and Statistics by the end of senior year.

Our school offers some of these courses, but not all. i.e. I would self-study Chemistry, the rest are courses at our school. I could take Physics C before I apply to college, but I would take the course during senior year. What do I do? I'd appreciate any advice.
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Replies to: How many APs should I be taking?

  • saillakeeriesaillakeerie 2226 replies0 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 2017
    There isn't an expectation that you take AP classes that your school does not offer. Rigor is looked at in relation to what your school offers. Take as many AP classes that your school offers which interest you (and that you can handle academically/time wise -- loading up on APs but hurting your GPA isn't a good approach). Focus on the rest of your application and you should be fine (at least lack of AP classes will not be a limiting factor). And apply to some matches/safeties (academic and financial). Good luck.
    edited July 2017
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5494 replies1 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I don't know if self studying for AP classes actually helps in terms of admission to top schools. One of my daughters did self study for one AP and did well. She got college credit for it so it did help that way. However, I don't think that it affected her getting in (her top choice was a school that she was going to get into anyway based mostly on GPA).

    If you school offers very few AP classes, then you take very few AP classes and still get credit for a "most rigorous" schedule. I don't think that there is any problem here.

    Ivy League and equivalent schools have very low acceptance rate and admissions that seem arbitrary, and is at least partly based on things that I would say are "other than academic excellence". You need to put significant thought into other schools as well, and you can do very well at other schools.
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  • ToomanyQuestions18ToomanyQuestions18 60 replies13 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    If you really want to self study ap courses then self study the history ones because in my opinion, they are easier than the science APs. Plus it will make you look more well rounded rather than just having science and math AP. Also you can self study for the AP Lang exam and Lit exam if your a good writer.

    However I wouldn't worry about it since colleges especially top league schools look at your school courses and how much you challenged yourself meaning if your school only had 5 AP and you took 4 then that looks like you challenged yourself rather than you taking 1 out of the 5. See what I mean.

    You are in a great shape and it's ok if you failed some AP because colleges usually don't look at those for college admissions anyway.
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  • PleaseAcceptM3PleaseAcceptM3 32 replies10 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    At my school there is no such thing as a most rigorous schedule. We have minimal choice over classes - where we can take an AP class, you take an AP class. i.e. For our senior science course, there is no such thing as non-AP physics or bio or chem. They only offer APs. My schedule is identical in rigor to nearly everyone, give or take a foreign language course, or taking calculus BC a year after me.
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  • saillakeeriesaillakeerie 2226 replies0 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Its the most rigorous schedule your school offers. 100% of the kids could be taking the most rigorous schedule in the school if there is only one track and everyone takes the same classes.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41872 replies451 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If your school offers only 4-6 AP's you're expected to take most of them or all of them if you can, however you're not expected to take more or self study. Replacing some AP's with relevant community college classes is another way. However make sure your guidance counselor and the school profile list the number of AP available and if there are limits or schedule conflicts.
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