12 aps enough?

Currently finishing jr year with 9aps, and planning on 3 or 4 next year. With maybe 1 spare each semester for applications and visits. Maths are all done, but commuting to Nc state for calc 3 would be painful since she is on several sports teams. Not sure if there are online options?

Because we live in wake - unc & Nc state might be considered a low reach, so uncc will be a safety. Major likely to be cs,math,maybe minor in economics.

1520 & 35 1st attempt, not thinking it is worth retries?

Plan to try for merit scholarships, but thinking the chances are pretty slim that there will be enough $$$ to beat the in state options? Thankfully we can afford the $25k per year. I have skimmed over scholarships- and I will not hold my breath for enough from the dukes/vanderbilts, etc. Kid is an excellent essay writer, but seems like a major time investment with modest hope for returns. Time might be better spent at a part time job with guaranteed return.

Suggestions and perspectives very welcome;)

12 aps enough?

Enough for what? For admissions? Yes, more than enough, assuming there are some solid APs in there, and not a preponderance of lightweight APs, and assuming the GC rates the schedule as "most demanding.’

There is no reason to retake a 35.


There is no magic number. My D took 5 and one dual enrollment course and was admitted to several T20 schools. The way her school did scheduling this was about the max you could take and I’m sure her counselor marked the “most rigorous” course load on her common app recommendation which was what she was going for since it was an easy way for colleges to know how her schedule/course load stacked up at her school.

I would not bother retaking the tests. Scores are great. My D was pretty much in the same place with scores.

One thing I did notice: Is your daughter not taking math senior year? You might want to check requirements at the schools where she is applying to make sure 4 years is not a requirement.


Enough to surpass:

  1. The extremely competitive wake county access to the 2 state flagships: unc and Nc state.
  2. Reasonable access to oos merit at Arizona, Alabama, …
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Wondered about that as well. She has taken every math available (calc ab/bc, stats, …). But we are verifying…

Totally understand. I’m not sure where on these boards I saw a discussion about this recently but I remember someone commenting that some colleges want to see 4 years of math in high school. I have no idea if that’s factual or not but definitely something to check into.

I highly doubt any college will have an issue if the kid exhausted the HS curriculum.

That said, based on OP, kid is interested in math or CS in college, so no math is more detrimental from a learning perspective vs an admissions view. I would investigate online options, since CC courses will be problematic from a scheduling perspective.

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OOS merit at Alabama and Arizona is based on GPA and test scores. You don’t need APs for that. You should be able to find this on their websites.


Well….this query is posted in the financial aid section of this forum…so I will comment on that.

The number of AP courses you take might help with admissions. But I have never seen a merit aid metric that includes number of AP courses for the awarding of merit aid. If someone else has, I would like to know the college.

Adding that if a college used the HS weighted GPA, those AP courses might help increase the GPA to a level where higher merit aid is awarded. BUT where I am, a kid taking 12 AP courses would likely have a very high GPA anyway.

To the OP…are you asking if 12 AP courses are enough for admission (if so, perhaps this thread should be moved)….or are you asking about your kid’s chances of receiving merit aid with 12 AP courses (see my paragraph above this one).

JHU CTY is option for online advanced math. My older son did this his senior year for MVC since his school math curriculum ended with AP Calc BC. Can’t say it was the best designed course but the experience was good. He was ahead of many of his peers when he got to Wharton.

Outside merit scholarships can be nice, but look deeply into how specific schools handle this. Many colleges (not all) will take that scholarship money and just reduce your financial aid package - leaving you a net gain of nearly $0.

Wake county dad here.

NCSU CS is murder! It is not low reach for ANYBODY. How is the rest of her application --ECs, class rank etc? If your daughter is at EHS, PCHS, GHHS, class rank will matter. They can’t take everyone from those schools.

UNC CS is easier to get into but do some research on Reddit to see what is going on there. Pure madness with course availability etc.

My suggestion is to carefully pick a major to guarantee admission. The three that you have mentioned are hard to get into but aside from CS, very likely for your daughter.

Lastly, guaranteed merit often means going to a less reputable OOS school that needs to buy talent. Last time I checked, Tuscaloosa Alabama has a great football team but not Google, Apple or Cisco. And the education our children can get for $22K per year at our in-state flagships is basically the best deal in the USA. UNC is top 30 and NCSU is a top 10 best value.

Doesn’t NCSU CS require admission to the engineering division initially, then competitive secondary admission to the CS major later?

Seems like some years, they post information about how competitive each major is (in terms of college GPA), but other years they are opaque about it (which seems to describe the current state on the NCSU engineering web pages).

Change of major is however possible but difficult for CS and engineering entrance from what I have been told.

I made a mistake and combined 2 questions together:

  • does more academic rigor yield more merit scholarships
  • is 12 aps enough for competitive state flagship

thanks to those who already replied, but per thumper’s comments, perhaps I will ask in the Nc state forum, and focus on the first question.

Thanks for your perspective - some very sad kids / parents on the ncsu discussions right now. We do have uncc as a nice safety.

If grades hold and honors at Arizona/Alabama becomes possible - it will be an interesting option versus uncc.

To your point regarding value - without a lottery win for merit scholarship, in state options are definitely at the top of our list. Kids writing is very good - but doesn’t every parent assert that;)

Thanks for the insight - had no idea merit at these schools ignored rigor.

Thanks for suggestion - will definitely look into this option. Was you son able to include his grade on transcripts - or just as a notation on his apps?

Re merit vs fin aid - are family does not qualify. So any merit matters. will it matter enough to leave behind the Nc schools - likely not, but maybe a lottery scholarship comes through after the best essay/interview of her life;)

Because it was taken outside of HS, it was not part of my son’s HS transcript, but it was noted in his senior course list in his apps (and corroborated by the GC). You can have transcripts sent to college(s) from JHU, but IIRC there was only a final grade for the course, no mid term grade. By the time you send the transcript, college decisions may already be made.

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Merit is usually based on gpa/rank/test scores, not essays, EC’s, number of AP classes. Some schools are open about what stats are needed for each award.

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You can check NCVPS for online options for another math if you want, but a college class would probably look better.

She is definitely IN at NC State and UNC-CH, but not sure about getting admitted to CS. UNC-C is a good safety. They are supposed to have a really good Cybersecurity program if she is interested in that.

I’m a big fan of part time jobs. My D22 got a part time job over the summer and has kept it through this year of high school. I think it has been really valuable for her.