AP Chemistry vs Physics 1/2 classes for selective CS

I’m a high school student in 11th grade trying to decide between AP Chemistry and AP Physics 1 (which would lead to AP Physics 2 next year). From what I have learned, AP Physics C is generally preferred, but it’s not available at my school.

If my goal is to major in CS at a selective school, does it matter whether I take the chemistry or algebra-based physics classes? Chemistry looks quite intimidating and I’m much more interested in the content that AP Physics has to offer, but I’ve also heard that schools tend to prefer chemistry if calculus-based physics is not available. Thanks in advance!

If you have taken no physics, then take AP Physics 1 this year and AP Chem next year. Since AP Physics C is not offered, no college will expect it.


Thanks for the reply. Is there a specific reason to prefer AP Chem over completing the physics series with AP Physics 2 next year?

Another thing to add is that I plan to apply to restrictive early action, so I’m not sure the classes I take next year will hold significant weight in the admissions process.

They will. You list your senior courses on the app

Six of one. One half dozen of the other. If you’d rather take AP Physics 2, go for it. My only reason for suggesting AP Chem is that you are more likely to get credit for AP Chem. But it depends on the college.

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I see, thanks for the advice!

I agree than AP Physics should come first, assuming you’ve already taken a Chem and Bio course, and not Physics.

I’d recommend AP Chem in 12th, but it’s not a significant difference.

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