Hello! I’m currently a sophomore in high school, aiming to major in some branch of biology and eventually pursuing a medical career in cardiology.
(Here’s some background, but feel free to skip directly to the question:
Our school’s AP chemistry teacher’s pedagogy doesn’t suit me at all, and being in her chemistry honors class has been a generally horrible experience for me. With that in mind, I’ve decided to not take AP chemistry at my school. However, knowing that chemistry is a major part of biology, I’m debating on if I need to take chemistry over the summer to fill up that hole in my transcript.
My current STEM taken/planned courses are:
Freshman: Honors Biology, Alg2/Trig
Sophomore: AP Biology, Honors Chem, AP Calc BC
Junior: AP Physics 1, AP Stats
Senior: AP Physics 2, AP Psychology, possibly take an online math course? (school doesn’t offer anything past AP Stats)
I currently have a 4.0 unweighted GPA and a 4.75 10-12 weighted GPA. I’m aiming to get into either Ivy-League or high-ranking UC schools.)
The question is, would not taking a college-level chem course significantly hinder my chances of being accepted into a top college for my chosen major? Or would the AP Physics during the school year be an acceptable substitute?
I don’t think so. Your AP classes will be sufficient. Taking a College level class during the summer is a risky proposition, first of all, it is very short and you may fall behind because it is not the pace you are used to and if you don’t do well, it will hurt you. Secondly, an elite college really don’t care what you did in a community college, the credits are most likely not transferable and you may have to repeat the same course again. This looks bad in your graduate school application, especially in med school. Thirdly, you will be entering an environment that is totally unfamiliar to you, summer schools in a community college is for some one who is much older trying to catch up or make up credits, for a HS student, it is not the best environment you want to be. If anything, you can enrich yourself by going to a program for HS in Berkeley or Stanford and if you did well, the program’s director’s LOI will help you.
That might be a good reason to take the AP Chemistry class. Dealing with less than ideal situations is a necessary skill for success in higher education. Learning to cope in high school would give you an advantage.
Considering your grade history, you should be taking AP Chem now. (that’s what I did) Also, since you are currently taking AP Calc BC, why not take AP Physics C? Are you taking AP Gov, APUSH, AP Lang? It is important that you have excellent writing/reading skills for success “pursuing a medical career”. Good luck on your adventure.