Do colleges care about continuation of AP/honors courses in the same subjects?

Do colleges care about continuation of AP/honors courses in the same subjects?

For example, does it look bad to take honors English as a freshman, sophomore regular English, and AP Lit as a junior?

^^^ in that case, the student’s overall rigor would look good because the number of AP/honors are going up by year.

@goldd22 You likely should post this in the general “College Admissions” thread on CC, given that you don’t seem to be asking for UVA in-general. I also can’t speak to UVA Admissions b/c I didn’t apply, but I CAN offer the ADVICE that selective colleges want you to “challenge yourself” in your coursework: and that means that you are taking rigorous coursework AND succeeding in it (A/B.) However, if you’re a STEM major, it’s not as necessary to take AP English if you’re also taking challenging AP STEM classes in the same year unless you TRULY love reading: but do take the Honors class as opposed to the regular version if you’re confident that you can do well in it.

Hope this helps! Good luck with admissions!


Presumably you would only go from honors English as a freshman down to a regular level as a sophomore because A) You didn’t do well in honors as a freshman (then knocked it out of the ballpark in year 2, thus earning you your space back at the top), B ) You decided to up your rigor in all other classes as a sophomore and lowered it in English to balance your workload (& went back up a level as a junior, once you realized
you could handle the higher rigor in ALL your classes), C) You changed high schools and didn’t get equivalent placement, or D) You have earned tons of awards and notoriety in an extracurricular activity that is going to pull you out of school for significant periods of time as a sophomore. It is also possible that E) You hate the sophomore honors English teacher (an excuse that won’t fly with competitive colleges).

I would think that colleges see variations on these kinds of things a lot. To answer your question: selective colleges might care, but if it’s only one class among 25+ in your four high school years, and you did very well in rigorous classes in the rest of your coursework, plus got everything else on your application right, it probably won’t be a dealbreaker, or at least it won’t be the only reason you are rejected. Most other colleges won’t care, especially if your transcript and GPA are respectable.

I would imagine that they look at overall rigor, not per subject. Now if you did this in each core area (took a year “off” and took a regular level course), by the time you applied, your rigor would not be as strong as if you had stayed on the AP or Honors path the whole time. But I don’t think they judge it by subject level, unless maybe you are applying to an Engineering school for example they would look closer at your math rigor.
If it helps, my son took ‘regular’ English his senior year after always being in Honors or AP and his acceptances came out exactly like we thought they would based on his GPA, test scores and general rigor.