Does AP Physics1 is required/mandatory for college admission

My kid didn’t took physics/AP physics1 class in high school till now and don’t want to take it in senior year also. Is it a disadvantage in future and Does it an issue in college admission process. Thank You in advance for your suggestions.

AP Physics 1 is mandatory for a grand total of zero colleges in the US.

Some level of physics is mandatory for some highly selective STEM colleges, e.g. Caltech. And highly recommended for other top colleges, e.g. Harvard.

For most colleges, meeting their recommended number of years of lab science is sufficient.

That said, based on your earlier posts, if this is the same kid interested in applying to BS/MD programs, s/he should take physics.


Certainly not mandatory. But taking at least one course in each of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics is generally recommended and expected by many colleges/majors. A regular or honors Physics course is fine - AP isn’t needed (outside of the regular course rigor advantage of any AP course).

ThankYou skieurope for your suggestion. My kid is not interested in physics and adament to the suggestion because it will pull down kid’s gpa because of its rigor. My kid is leaning towards traditional UG as of now.

Thank You RichinPitt for your suggestion. My kid already took biology and chemistry but not physics and physics is not mandatory/required for high school graduation requirement at their high school .

College physics is required by most med schools, so he’s going to have to take it sooner or later. It’s quite possible he would do better in college physics with a year of HS physics under his belt.

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Our D didn’t take physics. Took Bio honors, Chem Honors, Earth Science H and then AP Environmental Science. Got into Davidson, Richmond, Colgate, BC, Lehigh, SCU, LMU, Furman and U Denver. One doesn’t apply into any major for these schools and she applied undecided. Not having physics is not a deal breaker. Colleges look at the whole application when making decisions.

Maybe. Maybe not. I have shared before that I never took bio, and I did fine in admissions. But it also depends on what the whole academic picture looks like.

That said, I was not pre-med, and if that’s still on the table, I agree with @Mwfan1921 that kid’s first physics course should not be in college.

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Thank You Mwfan1921.

Thank You homerdog.

Got it. Thank You skieurope.

My daughter didn’t take physics in high school, she’s an exercise science major so took it in college, she got an A but wished she had taken it in HS as well. My 18 year olds took honors physics as an elective freshman year, but they are both majoring in business so really didn’t need it.

Thank You Mjkacmom .

No, physics is not mandatory. My daughter graduated in 2020, and was not interested in STEM. For science in HS, she took biology, chemistry, APES. She did not take physics, pre-calculus, or calculus. She got into Middlebury, Colby, Kenyon and other liberal arts colleges, as well as UMass Amherst. She attends Midd and is very happy.

Thank You calijenn.