Dropping AP physics

Hello. I am a concerned parent. My daughter is a junior. Was a 4.0 student till corona hit and we went to all virtual learning. She is taking AP English, advanced math(not sure name of class), 5th year French which is advanced and is taking AP physics plus other “normal classes”. The teacher wasn’t the best teacher for physics before virtually teaching but now uses you tube videos to teach, skips around on subjects and Doesn’t always finish problems. I paid for a tutor but it’s $40 a time and I’m a single mom. Got a free tutor who is an engineer now through a church but he says the teacher isn’t correct on problems and my daughter and him are only getting half the problems right. Only used the $40 an hour tutor once because of lack of money. This class is affecting all her classes now since she spends hours on that one class. I think she needs to drop it but she says she needs four years of science to look good on college apps. The bad teacher teachers all the other AP classes for science as well so no switching classes at this point. Also she would be a month behind. Not sure how that works:( Any advice! She has worked so hard and battled a debilitating rare condition to keep that 4.0 to have it ruined by one class. Help!

Physics is a tough class. You have my sympathies. Does your school offer physics at the non-AP level? Would taking that for this one year be an option? Might she be allowed to take it through an online school with a different teacher? Have you talked to your guidance counselor regarding her options? It seems you might get more targeted advice from him/her than anyone here can give you. She should also schedule a private meeting with her teacher where your DD can ask where her efforts are falling short, are there other resources and steps she can take to improve her understanding, etc.

Your D is correct that she needs 4 years of science to be competitive - 1 year of bio, 1 year of chem, 1 year of physics, and 1 year of one of those at an AP level.

I would try to have her drop down to regular physics for this year and then revisit taking an AP science senior year.

She does not need any physics, nor does she need AP physics. Could she take AP bio? There are online options as well, some of which are asynchronous and could be started anytime. She could also take a science at community college, and there are other options, like anatomy and physiology or environmental science.

Look at The Virtual High School https://vhslearning.org/ and Aventa Learning http://aventalearning.com/. And check out a community college, which now has online classes in most places.

She can also do a class in the summer.

Make sure her guidance counselor includes a note with her transcript describing her achievements despite a chronic condition, and also the issues with science at the high school and her efforts to get a good science education.

Some colleges stick to those requirements, in a cookie cutter fashion, and some don’t and are more holistic (one of mine only took 3 sciences, one of them online, and still got into the top choice). I think the important thing is that she take a class she can learn from, and enjoy. I would get her out of that AP physics class and reduce her stress at this difficult time.

While I agree with compmom’s suggestions, many HSs don’t allow or “count” virtual classes or classes taken outside of school in the summer. If hers is such a school, her transcript would not show 4 years of science.

Can she drop into regular physics after the first marking period?

Are there any recent HS grads your daughter knows that may be able to tutor her in AP physics? Also, Kahn Academy has AP physics classes and I believe it is free. The website has the different topics. It can be tough to have a practicing scientist that is not a tutor teach her since they will have their own way of doing the work.

Honestly, if she gets a B in AP Physics it should not impact her ability to get into a great college or get scholarship money. Challenging herself with the “hardest curriculum available” is also a plus.

Good luck! Sorry this is so stressful!

I think it’s pretty important to know what math she is in. Physics can be very calculus dependent, so if she is only in Algebra 2 or pre-calc, that may be part of the problem.

I agree that dropping to regular physics would not be a huge issue. Better to get a grasp of the material, regardless of the level of the course.

Which AP Physics - 1 or C? Is there a “regular” Physics option? C is usually a 2nd year course, so there typically isn’t an alternate. 1 is usually an “honors” version along with the mainline version.

Selective school certainly prefer/expect applicants to take each of the three major sciences, especially for STEM applicants.

Assumes facts not in evidence. OP did not say that either physics or 4 years of science is a graduation requirement.

Regardless of whether the HS gives credit for it, any credit-bearing course from an appropriate, accredited institution “counts” for a college’s suggested preparation. No college, AFAIK, states that such courses all need to be on one transcript

That said, if tutoring costs is an issue for the OP, courses outside the HS may not be a financial option.

@RichinPItt I know for a fact that top schools don’t necessarily expect or require physics. It may depend on what else the student can offer, of course, but in some cases, they even look past not having the required number of science classes, depending on the reason.

In any case, high school has enough stresses :slight_smile:

I agree with @skieurope that online classes may be too costly (I seem to remember $400 for a class), which is why community college (dual enrollment) may be an option for affordability.

We got our high school to accept online classes in advance. In fact, they were so impressed that the local ed foundation funded the school to join Virtual High School, which meant 25 students could take classes for free.

What colleges are on her list? What will she be majoring in? You might reach out to an admissions advisor at the universities she is interested in and ask them how many science classes they want to see.

$400 for an online class with a carefully vetted and well regarded teacher could be a bargain, depending on where you live. Physics tutors in my area are asking $100 an hour, or close to it. Those are for tutors who can teach AP Physics C along with the calculus that goes with it.

@skieurope All I said was that IF her HS did not allow outside classes, it would not show up on her HS transcript. I did not say she wouldn’t be able to graduate.

While colleges may accept outside classes, would they view a class taken in the summer with no other courses to be of lesser predictive value for admission than a class taken with all the other stresses of a regular HS semester? Just wondering.

In the 10 to 15 minutes that an AO spends per application, they are not going to analyze each course choice that deeply. They will look at the whole picture. But we’re getting OT.

I would also say to talk to the Guidance Counselor or Head of Science department if you truly think the teacher is teaching the questions wrong. Ask for them to observe a class.
Ask your daughter if others in the class are having the same issue and maybe talk to the other parents about talking as a group to the school.

Being on an alumni admission advisory council for a T20 school, I know for a fact it is correct. But whatever.

We were explicitly told by our guidance counselor that you did not need to have advanced science to get into UNC-Chapel Hill (our local flagship). She said she had had students get into UNC w/o it. Now, our school is very small and there are a limited number of AP classes, but they do offer AP Physics, which my kid will definitely NOT be taking, but she doesn’t want to go to UNC anyway (we live in Chapel Hill).

So it really depends on which colleges are on her list and what her major will be whether she needs AP Physics. You definitely do not need AP Physics to go to every college in the US, so help us narrow it down a little. Are we talking Harvard? Stanford? Or are you looking at non-Ivies?