Getting destroyed by 6 APs, want to drop something

kinda long, tldr at bottom

Pretty much what it says in the title. I’m in junior year, picked a stupid schedule, and am getting savagely mauled by it.

I have a 4.0 UW and 7.0 W gpa I really want/need (strict parents) to preserve. I’m 3 weeks into school, and I really don’t think that’s going to happen.

I’m currently doing AP lang, calc BC, us history, govt & politics, physics 1, and econ. There’s also an honors Spanish in there plus ECs and online coursework.

My main issue is english and calc. I can do english, but I hate it with every fibre of my being, and it takes so much time. I also just got destroyed on the first calc test, and looking ahead on the syllabus makes me wanna take up abusing adderall.

If I keep all 6 APs, I’m going to end up with the first non-A’s on my transcript and a downward trend in GPA. My school doesn’t have honors calculus or 11th grade english (only accelerated courses), so there’ll also be an obvious dip in course rigour as well.

No idea what to do, but I have until the start of December to drop without it being put on my transcript. I have an appointment on Monday with my counsellor to see how it might affect my weighted and rigour. I’ll have ~7 weeks to convince my parents to sign off if I do decide to drop.

tldr: being utterly brutalised, do I try to maintain 4.0 gpa or course rigour?

1 Like

Great you are talking to your counselor. Your mental health is far more important than any grades.

Have a schedule that is challenging but manageable.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint. There’s plenty of time to get where you are going.

If the goal is a ‘top school’ stop abd think what that really means. Failing won’t get you there. Stress/mental fatigue won’t keep you there.

There’s a wonderful life ahead of you.

Abd yes you likely need to lighten up.

That said there will always be subjects you don’t love. You’ll have to figure a way through those, AP or otherwise.

Good luck

1 Like

You should drop. Depending what your interests are, drop what is further from them. I’ve heard that Gov and Econ are fluffy APs, so I don’t know if anybody will pay too much attention to them even if you take them. I guess you can choose two of Lang, Calc and Physics and keep them. You have one more year.

P.S. Show your parents your grades so far, that might convince them.

1 Like

Can you take AB instead of BC?


You need to prioritize your well being. I am glad you are so self aware and see that this schedule is not sustainable for you.

I am sorry you are finding yourself in this situation and I am sorry the adults in your life thought this was a reasonable schedule. No school should be creating this kind of stress with no other course options.

You need an English and math, but they do not need to be those two.

There is no possible explanation why any student needs to be in US History, Gov, and Econ the same year along with the 3 other AP classes.

Pick what you are interested in. If it is not English drop that AP and find a dual enrollment or honors course.

What online course are you doing on top of all of this? Drop that if possible so you can focus on classes at school.

Assuming you are in the US - Is there another high school you can transfer to with more course options? A block schedule with 4 a semester may be better for you. I am guessing this is a magnet school or private school. The public high school you are zoned for most likely has far more course options and your GPA will provide a high ranking most likely.


Needing to maintain a certain GPA for your parents is a mistake. Not yours but your parents’. We parents make mistakes also. You need to talk to them also and let them know you are struggling. Glad you are meeting with your counselor. I would drop APUSH unless you are thinking of going into humanities. My daughter also hated APLang but stuck with it and it got her out of some prerequisites at her university. If you hate it with all your being and you’re not just worried that you’ll get a B in the class drop it. Sorry about Calc. It’s a demanding course. What you got on your first test is not generally reflective of what your semester grade will be. If you’re thinking of a STEM major keep at it. Gov and Macro you can take next year (they’re good classes to combine). One of my daughter’s friends took 6 APs junior year and seriously regretted it. You also mention college courses. What’s up with that?


I just came across your other recent thread. Please do not worry about self studying for AP tests for classes you never took. And you do not need to take college classes on top of a more than full HS Schedule. The colleges are really not impressed with this strategy and it is adding to your stress.

taking in junior year AP tests for eng/lang, calc bc, phys 1, us hist, micro, macro, usgov in school. self-studying AP spanish, chinese, japanese, comparative govt&pol, human geo

picked stupid electives 9th (no aps possible but still) and 10th grade (could’ve done ap world/euro). 11th and 12th grade taking college courses online (polisci/hist/foreign lang), probably ~60-80 credits by HS graduation

Find an activity you genuinely enjoy doing that is not a part of getting into a prestigious college or pleasing others.


You need to seriously regroup and put together a schedule for this year and next year that makes sense academically and for your mental health.

Are you going to apply to selective colleges? Do you know what your major might be? Put together a reasonable list that includes the 5 core classes each year and ask your counselor if it would be considered “most rigorous”. Eliminate the self-study. What would that look like?

Tell your parents it is what the counselor recommended— that should help there.


Thanks so much for the replies–some more info

  • there is no honours or AB calc at my school, just BC or calc A

  • there’s only AP Lang or English 11 A, no honors or DE

  • I go to the nearest public HS to my house (exactly average sat, so not at all magnet or anything). no idea what my rank (out of 500 kids) is but W gpa is the highest possible and a lot of the smart kids go to a near-ish feeder school, so maybe I’m in a good rank? no idea

  • speaking of feeder school my parents already tried to get me into there (been meaning to figure out btw—would going to one actually have improved my chances? like am I gonna get compared to those kids or just the few other kids from my school applying where I do?) or something but I messed up the interview and the entry exam so I’m really wearing thin their “wasted potential” tolerance already. currently looking into learning signature forgery.

  • not gonna be a stem major but my parents don’t know that so that’s also kinda a problem

  • dropped two of the online college courses

  • dropped self-study AP plan, just gonna show up for the non-offered tests in may (maybe more time by then?) and cross my fingers

  • cut piano/music, language learning, track, drawing. i have to read the entirety of of mice and men tomorrow and with the way this week is going I’m going to run out of adderall early

  • was really overambitious w universities, if I mess up this year the entire list might need to be thrown out—no idea where I’ll end up qualified to be applying, all energy currently focused on actively not dying. I mean you literally can’t improve a 4.0 so there’s literally nowhere to go but down but I just like…can’t

sorry for rubbish formatting, I’m kinda in a slow panic, tldr would be a lot more comfortable dropping into calc H/AB or eng H, but they don’t exist. going to ask counsellor for rank, W gpa formula, chances compared to feeder, anything else to ask/mention?

thanks so much for reading/putting up w my problems—means a lot strangers are willing to deal w me aha

1 Like

I think you need to slow down. When you are medicating to keep up, that’s not good.

You need to slow way down - perhaps talk to a counselor.

There will be a great college out there for you - and a great life - but over using medication, etc. is not an answer.

You should talk to your counselor, a doctor, and perhaps a mental health counselor because they can help you reset emotionally. You/your family have way too high expectations.

You are a human being and we don’t all run at the same pace - and that’s ok.

Good luck.


You will be okay :slight_smile:
Looks like you have already modified some things to help find some balance. You have got this. Keep the things you enjoy. ModelUN is tied to your major and it sounds like you enjoy it.

Do not worry about the other school - you can make this work right where you are. It just sounded like you were at some small hyper AP focused school when you said there were no other options initially. The A classes must be equal to college prep classes. That is fine if you have a couple in the mix. Get Calc down to Calc A if needed.

Please do not go sit for AP tests in May for classes you did not take. That will throw you off your game for those you are actually taking. Look at the AP Test schedule, some would be at the same time or the same day. Also, the schedule might help you decide which classes to keep so you have some balance during the testing window.


As a parent, this is heartbreaking to read. This is not how high school should be spent. You are clearly a bright person, but this current schedule and situation is not serving you well. You’ve gotten a lot of great advice and seeing your school counselor is a great first step. I hope that the counselor can help you with your parents so that you can be on the same page.

I wholeheartedly believe you should think about what you want in the future and then align your schedule with that. If you do not want to pursue a STEM major in college, there is no reason to take Calc BC your junior year. If you detest English, there’s no reason to take AP Lang. But you should think about what you really like/don’t like separate from what you don’t like because your schedule is too much. My one rule for my kids was not to take an AP if you don’t personally enjoy the subject matter - even if that means taking a regular/non-honors version. APs, above all else, mean more work, so make sure that you are only doing more work for subjects you actually care about and enjoy.

Will this have an effect on where you attend college? Possibly. But there are many, many wonderful places to attend college and you there’s no sense in burning out before you even have the opportunity to experience how much more there is out there in the world.

As a final note, do not self-study for/take APs, just for the sake of taking them. Colleges care very little about this and the costs are much greater than the benefits.

All the best to you . . . please prioritize your mental and emotional health as it matters much more than high school classes and grades and even college.


Out of all your classes, I bet BC Calc is the most time consuming, right? Can you substitute AP Stats for BC Calc this year, and then take BC Calc next year?
I’m only proposing this because BC Calc is so time intensive and Statistics is supposed to be one of the easier APs. I’m hoping that this would still be palatable to your parents because you’re still taking an AP math, yet you are buying yourself some breathing room.

I’m glad you’re able to recognize what you are able to handle and what’s unhealthy for you. Now we just need your parents to buy into a healthy plan for you. I’d bet they are putting all these crazy expectations on you because they are afraid that if you don’t go to the best schools and major in stem, you put yourself at risk of financial hardship and they don’t want that for you. So a long term plan would be to get your parents to realize that’s not the only way to financial freedom and success. But you need to focus on a short term plan first.

Let your counselor know these home dynamics so they can help frame things for your parents. I bet your parents aren’t aware that to get into a top school it’s better for you to take fewer classes and focus on an activity or two that will showcase who you are and what has meaning to you. These activities can help create a balance for you. If your counselor would be willing to meet with your parents and go over this with them, that might help a lot, if your parents believe this advice is coming from an expert. But we all know your counselor needs to be careful because the last thing we want is to add more requirements on you without taking some away.


I agree this is heartbreaking. I appreciate your dark humor but it also worries me!

This whole picture is based on wrong assumptions about college admissions at the top schools your parents appear to want.

I would drop AP calculus (take stats if you need a math) and the AP English. Drop any other classes that are adding to stress but not adding to your educational and emotional well-being.

I hope you can restart music and art. Those things may do more for admissions than the calculus class, and will certainly help your state of mind.

I really tried to encourage my kids not to even know their GPA or rank and they did well with admissions just doing what they loved to do outside of school.

There are many great schools. Are your parents hyperfocused on Ivies etc? Check out the website for Colleges that Change Lives to start. By all means apply to top schools and include some “little Ivies” (google that).

I want to respect your parents but also say there are some mistaken notions driving things, Perhaps someone could talk to them or you could talk to someone outside your family.

Keep that adderall down or get help with that. Again appreciate the humor but I have seen too many kids trying to keep up and abusing. Including some at Harvard. Do you really want to keep up this rat race at a school like Harvard? Something else to think about. What do YOU want.


This is not rational thinking. You are “qualified” to apply to hundreds of colleges, but they may not be HYP. Kids revise their lists ALL the time. Kids literally apply to or don’t apply to colleges at the last minute and that’s 100% normal. Throw out your “list” now. There. That’s one problem solved. You just started 11th grade. You don’t need a list for almost a year.

You said you are not going to study STEM. Drop Calc. You don’t need Calc to get into a great college, even a very selective one. Do it next year.

Someone said you’re self studying APs? Don’t–complete waste of time. Colleges won’t be impressed. In fact, they will be unimpressed if grades drop and you cut EC’s for self studied AP classes. Drop them all now.

These types of posts are so depressing. Bottom line, get the highest grades you can, with courses you can handle, with as much rigor as YOU can handle, without going insane and ensuring you still do things outside of school that interest you. Not taking some idealized 6 AP courseload that you think you need on the very slim chance you are one of the 95% not rejected from Yale or wherever.


Others are giving you solid advice as guidance counselors…I will give you some advice as a parent.

You should sit down and talk to your parents and make them aware of the pressures you are feeling. They love you and care about you. Please communicate with them and ask them to support you in finding a balance that allows you to be happy and successful.

I suspect they aren’t aware of the extent that you are unhappy, stressed and seemingly doing it to make them happy. Give them a chance to help and be there for you.

1 Like

Also consider dropping AP gov. Unless you are thinking of studying that in college, it seems the least useful of your AP classes.


AP lang, calc BC, us history, govt & politics, physics 1, and econ. There’s also an honors Spanish in there plus ECs and online coursework.

Drop the online coursework. Self studying AP’s doesnt “impress” colleges, they want you in class, participating, etc. Also, HYP and co have stated plainly “it’s not a game of who has the most Ap’s, wins”, (direct quote from Stanford actually but iterated in various forms by all Ivy+ top schools) and that 6-8 AP’s, TOTAL, carefully chosen, are sufficient for them to estimate your academic potential - after that the law of diminishing return applies because they mostly look at your EC achievements.

So, easy fix:
Take Calc A, keep AP Lang unless you really can’t stand it and in that case drop it but keep APUSH, keep gov&econ for senior year, keep Physics 1.
Junior schedule: Calc A, AP Lang AND/OR APUSH (and A version of the rest), AP Physics 1, Spanish Honors 3, one non-AP elective, music – and your schedule is still “HYP qualifying”.
Senior schedule: Calc BC, AP Econ&Gov, Spanish Honors 4, AP Lit or clearly senior honors literature seminar, APES or AP Bio, one non AP elective. AP World or AP Euro if available and not taken before. Still qualifying for all universities in the country.

Make sure to have 5 academic classes each year and if you’re musical or artistic don’t cut those classes as they can help “distinguish” you among a sea of similarly rigorous schedules + they usually involve students actually performing or doing things which can lead to interesting essays, “activities”, “honors”… for your college apps.

Being in the top 10 in your class is MUCH better than being in the feeder school if you’re aiming for top colleges. The feeder school will get middling students to decent colleges but it clearly wasn’t the right fit for you so you wouldn’t
Finally, you don’t need to rank #1, you don’t need a 4.0 - stay at 3.8-3.9 and you’re good. With more than half your GPA baked in at 4.0, you would need to really really mess up (like, a 1.0 average for the semester) to destroy your chances at selective 4-year universities. So, relax a bit. As long as you have B’s in your AP classes, you’re okay. Yes, even HYP applicants are allowed the occasional B (okay, not many, but literally a couple, in classes they took for general education or to strech/challenge themselves? Yes, absolutely.)


I am glad you have an appointment with your counselor to discuss what it takes to maintain a “rigorous” course load. Your counselor is the one that indicates to colleges if your schedule was considered rigorous and I have a feeling in your counselors eyes that does not mean that you take every AP offered at your school.

My daughter got into several Top 20 school with 5 AP’s and one Dual Enrollment course. At her school, that was pretty much all you could fit based on how scheduling was done. But she also was involved in several activities, one of which she was passionate about. She loves her school and is happy with where she ended up but regrets being so stressed about college while in high school. She is trying hard to maintain a little more balance in college.


Finding something that is palatable to the parents is what got this young person in trouble in the first place. And remember, we are not counseling them about truancy, trouble with the law, dropping out of school etc. We are helping them find a way to be the amazing conscientious student that they are without harming their health both physical and mental; a danger that exists because of ridiculous parental expectations. The time to stand up to this is NOW not later.

OP, talk to your counselor. I’m hoping they help not only with your schedule but also with your parents. Drop Calc BC, like a hot potato, just take regular Calc. Same with English. Keep the rest because I’ve heard no complaints about them and that must mean you must enjoy them at least a little. Tell your parents that you are not majoring in STEM and explain why.

And on a last note, I hope the stimulant overuse is a joke (it’s hard to understand humor online). It can really mess you up in so many ways. Please don’t take more than your doctor prescribed.