Harvard's Recommended Courseload

<p>On their website it says</p>

<p>"There is no single academic path we expect all students to follow, but the strongest applicants take the most rigorous secondary school curricula available to them. An ideal four-year preparatory program includes four years of English, with extensive practice in writing; four years of math; four years of science: biology, chemistry, physics, and an advanced course in one of these subjects; three years of history, including American and European history; and four years of one foreign language."</p>

<p>Do you think it would but someone at a serious disadvantage having taken 4 years of science but only with 2 general science (in grades 9 and 10) and then 2 specialized biology courses (11 and 12) - I'm confused if they mean that you should have courses in bio, chem, and physics. </p>

<p>Also, I will have taken 3 yrs of french, in gr 9, 10, and 12. Does this missing grade 11 yr hurt my chances or would admissions see that I was apt enough to go straight to gr. 12 french and not care?</p>

<p>Any insight would be appreciated.</p>

<p>You're fine. This is their way of saying "don't take an entire year full of photography and gym classes."</p>

<p>I think Dwight's advice is right in general but I do think that what they are trying to say is that most accepted students have a solid broad academic foundation.</p>

<p>Continuing on that theme, a broad science background is one of those components. Maybe your schools two years of general science accomplishes this. At my daughters high school school, typically Bio is standard freshman year, chem is sophomore and physics junior year. There were other science courses offered as well. D did "7 years" of science. </p>

<p>As for french, why was 11 grade omitted? Did you hate foreign language and quit it only to add it senior year for college applications or was it necessary for you to give up french in order to accomplish something else academically? Though I don't care about the answer, Harvard might.</p>

<p>hhahah ok thanks guys. and although you might not care smoda, yes it was to accomodate another course (cant remember which). the only "easy" courses I've ever taken are drama and music which fit into my passion for the arts, as well as an open World Religions course for interest's sake. but i think it was for math or science or something.</p>

<p>so basically you're saying, send a letter explaining that with my app?</p>

<p>If you wish, since you gave up the language for another academic purpose, you can ask your GC to reference this in his/her report. It would be easy for him/her to address this point at the time they discuss your coursework.</p>

<p>PS just saw your latest post. If you have a good relationship, I like the idea of the GC addressing it better. I also may simply be apparent in your transcript and nothing to worry about. I hope others will provide their opinion as well.</p>

<p>These courses sound awfully familiar. Are you from Ontario? </p>

<p>I believe I read on Harvard's website that they recommend a broad scientifc foundation with at least one year of Bio, Chem and Physics. (In my case, I took my Grade 9/10 general sciences, Grade 11 Bio, Chem and Physics and Grade 12 Bio and Chem.) Of course, that's just their suggestion. And don't worry about the French thing - I got a Grade 10 credit in Grade 9, a Grade 11 credit in Grade 10 and then my Grade 12 credit in Grade 12. I think what they want is that you end up taking the most challenging course, whch you have.</p>

<p>I should note that I'm planning to concentrate in Government and eschew science courses altogether at Harvard. But I think they're looking for a general foundation. Maybe you should take a Chem Subject Test to show you can do it (after buying a study guide, of course).</p>

<p>misterg - you won't be able to avoid science courses completely. Gen ed requires one Science of Living Systems and one Science of the Physical Universe for graduation.</p>

<p>2009-2010</a> FAS Preliminary Courses of Instruction
^ those are last year's approved courses but you can at least see the 8 categories.</p>

<p>How much of a disadvantage is it to only have three years of language (to level 3, not 4)?</p>

<p>Hey everyone, thanks so much for the info! </p>

<p>@ smoda yes I think you're right - I will probably get my GC to attach some supplementary information. </p>

<p>@misterg haha, yes, I am from the ottawa region. That's not a bad idea about the chem subject test. i think i could do it. we shall see.</p>

<p>@hahalolk 3 yrs is still better than many. is there any way to take gr. 12 french through correspondence or something?</p>

<p>I need an opinion on something else now too. I have recently found out that one can take AP tests on their own. do you think it's a good idea to do so for one or two courses to prove i can do it (my school doesnt offer it). or do you think this will make me seem worse because i only did 2 as opposed to most applicants who do AP and would have...i donno like 5 or 6 or whatever.</p>

<p>Also, my GC just told me that Biology may conflict with Drama next year, which got me thinking: should I really take drama and music in gr. 12, or is that too many "easy" courses? I know I should just do what I like but to me it doesn't really matter.</p>

<p>Bump (in the hopes that one of the above will see this - or anyone else)</p>

<p>Regarding AP tests w/o the class, I know I have seen many CCers mention doing this. I'm not sure if it is actually advantageous to do that. Hopefully someone in the know will let you know. My understanding is that primarily Harvard is going to want to see that you made the most of the opportunities available to you. If your school offers very few AP, or restricts when AP may be taken that will make a difference. Another way to access is in context of YOUR school and graduating class and not as compared to all Harvard applicants. If most top students in your school take 6 APs, then your taking only 2 may be viewed as not taking the most challenging coursework. On the other hand if 2 APs are typical of the top students, then you probably have few concerns. (example: at D's high school, when older brother went through the AP offerings were few and restricted. He had 2 APs and no one had more than 3. He got into both Ivys he applied to but went elsewhere. D, four years later, graduated with "the most difficult coursework to date" which was still only 6 APs. Each of them took advantage of the school's offerings.)</p>

<p>As for Drama vs Biology, I'm not sure I can answer but you might get better responses if you presented your entire intended schedule so your decision can be looked at in context.</p>

<p>^ Thanks for the input. Believe it or not, my school offers absolutely NO AP and I doubt most people here have even heard about it.</p>

<p>My schedule for next year as is will be: Calculus, Advanced Functions, Biology, (maybe Drama), Vocal Music, English, French and Law.</p>



<p>You must take a European History Class? I must be reading this wroung.</p>

<p>Please PM me.</p>

<p>Um, the European history and the 4 years of French kind of worries me. Because of a lot of stupid scheduling issues, I ended up having to drop AP Euro and honors French (I took AP French Lang this year, so next year would've been what was previously the AP French Lit curriculum before collegeboard cut it) and I'm taking honors East Asia. (AP Euro conflicted with my calc class and there weren't any history classes at the honors/AP level during my free blocks, so I had to pick a class to drop. =/) Will this look really bad?</p>

<p>Would it hurt me if my school does not offer to teach French, but I taught it to myself fluently?</p>

<p>^How would self-studying hurt you? If anything, it shows initiative.</p>