High School Planned Courseload (rising Sophomore)

Hey all. I’m currently a rising Sophomore in High School, and currently interested in a pathway taking me to a major in Comp. Sci. in college. My target schools that I’d like to be competitive in by applications include of Virginia Tech, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), etc. have a reach school of Carnegie Mellon. I have my planned course load below, along with some primary extra-curriculars. Please let me know if you suggest anything different, or to add on for these goals.

Currently a rising Sophomore; already completed all 9th grade courses, and registration has been completed for 10th grade. (Completed Spanish I, II, and Algebra I in middle school)

9th grade:

Honors World History/Geography I
Honors Biology I
Honors English 9
Dual Enrollment Intro. to Health & Medical Sciences (lost interest in medicine, so not continuing pathway)
Spanish III
Summer Health/PE 9

(completed with 4.37 GPA Weighted/4.0 Unweighted)

10th grade:

Algebra II
Honors Spanish IV
Honors English 10
Music Lab-Guitar
Electronic Systems I
Honors World History/Geography II
AP Computer Science Principles
Honors Chemistry I
PE/Drivers Ed. 10

11th grade:

AP Physics I
AP United States History
AP English Language and Composition
AP Computer Science A
Cybersecurity Fundamentals
Dual Enrollment Introduction to College Engineering
Student Helpdesk (hands-on experience with troubleshooting, and device repairs for school-provided technology)
Economics and Personal Finance (required by school)

12th grade:

AP Calculus BC
AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
AP United States Government & Politics
Dual Enrollment College Composition 12
Probability & Statistics
AP Science Lab Seminar (co-req. for AP Physics C)
Networking Hardware Operations I & II
Dual Enrollment Entrepreneurship: Business Ownership and Management

Notable Extra-Curriculars:

  • Volunteer as a docent at a local historical tavern from the 18th century (since 4th grade).
  • NJHS Member (8th grade)
  • Participated in SGA (Student Government) from 4th grade-9th grade)
  • Member of school FIRST Robotics Programming team.
  • Completed Continuum Joy of Coding Summer program from University of Michigan
  • Row Crew for my school (since 8th grade)
  • Volunteer with technology assistance at my local synagogue

Bump for previous post.

They are okay. I think you might get into Ann Arbor but I don’t know. CS is so competitive and you need to bump up yo ECS man. Also, how do u guys take physics C E&M before taking physics C mech. Also u aren’t taking any chemistry class which seems super strange since I’d think it was a requirement. IDK abt your schedule whether its good or not thats up to you whether you want to challenge yourself which I’d recommend. It’s CS man its so god damn competitive because everyone just wants the paycheck and not the actual passion of learning it.

I’m not sure if I’m blanking, but what is ECS?

Not sure, but my school doesn’t offer AP Physics C: Mechanics. We do AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism; Mechanics (so pretty sure its both courses in 1, with 2 AP exams.)
School provided description of course:

This college-equivalent course begins by allowing students to build on their own understanding attained in a first course in physics. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that Physics C be taken as a second-year physics course. During the second semester, students will complete a study of college-level Electricity and Magnetism. In May, students will complete two end-of-course AP exams, each corresponding to approximately one semester of college work. This course is rigorous, mathematically-intensive, and conceptually-abstract. Calculus is used whenever appropriate in formulating physical principles and in applying them to physical problems. Strong emphasis is placed on solving a variety of unique, challenging problems. Students who are co-enrolled in AP Calculus BC or who have never taken a physics course may take the course with instructor approval.

Yeah I am- 10th Grade :arrow_down:

Lol didn’t see the chem MB. I meant to say Extra-Curriculars not ECS. You seem to be taking a rigorous course load nice.

Your projected classes look good, focus on your grades and you’ll be in good shape. A few bullet points to consider.

  1. Take the level of class that is right for you and where you will get good grades (don’t jump from honors to AP in History if it seems to be a struggle).

  2. Think about your ECs in three buckets and the first one defines you, it’s that activity you like to do for no other reason than in makes you happy, the second say’s I will be a valuable member of a community. I volunteer my time and efforts to help others. The third should show your interest in you intended major, and for CS it can be a portfolio of work or a Resume of your experience. All these combined should be able to tell someone what makes you, you! Don’t pick things you think will look good find things that interest you.

  3. Don’t fall in love with any specific colleges. There are 100s of great schools out there for CS, use your time to start looking into all the different schools and programs to see what fits you the best. Remember you are trying to find the right school for you, not make the right you for a school. Take a look at large public colleges, small liberal arts schools, Schools like WPI that have a project based curriculum, schools like Drexel that offer Co-op programs, schools that offer combined degree programs. Keep a spreadsheet of all the schools you research and what you like and don’t like about them. When you find something you like go down the rabbit hole and look for other schools that are similar.

  1. Figure out whether you are better suited for the ACT or SAT and pick up a review book to get some additional practice.

I hope some of this is helpful, good luck on your quest and update this thread on what you are doing. 3 years down the road you can look back at the twists and turns in your journey.

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Got it! Thanks for the feedback within your first point - in the past I’ve done very well, and have a particular fondness for the history of the United States, and the structure surrounding it, so that’s mainly why I am planning on Honors World, and AP US. Your suggestions on how to structure my extra-cirrics. are really helpful; mainly because I’ve been doing things I’m interested in, but weren’t structured in any particular way to get the most out of them. I’ll be sure to come back here and update the thread whenever I have a major change, or question related. Thanks so much!

Just a quick thing on this.

In 12th grade I currently have AP Calc. BC & AP Physics C. My school recommends a Calc. course as a pre-req for AP Physics C (which is fair to be honest), however options taking a Calculus course as a co-req for AP Physics C. Is this advised against, or is it feasible? (If it’s recommended to take Calc. before Physics C, I won’t graduate with Physics C.)

The amount of calculus used in Physics C, particularly mechanics, is pretty basic. You should have learned the concepts from calc before it’s needed in physics.

I don’t know what your school offers, but you may want to look into local hackathons or coding contests if your school competes. Often these are sponsored by tech companies where you can meet people and learn about companies. Also my kids (in CS) participated in the USACO program, which starts gentle and moves up, with lots of online practice resources.

Is it common at your school to go from Pre-Calc to AP Calc BC? I only ask because at my kids school they were required to take HONORS pre-calc to take AP Calc AB. I do not know of anyone who took AP Calc BC without taking AP Calc AB first. This was a few years ago, so things may have changed, but it is the one thing that stuck out to me on your planned course load. Good luck!!

Our school doesn’t offer any honors math classes (I know - its really weird)

The most advanced pathway you could take is:

Algebra I → Geometry → Algebra II → Pre-Calculus → AP Calculus BC → Dual Enrollment classes

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Some schools teach AP AB for a year then AP BC for a year so you can’t skip AB however other schools incorporate AB into BC moving a bit faster so you can skip AB. Neither is right or wrong but you need to go by what is offered at your school and not worry about what others school do.


Sorry for late reply - been caught up with school :joy:. Our school basically does half a year of college calculus within AB, and a full year of college calc. in BC. So BC incorporates AB, just moves at a faster pace.

Chem is a requirement for a CS major!!?!?!

Calc AB is a subset of Calc BC. Not sure if it makes sense to take both.

It does when the school only teaches the BC topics in BC.

Strange… and inconsistent with the College Board’s definitions of AB and BC Calc.

AP Cal AB and BC are taught different ways at different schools - none are right or wrong just different. Students need to do it the way their school teaches it. Sometimes BC incorporates AB but sometimes you can not take BC without taking AB because it is not incorporated -

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I agree with those who said:

  1. See how you are doing in various classes before you sign up for APs…so if you do just OK in Honors World History then maybe AP World History isnt for you. Especially with those not in your major. It is better to find a sweet spot where you do well rather than thinking you’re impressing colleges with courses you can’t handle. Decide if you really need to take DE English? Why not AP Lit? I also would skip AP Stats…you have alot going on.

  2. Do not set your sights on only those colleges…If you do everything you say you would be a good candidate for those colleges…just like 10s of thousands of others. So decide what you like about those colleges and also look at others that are not as competitive in addition to them.