How important are Advanced Placement courses for MT?

<p>My D will be a junior this year. She has completed AP World History with a B and is planning on taking AP Psychology and AP Lit before graduation. She does not want to take anymore AP classes than that, because most of the time she is doing a show. She has been cast in great high school roles in the last six months (Rosemary in How To Succeed, Golde in Fiddler, Paulette in Legally Blonde and Audrey in Little Shop), so most of the time she is rehearsing and doesn't get home and fed until around 8:00. How important are AP classes when applying to schools for MT? Her GPA is 3.8 - thanks for any advice!</p>

<p>It all depends on which types of schools she plans to apply to. Some schools are more academically selective than others. Schools that are competitive academically do not simply look at GPA but at the rigor of the courseload chosen within the context of what that high school offers. </p>

<p>So, an applicant to schools such as NYU, UMichigan, Elon, Emerson, UMiami, Northwestern, and some others, should attempt to show strong academics beyond their grades but also having taken a challenging curriculum. I don’t know how many AP courses your school offers and so there is no magic number of APs needed and in fact, back when my kids went to high school, only one or two courses had the AP designation but they took the most challenging curriculum offered (which here was mostly Honors courses) and then some (accelerated, etc.). I don’t know if your school ranks and if so, if they use a weighted GPA for ranking. This is less important at the less academically selective colleges, but does matter at more selective schools. </p>

<p>The audition tends to count more than academics for admission at most MT schools, but this is not true across the board. For example, at NYU, academics and artistic review are weighted equally. At some schools, the student must be admitted separately academically than to the BFA program, such as at Elon. </p>

<p>So, the answer to your query is…it depends where your child plans to apply and also a closer look at her chosen curriculum all four years in the context of what your particular school offers. Also, if she doesn’t take AP in some subjects, will she take an Honors level? It is too hard to give an effective answer without knowing more of her situation. </p>

<p>I realize theater kids are very busy. I have a theater kid who went to extracurriculars in performing arts every afternoon, evening and weekend, sometimes getting home as late as 9 or sometimes even 10. She took the most challenging curriculum offered in our high school, plus accelerated (graduated at 16) and managed. She landed at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. </p>

<p>Also, in terms of scholarships, strong academic profiles can really help. My kid got some good scholarships to a number of BFA programs.</p>

<p>That said, a student should challenge herself academically, but to the point that she can handle the work and perform well in the classes. Each case is different.</p>

<p>Agree with soosievt. All the schools where my kids applied wanted to see rigorous schedules in their senior year. Both of my kids were extremely busy and had rehearsals everyday. Sometimes, they didn’t get home until after 9:00 and they had left for school at 7:20 in the morning. Yet, they both managed and had lead roles in shows and lots of EC’s. Some college counselors may not like seeing that your child took hard classes in their junior year but may “slack” off in their senior year.</p>

<p>My daughter, currently an entering sophomore at NYU, took 6 AP courses in high school and I’m sure that helped get her admitted with a scholarship that is paying over 1/3 of her tuition (and that’s a lot at NYU!). She took and scored well on the AP tests for all of them, and is getting credit for all of them, allowing her to take only 1 ‘Social Studies’ class in her college career, and no science or math. Credit-wise it is putting her 1 full semester ahead, which is allowing her some dorm picking and registration perks, and will allow her to easily minor in the Business of Music and Entertainment, possibly giving her some push into a ‘day job’. So although it made her junior , academically and choice of course-wise in college!</p>

<p>Correction: … it made her junior year tough…</p>

<p>Another correction (fingers moving too fast!) It really paid off financially and academically in college!</p>

<p>I also know some kids at NYU that because of AP credits, were able to graduate NYU in 3.5 years and saved a bunch of tuition money that way. That was not the case for my kid because our HS did not have more than one AP course when she attended it. Also, she would not want to graduate college early as she graduated HS after junior year and graduated college at age 20 which was young enough. But just sharing another benefit some kids had with their AP credits. Also, I’m sure my daughter’s academics helped in securing a pretty big scholarship at NYU too. So, it mattered beyond simply getting into college.</p>

<p>At much less selective (academically speaking only now) MT colleges such as BOCO, CCM, Baldwin-Wallace, UArts, Hartt, Coastal Carolina, Oklahoma City, Otterbein, or Roosevelt, for example, a lot of AP classes really are not necessarily to be admitted. They could help in terms of scholarships.</p>

<p>My daughter took 1 AP and 2 SUPA (Syracuse University Project Advance classes) and was accepted to Elon EA and NYU. I don’t think you have to have a ton of them. She had a rigorous schedule of Honors classes as well and a ton of EC’s.</p>

<p>That’s the thing. It is too hard to comment on the OP’s daughter’s situation also because we don’t know her entire four year academic schedule and if she has taken Honors level classes too or just what. Rigor involves more than AP and also is in context of what a particular high school offers.</p>

<p>I just went to a seminar sunday put on by the chair of a very good MT program. His very strong message to the kids was that you want to excel in school for a couple reasons. First, to be accepted to the university, they have a cutoff for core classes in math, science, language arts, etc and if you don’t meet that minimum then they can’t get you in regardless of your talent. Second, they need smart kids in their MT program because they know kids need that level of intelligence to make it in their program. He also emphasized they like kids that are well rounded and have interests outside other than MT. For the OP, your daughter with her AP sounds like mine. My daughter will have taken I believe 4 or 5 AP level courses by graduation, but also takes mostly honors courses when not taking AP. Your daughter should be OK, given she is doing so well.</p>

<p>One other thing. As I’ve been putting together spread sheets for scholarships, admissions criteria, etc, I am finding that good SAT/ACT scores are important to qualify for scholarships. So make sure your daughter does well there.</p>

<p>Thanks for the information! Her school offers a lot of AP courses but there isn’t a distinction between honors and regular classes. I’ve asked for a meeting with her college counselor. Thanks again!</p>

<p>I was able to get an extra 5K out of Boco because of her AP credits.</p>

<p>The guidance counselors do fill out forms that note if the student is taking the most rigorous classes offered. If AP classes are offered and the student is taking honors classes, then they are not taking the most rigorous schedule. They also look for kids who can balance their schedule between academics and arts. Not ones who sacrifice their academics for the arts. There are plenty of kids who can do both!</p>

<p>Can I just chime in here on behalf of the many, many kids who are working hard just to get good grades in non-AP courses? They are not dumb, nor are they slackers, and they WILL get into good colleges, I promise you! If your student <em>can</em> get good grades in AP classes, then those classes are appropriate for them. If it would consume all of their time and energy to get C’s (or even low B’s) in AP classes, then it is not by any means a “sacrifice” to focus on their strengths and build a solid academic foundation by taking appropriate classes. As an advisor and class dean at a relatively rigorous private school, I am constantly involved in conversations with parents who think their child will not get into “a good college” if they aren’t taking the maximum possible number of AP classes. This is simply not the case, and it can cause an enormous amount of needless anxiety for parents and students who become convinced that their courseload is inadequately challenging. Do what is challenging for YOU, and create a senior-year courseload that will allow you to work on your audition and application materials and function as a human being! Many students–don’t shoot me, parents, but boys in particular–are simply not ready for college coursework before they are in college (go figure). Don’t panic if your child falls into this category. I have seen many, many, many students (including my own older son) have excellent college admission results at schools that were a GREAT fit for them without taking all honors or AP classes. Yes, APs can help with merit aid and, later, with trimming the college courseload (this was the case with my daughter, who had 11 courses worth of AP credits and great grades), but they are not the be-all, end-all of admissions.</p>

<p><strong>Times3 dismounts from soapbox now</strong>. Thanks for listening and take some deep breaths out there!</p>

<p>Excellent post Times3 and great perspective and insight. At my daughter’s PA school, she witnessed many kids who decided to take standard classes their senior year instead of AP/Honors classes. I was referring mostly to them. They clearly stated and bragged that they didn’t want the extra work. She also witnessed kids who went to straight B’s in their senior year because they were already admitted to college. That’s the kind of attitude I was referencing. If kids were doing well in AP/Honors classes and then took standard classes- that’s a different story. My daughter struggled with math and she took honors courses in that subject. Her other classes made up for that. Even though my daughter found out she got into her college on September 30th, she worked really hard and she graduated with a 4.125 GPA (just stating facts for understanding). She knows she isn’t going into engineering. I do think for theatre that grades in English lit and language and composition are extremely important as so much of theatre in college is writing.</p>

<p>Thanks, supportive, for not taking my post as a diatribe…and you are absolutely correct in both of your posts when you point out that it’s NOT cool to slack off senior year if you’ve been taking H/AP courses up until then. I’ve actually seen a few kids who had their admissions revoked (not from BFA programs) because of senioritis, a highly contagious affliction that seems to be getting worse at our school every year. </p>

<p>By the way, my daughter was similar to yours–a strong student who didn’t let up even after she’d chosen her college–and 10 years later, in grad school, she recently expressed her concern over a 95 she received on a test (her lowest grade in her master’s program so far). Some of 'em are just born that way! She doesn’t just care about the grades, she is driven to understand the material, and she has that natural tendency to organize and get her work done–a trait she did not acquire from me, alas. My boys have been later bloomers academically, with good understanding but poor test-taking and organizational skills. I’ve just seen so many similar kids over the years that I know it can all turn out well in the end! It’s when parents are determined to bulldoze their child into a really unsuitable courseload that the trouble happens, and a side effect is that it robs the student of any reason to take the initiative. Hence my soap-box stance. :slight_smile: </p>

<p>However: A recent op-ed debate in the New York Times was over the phenomenon of “helicopter parenting,” and an excellent point was made that the kids whose parents micromanage are NOT the ones we should be worried about–it’s the far greater number of kids who are ignored or downright neglected. At least our kids know we do care and will pull out all the stops to help them do their best!</p>

<p>In our house, it was a little opposite. My son was salutatorian of the class. My daughter would say she must be the dumb one- her words not mine- because she would make one B while he was bringing home straight “A’s”. I never compared them and I assured each of them they they both had strong talents. Aside from math, they took the same classes in school and my daughter had to also balance online classes in addition to her heavy work load. I used to look at the grades online to make sure they were all set but I stopped doing that years ago. I had to completely trust my kids with their school work and I’m so glad I did that. It really helped them mature and that’s exactly the kind of student they look for in college. They learned how to be responsible and independent. Neither of my kids are great test takers but they are dependable, mature, and responsible. I told my daughter not to stress over AP tests because if she didn’t pass, she would just take the class in college. Both of my kids are on the young side for their grade and I was in no hurry for them. College should be the best time of their lives and the fact that they kept up their grades and didn’t slack will make them a success. In the professional world, no one cares what your SAT score was but they will care if you’re late for a call and don’t know your lines!</p>

<p>With regard to APs and college admissions, many of us have students who attend high schools that do not offer AP classes at all. My two kids attend(ed) different high schools and neither school offers AP classes. Therefore college admissions must have a holistic way of sizing up a student’s capabilities whether their transcript says AP or not.</p>

<p>If you look at applications, many colleges want your non-weighted GPA, which I believe normalizes data between schools that offer a lot of AP classes and those that don’t.</p>

<p>Because so many school systems use widely varying systems of weighting, colleges recalculate your GPA based on their own formula, based on the unweighted version. In addition, many will omit grades from arts courses and/or electives (there goes MY son’s GPA…). Usually they will be happy to tell you how they recalculate the GPA. This is also one of the reasons that highly selective colleges like to see SAT subject tests, AP scores, etc., as it gives them a more reliable basis for comparison that isn’t based on the high school’s grading practices. </p>

<p>In addition, your high school provides a school profile that lets the colleges know how many AP (or honors or IB) courses are offered, which allows them to interpret your transcript accordingly. One thing that does usually help is if the college is familiar with your high school. We know, for example, that many of the places my son is applying will NOT be familiar with our school–we simply don’t send that many applicants to a range of BFA acting programs–so his college counselor’s letter will need to be quite specific about the rigor of our classes. The colleges who accept a lot of our kids are familiar with our program and already know how to interpret the transcripts. Just another factor to consider…in case we aren’t all overwhelmed enough already. ;)</p>