I have been taking no APs in 9th and 10th grade. Am I doomed for my future and good schools?

I just started my 10th-grade year. I am taking math and English honors this year. Last year, I did the same. Am I doomed? Did I mess up for competitive schools? I have friends who took ap bio in 9th grade and taking ap chem or ap world this year.

You’ve asked variants of this question several times, and the answers have all gone along the same lines: no, you are not “doomed”.

Longer answer: when you apply to colleges your GC will tick a box indicating how rigorous your courseload (relative to your class & the options available), ranging from not at all to the most rigorous possible. I’m guessing that you have already met with your GC and laid out a 4 year course plan, but if you haven’t, get yourself down there & do so.

“Competitive schools” covers a very range, but in general the more competitive the school the more they like to see students who push themselves. When asked ‘do you prefer a student who gets an A in regular or a student who gets a B in AP’ the standard answer from an AO is ‘we prefer the student who gets an A in AP’- which is obvious & unhelpful! IMO, you hurt yourself more than having the AP helps if you go into an AP class and don’t ace it.


I do not see any problem here at all. Just do not worry about it.

Take the classes that make sense for you. If you do take AP classes, take them when you are ready, in subjects that you are good at, and try to get A’s in the AP classes.

When it is time to apply to universities, do not be too impressed by a big name or a high ranking. Look for colleges and universities that are a good fit for you and that you can afford.

As a graduate from MIT and Stanford, I have spent nearly my entire career working for bosses who were graduates from an in-state public university, working with coworkers who were graduates from an in-state public university, and no one cared where anyone got their degree. As a graduate student at Stanford, I studied with a lot of very strong students who had gotten their bachelor’s degree at an in-state public university. This is not a problem.


Thank you. How many aps did you take?


and ill take lots in 11th.

I will try to get A’s in aps

APs are not magic. Many, many schools limit (or forbid) APs for 9th & 10th graders. Some schools don’t offer any APs, or only offer a handful. Read this. Re-read it regularly. Believe it.

Put your anxiety into following this advice!


Thank you so much, I will read it.

At my kid’s school, very few kids took APs before Junior year. Yet the kids who did not take APs in 9th and 10th grade ended up in Dartmouth, Cornell, Stanford, U Chicago, Duke, U Michigan, USC, WashU, UCLA, Berkeley, top Liberal Arts Colleges (Pomona, Williams, Middlebury, Carleton, etc), not to mention over 100 at UIUC, dozens at Purdue, UMN, Wisconsin, and other T-30 and T-50 colleges, and a few more hundreds with great financial packages at great colleges which are not in the “top 50” lists created by different corporations.

So no, you’re not “doomed”.

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I attended a high school that did not offer any AP classes at all. I took every math class that my high school offered, but this did not include calculus. I was rather surprised when I got to MIT and as a freshman discovered that my calculus class was rather small because most of the rest of the freshman class had AP’d out of calculus. Fortunately freshman physics and freshman calculus were coordinated, so that they would teach something in calculus and then use the exact same thing a few days later in physics.

I also like the “applying sideways” blog from MIT. My take on this is that you should do what is right for you and do not do what you think might (or might not) get you into MIT. This is in fact exactly what I did (without seeing the blog, which is more recent).


Try to develop interests through extracurriculars and service. You can take AP’s later in high school if you want. I honestly feel that what you do outside of the classroom is more important, for you and for colleges. If you take AP classes at some point that interest and challenge you, great, but if they are stressful and take time and energy away from other pursuits, you can take honors. At this point, no worries.

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But, they did take several honors?

@r59b1, just stop. You can only run your race. Go re-read the Applying Sideways piece. Or read this one: There Is No Formula | MIT Admissions

Your focus needs to be on you- your academics, your interests. Do your best. There will always be people "ahead"of you, just as there will always be people “behind” you. When I was on a swim team we would get extra laps in workout if we got caught checking to see where the other competitors were- because it meant that part of our energy and focus was on other swimmers and their race, not on putting everything into our own race, and that’s how you lose.


Yes, most classes had honors level. Interestingly, the fine arts classes did not have honors options. They do have AP Studio Arts, though, and fully equipped art studios.

It’s silly to think that something as insignificant as that will “doom” you at all. I personally took significantly less APs than other students at my school, and I still ended up at a top 20. But college admissions don’t only look at course load, so make sure you’re doing stuff outside of school!

Am i messing up because I am not taking college level classes as a HS freshman? NO.

Are there some people that are capable of that? YES

There will always be people better than you…RUN YOUR OWN RACE.

Mantra for the HS student:

Do not think 'Every point I get off of a homework or test is a point away from going to Harvard."

Think: “I need to do my best, and there will be a college that is right for me when I graduate.”

Do not think “If I don’t go to an Ivy League School/Top20, I am doomed forever.”

Think: “No matter where I go, I can bloom where I am planted. I can get involved and shine.”

Do not think: “My life is over…the kid in my math class is taking 20 APs and I am taking 5. I will never succeed.”

Think: “I need to challenge myself, but only to the point where I can still do well.”