Junior Year Schedule

Hi Friends! First, let me apologize in advance because I do not know how to use College Confidential well. From the very minimal college research I have done, it seems that junior year is a pretty important year regarding academics. I would really appreciate some advice regarding which classes I should take in my junior year and whether self-studying is a good idea. For context, I go to a small (public) school in the middle of nowhere in Florida, so no Disney or Sea World around here haha.

So my school is an early college program but I can take additional courses through Florida Virtual School which is available to all public school students for free. My school only allows me to take AP electives, foreign language, or history on there. So to the point of this post here is what I have so far and I was wondering which I should go with or whether you guys have better options!

Summer 2021:
AP European History
Fall 2021:
Pre-calculus algebra
Organic chemistry 1 (taking AP this year)
Introduction to Philosophy
Written Communications 1
Spring 2022:
Differential Calculus
Introduction to Eastern Philosophy
Written Communications 2
Organic Chemistry 2
My full-year classes would be AP Spanish Language, AP Computer Science A, and self-studying AP Psychology or AP biology.

So the alternative schedule I was thinking of was not taking orgo in high school and doing biology on my community college instead and replacing philosophy with a core class because I was told that it’s better than taking electives. Please let me know what you think and whether this course load is rigorous (I am aiming for ~T20 universities)?

I’m not an expert, but I would suggest a more rigorous English class than Written Communications - especially as it seems you are trying for selective college admissions (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). Maybe AP Lang if they offer it - or really any honors level English course.

I’m a little confused about your math choices - my son is a junior and is taking pre-calculus; typically the next course would be Calc AB or BC (for strong math types, which it appears that you are). Is differential calculus the same?

Also, if you haven’t taken APUSH (AP US history) I’d suggest that before European.

My community college is weird about naming stuff but yeah it’s calculus 1. The college also does pre calc in 1 semester. My school doesnt offer any APs so I have to take them all out of school and AP lang isn’t an option!

I’m taking APUSH right now! Would you suggest taking organic chemistry or doing biology?

Have you covered all the standard lab sciences already (meaning have you taken honors or better Physics)? Otherwise, the choice between AP Bio and Organic chemistry would really be up to you depending on what you are planning to study in college.

To put it in context, kids at my son’s public school (MA) who are shooting for top 20 (my son isn’t one of them) would take some combination of the following AP - AP Lang, APUSH, AP Physics, AP Bio, AP Chem, AP Calc B/C, AP Computer Science – of course, there are other APs offered but those are considered the most rigorous at our school. These students will have taken honors level for any other classes (AP not available until junior year). Hope this is helpful. I’m sure there are others who can be more helpful than me as my kiddo isn’t looking at top 20s.

As someone who took a super rigorous schedule - 14 AP’s now in senior year! Here is my Junior Year schedule I had:

AP Seminar
AP English Language
AP U.S. History
Honors Pre-Calculus
Honors Chemistry - I took AP Bio sophomore year
Spanish 3

  • I also took european history & psychology at a local CC

Do not self study. Top colleges want you in class, collaborating with others, participating…

Do not take Organic chemistry. If you want to be premed, you must take it at a 4-year college. If you want to be a chemistry major, your CC course may not transfer or be sufficient for the major.
Have you taken Physics? (Honors or Introductory Physics or Algebra Based physics)? If not, it’s a must.

The combination of 2 Philosophy classes would make for an unusual and very rigorous choice.

Could you take AP Euro during the year instead of during the summer? It’s a rigorous course but I’m not sure it’d be done in enough depth over the summer and you likely would have forgotten everything by the time you take the test.

I have not taken physics but I thought I could do it in senior year. I could definitely take European history during the year but it would cut my schedule space…maybe that’s a good thing?! Since philosophy is an elective would it still look rigorous?

Philosophy is an elective for HS graduation but in college it’s considered a very rigorous class. Often, it counts as English/Humanities.
A possible recommendation

Class of interest (not AP)

AP Euro
AP Spanish
Science for non science majors (look at your catalog, there could be really interesting seminars like “Climate and cinema” or “astronomy, stars, and sci fi ideas”… that would provide a kinder introduction to college science)
Introduction to Philosophy
Written Communications 1

AP Euro History
AP Spanish
Differential Calculus
CS for non science/non CS majors
Eastern Philosophy
Written Communication 2

College elective of interest

Senior Year
Statistics or Calculus 2 (depending on what major you’re thinking of)
Advanced Spanish communication&culture
Algebra-based Physics
Comparative Literature

Discrete math
Some sort of “mobile app design” or “creative computing”
an Art or Humanities class you’re interested in
Culinary Arts (will yield dividends all life long :slight_smile: )

Oh I was under the impresssion you have to take a core science to be competitive?

4 years of science is preferable for most universities, I know this helped me a bunch, by having a fully loaded 4 year core schedule (4 of History, Math, English, Science) it made up for my average GPA

Yes, but a 1 semester science classin college= 1 yearlong AP class. So, you’d have an intro science (wouldn’t count for rigor but would count in terms of science and would ensure you “rise up” to college level science if necessary, if no “rising up” turns out to be necessary it’s an easy A, take it) then one important science. Could be Biology if you prefer, I’m not sure what sciences you’ve taken beside Chemistry where you seem rather advanced, and finally Physics which is one of the 3 core sciences (you need 1 each of bio, chem, physics, 1 one AP, so you’d be done with Bio, Chem, AP Chem, and Dual Enrollment Physics which you seem to have or in the process of taking.)

You’re only expected to take 4 DE classes per semester (equivalent to 8 HS classes per year, a high workload ith high rigor) and if you take 1 or 2 APs on top of that it’s going to be a super rigorous schedule junior year, equivalent to 10 courses in HS. You want to let up a bit senior year because you’ll be writing your applications then in the Spring you’ll want fun classes but also you’ll want to be done. :slight_smile: