No Senior Year Math = Instant Death?

I made the decision to drop AP Calculus AB for senior year after I discovered that the only periods (1st & 3rd) it would be offered (as well as AP Calc BC) would conflict with the only period that AP English Literature would be offered (1st) and the only period that Vocal Ensemble (Madrigals) (3rd) would be offered. Since my passions run on the writing and singing tracks, I could never bring myself to compromise these classes just to have AP Calc.

I didn’t see anything terribly wrong with my decision until I read a comment by Voronwe (in the old forum) that not having a senior year math is equivalent to instant death in the admissions process. While I’m taking AP Chemistry, I’m not sure if that can make up for my lack of Calculus. (I would have taken AP Statistics instead, but again, it’s only offered during the AP Calculus period.) I know my chosen major(s) will probably involve English and/or music, and most of my awards and extracurriculars are from those very subjects. I’m applying to mostly LACs, like Oberlin, Wesleyan, and Reed.

But by not taking AP Calculus, did I just write myself a death warrant?

<p>well does your school offer an intro to calculus course? it would be a step down from AP, but it would still give you that senior year math...</p>

<p>For the schools that you are looking at, I think this presents a problem. I don't think it has to be AP calc, reg calc should be OK. I don't think, for these schools, your intended major will have any consideration. They will evaluate you along with other candidates and it is expected to get to calculus. So that will be red flagged. Then they will check why you didn't take it. So be sure to explain somewhere. Then they will decide if the circumstances and your other qualifications warrant your entry over someone who did that work (along with their other qualifications). So not a death sentence, but a somewhat weaker applicant, other things being equal.</p>

<p>I looked up the recommended/required math for each of the three schools you mentioned in the Princeton Review's Ultimate College Guide.</p>

<p>Wesleyan only requires 3 years of math, but recommends 4
Oberlin requires 4 years
No info was given for Reed.</p>

<p>If a school says something is recommended - means they do take students without it, but would strongly prefer someone with it.</p>

<p>Now, this may or may not be accurate - I'd suggest you double check on each school's website to confirm (or email admissions).</p>

<p>And by the way, people DO get into some very good schools without 4 years of math. Last year, for instance, Twinkletoes here on this board was accepted at Trinity College (CT) without a 4th year of math. So, don't panic too much. Just talk with admissions at the various schools of interest.</p>

<p>maybe you could take a calc class at a cc or a local university?</p>

<p>I'm not signed up for math as a junior. I've run out of math courses <em>blasted small-town budgetless schools</em>. I'm thinking of taking Calculus again or Calc II through my school's online Community college program, but I don't know...</p>

<p>If you don't take all your math in a row, you will totally forget it. Even after only a one semester break I forgot most of it, and got a D in inuitive calculus.</p>

<p>My brother didn't take AP calc (or any senior year math) because it conflicted with college courses he wasn't even getting credit for (my school only lets you get credit for one course a semester), and therefore didn't show up on any transcript, and he got in everywhere he applied, including Brown and Dartmouth. I think he's probably an unusual case, but you see, it does happen. I wouldn't say you're dead, but math would probably help.</p>

<p>Well, NO, you are not gonna die! Ok, now that we have that out of the way....</p>

<p>You could get admitted without any math in senior year BUT I believe most selective colleges, if not required, PREFER to see four years of math in high school (even if you have four years of credit due to acceleration, they like to see you taking math each year you are enrolled). So, if a college recommends or prefers something (such as math ea. year), it does not mean you cannot get in without it but it may affect your chances and why mess with something you may be able to have control over? </p>

<p>I definitely hear ya about the schedule conflict and agree that you should not give up AP English or Madrigals as these related to intended fields of interest. Though let me backtrack...ONE option would be to take math but get singing opportunities outside of school via voice lessons, community choirs and what not. </p>

<p>But let's say you do not do that and you want to take math as you really should. I have a three other ideas then. </p>

<p>One is to take Calculus as a supervised indep. study for credit. I have a daughter currently in a similar predicament. While she is in 11th grade, she is graduating a year early (applying to college right now), and she is at the level of AP Calculus in Math like you (due to two years acceleration). But the ONLY section of AP Calculus in our HS conflicts with her level of History/English (integrated course here called American Studies Honors)...basically the highest 11th grade English/History course. So, she had to be in that Eng/Hist class but giving up math did not seem like the way to go. She is not going into a field related to math and likely will never have to take a math course again as she is applying to BFA programs for musical theater. But we believe that her transcript would look best if she took math every year of high school attendance, even if she already had four years of HS math credits. So, she arranged with the AP Calculus teacher to do an indept. study but is not in the class. She sits in his office one period per day and gets the class assignments and tests and gets credit for the course. You could look into that same thing .</p>

<p>Second session is to do what my 18 year old did last year as a senior in high school. Due to acceleration in Math as well (two years ahead), she finished AP Calculus as a junior (nobody here does that) and thus finished our school's math curriculum. In order to keep taking math as a senior (not needing math credits but wanting to stay involved in math), she took a long distance math course via Johns Hopkins CTY. She took second year Calculus for credit and it is on her transcript. She earmarked one period per day to work on this long distance course. </p>

<p>Third idea is to take a class at a community college. That was not an option for my girls due to extracurricular commitments every afternoon and evening. The CC's also are not too accessbile here given the distances in a rural setting. </p>

<p>So, my advice is to try to stay involved in math each year of high school as you may be even taking it again in freshman year of college. </p>

<p>Good luck to you. You are visiting some great schools. </p>


<p>As noted, colleges you are looking at either require or recommend 4 years of math. However, the question is whether you already have four years. 4 years of math does not necessarily mean going through calculus. Many schools consider 4 years to be Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2/ some trig, and pre-cal/trig, or something similar thereto. What then happens is that many students will take that Algebra 1 in 8th grade and then many high schools reflect on their transcripts that you completed that course pre-freshman year. Colleges then count that course as being one of the four years of math required or recommended. If that is your case then you probably do not have anything to really worry about as long as your are not applying for science, engineering, or math major.</p>

<p>Good point Drusba. If this is the case, she needs to double check that her 8th grade Algebra will be included on her transcript in some way.</p>

<p>As an applicant, I will have no senior math on my transcript - but I will be taking Statistical Methods in Political Science in Spring 05. We shall see what happens there.</p>

<p>Can you just drop vocal ensemble for AP Calculus AB?</p>

<p><i>Can you just drop vocal ensemble for AP Calculus AB?</i></p>

<p>No--I'm Vice President of the Choir Council and by dropping that I drop choir entirely and thus lose the position (as well as a class I love dearly.) And I'm still wrestling over whether to pursue a 5-year B.A./B.M. degree at a place like Oberlin (as a vocal performance major) or just double major under a B.A. If I had no academic inclinations, I'd probably end up at a conservatory, but my love for writing runs deep, too. </p>

<p>Thank you all for your help. I do technically have 4 math credits starting from 8th grade; hopefully at least a few schools will accept that readily. But I think I'm going to look at what the local CC offers first before I make a decision to drop it entirely.</p>

<p>I'm a senior in high school, and I am not taking a mathematics course either. My interests lie in the humanities, and I don't want to take a course (calculus, specifically) to appease college admissions people. I'm taking three history courses (two at the AP level), and a sixth year of Spanish, so hopefully those two facts will offset any damage done to my transcript by lacking a fifth year of math.</p>

<p>While drusba is right that colleges are looking for four years math, the post of mine that the OP refers to had to do with HIGHLY SELECTIVE schools. There, four years is the minimum, and calculus is expected. I had pointed out that both "The Gatekeepers" and a major New York Time article pointed out that the notation "math" on a student's summary card was placed there ONLY if he or she had taken calculus, as the notation "science" was only placed there if bio-chem-physics was taken. The adcom in "Gatekeepers" was disappointed when a student didn't take calculus because it meant that he/she was not challenging himself/herself.</p>

<p>Of course people get into colleges without calculus. But with 200,000 students in the top ten percent of their class (probably more now -I am basing that on 2 million graduating seniors), if someone wants a selective school he shouldn't do anything to make an adcom put his file aside.....</p>

<p>I am in a similar situation:</p>

<p>I thought my life was over when I decided to drop AP Physics... it still may be! I had already taken honors physics and the teacher was going to be the same and the book was going to be the same. At my school, you traditionally have to take honors physics before you take AP, but because no juniors had taken honors physics except for me, they had to waive that policy and let a bunch of morons into the class. I talked to the instructor about this and he offered no help. So, here I am a prospective engineering student taking no science my senior year. I have taken a total of five(incl 1AP) sciences and math through AP Calc(incl college courses). This years schedule for me is AP Lit, AP Calc, AP Studio Art, AP European, Macro Econ at college, and next semester, Micro Econ at college. Not stellar, but decent, right?</p>

<p>Good luck, and don't fret too much about it as there really isn't too much you can do about it now.</p>

<p>I didn't take a math class my senior year because I had taken Calc BC my junior year and I couldn't stand the Multivariable teacher (and I didn't want to waste my time with Stat). When I spoke to representatives of a couple of different colleges, they told me that it was fine as long as you used that gap in your schedule to take another good class (for instance, I took two AP sciences my senior year). I think that, as long as you have good classes lined up, and your schedule shows that you aren't taking a math not because you want an easy year but because you are interested in other things, you should be fine. It might be something that you might want to mention in your interview (explain your interest in singing and writing and why those classes are therefore more important for you). Remember that colleges are looking for many different kinds of applicants, and you might be somebody that colleges don't see as often as people who cram in as much math and science as they can on their way to premed (like me :))</p>