Not taking a fourth year of math?

Hi everyone,
First form, I posted a thread here a few week ago about dropping AP Lit—I decided to stay in the class, and I’m glad I did.

However, I’m currently struggling in Pre-Calc. Not struggling as in “welp, I might just give up,” because I will fight for this, but I’m worried about earning below an 80. I want to take pre-calc, but I don’t want a C.

I have a few weeks to decide (we have a grace period for dropping classes). What should I do?

Here’s an overview of my senior year courses:
AP Latin
AP Lit
AP Macro
Standard Physics
Standard Pre Calc
Honors Government
Honors Wind Ensemble
Senior Thesis Project

Currently at an competitive public high school.

Some schools I’m looking at:
Trinity College

Intended Major: Geography (urban studies/planning at Trinity).

Thank you.

My D took Pre-Calc as a junior and couldn’t fit either block of Calc into her schedule without dropping her foreign language or orchestra (which related to the majority of her ECs). Her GC pushed her into one of the IB math classes because he felt it would strengthen her application. She was targeting schools that were a bit more selective than those on your list.

That being said, take a look at what the graduation requirements are at each of the schools you are considering. They may require math to a certain level or a specific number of credits. Then take a look at the course catalogs to see what their “entry” level math classes are. At the school my D is attending, their lowest math class is Calc 1 and Pre-Calc from HS is a prerequisite. If you were applying there and you dropped Pre-Calc, you wouldn’t be accepted because you wouldn’t be prepared. Granted, you may not be admitted with a C but at least your transcript shows you are working on it.

If you’re struggling now with precalc, get on top of it immediately. Go to extra help as often as possible and get a tutor if you can. Nip it in the bud before it becomes a bigger problem.

I suggest you look at those colleges’ requirements for their applicants. Syracuse, for example, says: Although not a requirement for admission, the best way to academically prepare for college is to take a college preparatory curriculum, including four years of English, science, social studies, and mathematics (through geometry and intermediate algebra), and a minimum of three years of a foreign language. Clearly, this is what they prefer to see.

If you’re not planning to study anything that requires more advanced math, you might not need to take it. But I’d ask your GC if it’s expected or not from students at your school. You don’t want to weaken your app, but you also don’t want a C if you can avoid it.

Notice that Syracuse doesn’t say these suggested course are required. My son was accepted to Syracuse with only two years of FL, not the three recommended. If you decide to major in something that required those math courses, Syracuse would offer them.

It doesn’t necessarily doom your app not to have all the recommended courses. But if your stats aren’t at the top of applicants they seek, lacking a bit of rigor isn’t helpful. Personally, I’d take precalc and try your very best. Then again, you aren’t applying to super selective colleges so it may not be quite as important.

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Before dropping, I’d take a look at the course requirements for the Geography major at your intended colleges - you may find they want more math than you realize and it may well be worth digging in now to finish precalculus by going to extra help, getting tutoring, using Kahn Academy, etc. to set yourself up at best advantage for your desired career path going forward.

In some states 4 years of math are required for high school graduation. North Carolina, where we are, is one.

I wouldn’t drop it, but that said, you will be applying before your final grade so be sure to try your best in the first semester.

A few things to consider

1 Do you have enough math credits to graduate if you drop math?

2 have you looked up or spoken to college admissions at the schools you are interested in to see if you do only take 3 years of math ending with algebra 2 if that will impact admissions
For example UVM does say 3 years of math but also says Most successful applicants exceed the minimum entrance requirements. Any exceptions to these requirements are made on a case-by-case basis

3 What happens if you get a C, lots of people get into college with one C on their transcript and you are not trying for top colleges -dropping out of the class be more detrimental than a C would be