Number of AP Classes to be a Competitive Applicant

How many AP classes should I take? There are some people in my grade (Freshman) who are trying to take 3-4 sophomore year, 6-7 junior, and 6-7 senior year. Personally, I don’t see the point in wasting your time like that. I honestly have no idea what to do. I really want to get into GTech as a comp sci or mechanical eng major and I heard that it’s super competitive. Is taking a lot of AP classes what I have to do to be competitive? I’m getting a lot of different answers from everyone I ask and was kinda hoping to get an answer from someone who’s already accepted into college. Thanks!

If all you want to do is study for the rest of high school, then by all means take all those AP classes. I will suggest that it is neither healthy nor necessary to achieving your goal of admission to GT. This is just coming from a mom of a HS senior so take it FWIW, but I would suggest focusing on the APs that are relevant to CS and ME like calculus, physics, chemistry, as well as English and any others that you find interesting. Take the number that will challenge you but not overwhelm. Then spend time with extracurriculars that you find meaningful, whether it’s music, part time work, sports, robotics club, etc. It’s my belief that AOs want to see interesting, engaged students more than those who are trying to pad the resume solely for the purpose of appearing impressive.


You should take the most rigorous core classes at which you can perform well, and then electives that interest you.

Yes, a rigorous set of courses assist in an application, but In terms of an “arms race”, many AOs at top schools have said that once a student has ~8 AP course, any more don’t differentiate a student’s curriculum in terms of rigor.

Though I would also disagree that a highly talented student taking a natural progression of courses, and performing well at them, is doing anything “unhealthy”. My D will end up with 13, has had 97+ averages in all, and has a full social/hobbies life.

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The upper bound of what OP mentioned was 18 APs, which I think is very likely unhealthy for a lot of students. My son took 12 and that was about right for him, although 6 junior year was one too many IMO. Taking 4 APs in the core subjects and maybe adding on an extra science, humanities, OR language (but not all) sounds reasonable to me.

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My son is on his 18th, senior this year. I would suggest don’t do it for admissions but only if you want to take the most challenging classes. It depends on the student. You could also sub in some independent study or college classes.

I can see where it could get unhealthy if you don’t stay on top of it.

APs are not all colleges care about. Take the ones you’re interested in. I’ve been accepted at Northeastern, UMich, UW, UCSC, and others this year, and I only took 1 AP as a junior (Physics 1), and I’m taking 4 this year as a senior (Economics, Spanish Lit, Calc AB, Environmental Science).
I enjoyed high school a lot more than other people I know. That doesn’t mean I partied every weekend (I’m actually not a partier at all), I just got internships I found interesting and spent time working and/or traveling when I wasn’t at school.
I doubt I would be a competitive applicant for a school like Harvard, but it was never my goal to suffer in high school just to get into an Ivy. If you want the perfect stats because your dream school is one of those, don’t take my path. But if you want to enjoy the next few years to the fullest and still be successful in college, don’t drown yourself in work.

Don’t overwhelm yourself with AP classes. You don’t need to take 6 AP’s in a year, take 2 or 3 your sophomore year and go on from there. If you find the workload totally manageable, then bump it up to 3-4 AP’s your junior year.