Parents of the HS Class of 2023

No big news here except that D23 went back to in person school 5 days per week this Monday. It’s currently only half days but in May they will go back to the regular schedule of 7:30-2:30, with lunch and extracurriculars all on site. Some anxiety and tears about going back, but a few days in it seems fine. She also applied for jobs over the weekend and had a call back for one-working at a popular seafood place on the water. I think the interview raised her spirits and confidence, but they said it will be a few weeks before she hears anything else. Crossing my fingers that we can get back to some semblance of normal this summer and start next year in a much better place. DH and I getting our vaccines tomorrow!


Our d23 got accepted to Inspirit AI too–teacher recommended it to her, thinks it is a good opportunity for her. She is debating it, still waiting to hear on other sci options, plus has 2 ballet summer intensives and has Act/SAT prep to do.

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Any ideas or recs on summer learning opportunities for a kid who is into business or finance? Penn has something that looks really interesting but the 3k price tag is too high for me!

D23 just finalized her course selection for next year. Won’t be confirmed until closer to August but she has requested:

Yearlong: English 101/102 dual credit (required for all Juniors), Chemistry H, Calculus AP, and ASL.
Fall: Econ/Gov and Shakespearean Drama
Spring: AP Psych and Neuroscience (above AP)

She’s excited and I think it’s a solid mix of core/harder classes and some more fun and elective options.


Our D23 just got her schedule settled too: While D21 is our humanities kid and doubled up on AP history-type classes as a junior, this one is a STEM kid:

AP physics C
AP Calc BC
AP language
Honors Bio
Honors French4

Oddly enough, it could be easier than this year (because AP Chem will be done).


Is AP Chem hard? My S is signed up for it. His school makes them do the honors class before they can take AP. He was going to take Honors physics but since Honors chem is a breeze for him, I convinced him to take AP Chem instead. I figured it might be easier for him than Honors Physics. I hope that was not a mistake.

@Theaterforme Our kids took APChem in their sophomore years and they did ok in it. I guess it depends on the teacher and the student if it’s hard or not. Since Chem is a breeze, it’ll probably be fine. There seems to be a lot of online help too.

D23 just got a response from one of the 4 summer programs she applied to. It was a no. She is not too concerned about it as it was a long shot. She wants to do something since she won’t be able to play sports while she’s still recuperating from surgery. Unfortunately she can’t drive now either but hopefully soon. Good news is the braces come off next month! Two years flew by. Moving away for college will be here before we know it.

My D23 is finishing up AP Chem this year a sophomore (took both Bio and Chem freshman year, each in one semester in order to take an AP Science sophomore year which is how her school does it) and finds it to be her most difficult class. There are definitely more seniors taking AP Chem than sophomores at her school, and AP Chem is considered tougher here than AP Bio…she also isn’t super mathy, and AP Chem requires more math than AP Bio, and science isn’t her favorite either (she’s more a humanities and social sciences kid). Plus I think online (she’s been remote all year) has been a tougher way to do the class. That said, while it was her lowest grade first semester and likely will be again this semester, she’s still doing well in it - she’s just having to work harder at it than I think she’s used to doing, and I think she’s apt to put pressure on herself, all of which leads her to say she thinks it’s her hardest class and that she is looking forward to being done with it. As @SoccaMomma said, I think a lot depends on the kid, the teacher, the school, etc., but it sounds as if your S has good preparation for the course!

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Wow. I’m amazed at the number of AP courses students are taking. Are your kids in public schools? My son who goes to a private school can only take courses recommended by his current teacher. So if he is in a regular class and has less than an A, he cannot go up to an honors course. Even with an A, he might still need to convince the teacher to move him up. He has an 88% in regular English 10 right now and I bet his teacher won’t allow him to move up to honors English next year. He will talk to the teacher and then I will too because he does well in the humanities courses.

Also, are your kids required to take Physics? Mine is and I’m terrified. Neither one of us are math people and I never took it. If you have older kids who have taken it, how much math is involved?

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My kid won’t take many ap classes.
So far he’s taken 4 “accelerated” classes (others may call these honors). He’s taking 1 semester long ap class next year, that’s it.

Hes not going for top colleges and we are allowing him to take the classes of his choice and hope his GPA goes up with “regular” classes.

He might take 2 more ap courses senior year.

@MDMom2023 I think the number of APs are very dependent on the school and the middle school classes too. We had 1 kid in private school MS/HS and 2 in public MS/HS (both Sci/Tech focused). The private school didn’t have as many AP classes offered there. The public school has many plus DE opportunities. Colleges seem to take all of this into consideration though. In all instances, they took APs only in subjects they were interested in. We know one kid who is trying for Val so he’s taking as many as possible (6 at a time). Some also genuinely love many topics so take quite a number of APs.

We’ve looked at each kids’ interests, goals, and past performance with teachers’ recommendations to determine courses. Of course the kids also talk to classmates too. For instance, DS23 tells me she was told not to take English 12 Senior year after APLang Junior year because it would not look favorable to Colleges and she should take APLit. Really? I call hogwash, but it’ll be her decision if she thinks she can handle the workload. Agree with @2plustrio on it being their choice.

These kids almost create or at least contribute to the college acceptance stress. I’ve been in carpools so I hear them talk. As she is my third, I’m a lot more mellow about it and realize it’s way more stressful than it needs to be. She’ll get in where she fits in and we can afford.

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APChem is the hardest course at the school. Mostly it is a senior course, but as Hon Chem is in 9th it is available for some in 10th. Most kids have Bs, some have Cs, As are rare. Almost every single kid gets a 4 or 5 though, for the past couple of decades. Agree it is math-heavy; concurrent precalc is a minimum, concurrent Calculus is better,

Private test-in school here, so it isn’t a normal distribution of high school kids. There are less APs than publics around here because they do not offer the easier ones so for the vast majority of kids there are no APs available until 11&12. And yes, they have to get placed into them with teacher approval and the correct grade in the prerequisite. The top 10-15% of kids take 6-8 APs total; the bottom quarter usually takes one. There are one or two that essentially everyone is allowed to try by 12th (Econ and gov), but getting in earlier is grade-dependent. Most above average kids take 3-4APs total. The school has 40-45% enrollment in Top30 Unis/Top 15LACs, so it does very well in college acceptance despite not having kids take 15 APs that I hear about on here. D23 is a bit of an outlier–her sister took “only” one AP in 10th (chem) which is still rare, yet she is taking 3 currently and took Stats in 9th. APChem is the first class to really challenge her, whereas her sister felt plenty challenged by the normal “top” group schedule (and and got in to her top choice college). The school encourages each to pick a schedule that challenges them, but not to the point of making more than half Bs or risking a C.

As far as physics: yes it is required; it is usually scheduled to be concurrent with calculus, but can be with precalc too.

@MDMom2023 My kids’ private schools (3 different AOB Catholic schools in MD) are the same way WRT placement in honors and/or AP. You must have an A in current class to move up to honors or AP, or, if they have a high B, they can move up based on teacher recommendations. There are a few APs available sophomore year, but most don’t start taking them until junior year.

My oldest (graduated in 2017) did not have to take physics, but by two years later at same school, my son was required to take it. He is not a math/science kid and it was a struggle, but he made it through with a B. S21 is graduating from a different AOB high school and was not required to take physics thankfully. D23 is at yet another AOB high school. I don’t know if her high school requires physics. She was admitted to their IB program that she starts next year which does not include a required physics course.

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I’m also really surprised at the number of AP classes the kids in this thread are scheduling! My son is nowhere near that. I think it just speaks to the way College Confidential skews towards high achieving students.

@SoccaMomma , my DS19 took English 12 after taking APs in Language Arts his sophomore and junior years. His college acceptances were exactly where we thought they would be, based on his GPA, ACT and general rigor. He was NOT in the elite/T30 search, but got merit from all of his matches, and was very happy with his college application outcomes.


AP classes: They vary wildly between schools. My D17/19’s high school, there were a grand total of three AP classes (plus one on-site DE class). My D23’s current high school, there are over a dozen, plus a full IB curriculum, but first-years aren’t allowed to take any except in very specific circumstances (that my daughter didn’t fall into). FWIW, my D23 is taking 2 AP classes this year, plus even though she’ll be taking the AP German exam her German class is technically an IB class and not an AP.

AP chemistry: I took this as a high school junior back in the day. It remains one of the few high school classes I actually cared about.

Science requirements: Our state requires 3 years of science. Most students in the district take a general “earth science” course 9th grade, then bio, then chem, and then the motivated ones take an AP bio or chem course, and/or physics. D23 is in a program where she did bio 9th grade, so she’s in chem this year. We’re pushing her to take physics next year because that way she’ll have all three of the usual high school sciences, and then she can decide if she wants an advanced science in any of those for a 4th credit.

Today’s news: D23 took the ACT this morning, and was just utterly exhausted afterward. She thinks she did amazingly well on the language stuff, not so great on the math. We’ll see in 5 to 8 weeks, I suppose.

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Interesting to read about such different situations with advanced courses. I think my son’s school has maybe 22 AP courses but such a narrow path to get into them. He might get to 1-2 by the time he graduates. Which ones are good for developing excellent writing skills?

My twins are taking an excessive (in my opinion) number of AP classes. This is due to one pushing the school system since 5th grade to advance him in math, the other joining an academic based EC a year early so being able to take an AP course a year early. Also, due to Covid our school system changed to a 4-4 class schedule for this year only, so students could take 8 classes in one year instead of 7. Additionally, several AP classes are offered at different levels and AP Comp Sci Principals fulfills a graduation requirement.

Lastly, they take after their Dad and not me. I managed to get a college degree without ever taking physics or calculus. I will say that they are both taking more AP classes then their older brothers who graduated from the same public HS. Second son graduated in top 5% and took 7 AP classes senior year which I strongly argued against. Class rank has since been removed, but the kids still compete against each other.

Twin 1 took AP Comp Sci Principles, AP Gov’t, AP Calc A/B and AP Calc C. Will only take AP exams in Gov’t and Calc C (As in all classes). He will take a CC math class next year (either Linear Algerbra, Diff E or Calc 3 depending on schedule), AP English, AP Physics C, AP World, AP Econ. AP Econ is taught over 2 years in our school system, one year micro next year macro.

Twin 2 took AP Comp Sci Principles, AP Gov’t and AP Econ this year. Will only take AP exams in Gov’t and Econ (As in all classes). Next year will take AP English, AP Physics 1, AP Calc A/B, AP World and AP Econ. He thinks he has an easy schedule, I think he is crazy.

Both boys will take Wind Ensemble and one will take German 3 and the other French 4. School has been virtual since last March and they will hopefully return to school in person in the fall.

My DS19 says that APUSH really helped his writing skills. I think, upthread, APUSH and “DBQs” are mentioned, the DBQ is some kind of essay format that is used heavily in this class, I think.

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I think my son will end up with 5 or 6 AP classes. I’m guessing the school offers maybe 10 total. He will take AP classes whenever they are offered to fill a requirement because they are easier for him. Less drill-like homework and more thinking. Regular classes go too slow for him and he generally does worse in them. I don’t think he will take a single AP test from here on out. He’s generally looking to get a BFA and those tend to come from less selective colleges or don’t require top grades to get into the few that are at more selective schools. But I agree that the availability of AP classes seems to very widely. We are aiming to meet the academic minimums to graduate, so his insistence on AP classes is a bit odd. He’s a math wiz, so hopefully AP Chem will be doable.