Parents of the HS Class of 2023

Best of luck on the therapy. It’s hard for our kids. I also have seen both my kids struggle mightily in the last year and it can be frightening to not know how best to help them.

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This week’s drama: Will S23 go to homecoming or not (its in a couple weeks so he has to decide asap)? And, the school announced the spring musical. He isn’t thrilled with the choice. And there are only 6 “main” male roles and there are 7 seniors and he isn’t sure what the chorus or ensemble will even really do with this production so he isn’t stoked about auditions. Thankful this is his junior year production. Hoping they do one he loves for senior year.
School good news: Met the AP Econ teacher tonight and he said his course is usually in the morning which means it would not conflict with music so my son might actually be able to take the class senior year.

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Need advice !!
D23 has AP CalcBC this year and is kind of struggling, not failing but she has been a straight A student throughout and now a B seems bad to her. We have tried explaining its okay to fumble a bit in the beginning , the classes just started.
She is doing her best but is now questioning if she will be able to do Calc3 (Multi-variate) next year - her only Math option left for Senior year.
My question is - do universities look at 4 year Math or will it be ok of she drops Math completely Senior year (she is scared her GPA will be impacted if she takes it). Undecided on major but wants to go business/STEM (but not pure math or pre-med). If she drops Math, which universities are out of scope for us?
Has not come up with her reach, target, safeties yet (I know this doesn’t help, but we are trying to start a list!!)
GPA - 3.97 UW , 4.2 W
Workload so far -
Freshman - AP Human Geo, Comp Prog , Hons Spanish II, Hons Algebra II, Biology, Hon Eng 9
Sophmore - AP Comp A , AP Stats, Hons Eng 10, AP World Hist, Chem, Hons Pre-Calc, Hons Spanish III
Junior - AP Eng Lang, Hons Spanish IV, AP Calc BC, Physics, AP US Hist, AP Macro Eco, AP Seminar

Anything else I can tell that helps in giving advice? Let me add, both me & dad did not attend college here so this is a new experience for us.
Thanks !

The best advice will come from your school or college counselor/head of math department , as they hopefully know how changes in course load at your school affect college apps.

My reply is based only on what I know from DDs HS:
–Calc BC is HARD for many kids, it is very early and being challenged and bouncing back from a B or a C first-assessment can teach a kiddo a lot about themselves: my DD21 had a rough start in BC last fall yet brought it back to an A by the end of the semester and had a higher A in the spring, got a 5 on the AP, etc.
–IF she really is totally lost: can she drop back to AB Calc? Our school makes everyone do AB before BC so here that would mean repeating AB–so the BC kids just have to stick with it and go for extra help etc, or I suppose they could change to AP STATs.
–our school recommends 4 years of math for every single student (SAT 25-75th%ile range is from 1200 to low1400s and about 35% end up at top30 universities/top15 LACs, so it is not a typical HS), but there are many math electives/paths with differing rigor.


My A/B student dropped to a C in precalc as a sophomore. I didn’t force him to do AP Calc. To keep with a math credit, we let him drop to the tech school math class. Yes it’s less rigorous but it keeps him active with math skills and keeps him with a math credit. His senior year we will let him do a different course for math besides Calc.


My kiddo struggled online last year in AP Calc and got her first B. It wasn’t designated as Calc AB but I think that is what it was…. She is now a repeat Jr at boarding school, where she was signed up for Adv. Calc with intro to Multivariable, according to her the teacher didn’t teach, just had them do problems on the board and didn’t even say if they were correct. After her struggle last year, and her being 8 hours away adjusting to boarding school, we supported her decision to drop it. She is taking physics with trig, so still doing math. The only other math left is AP Stats which she will take Senior year. So she will graduate with 5 math credits, but no math her Jr. year at the new boarding school. Will this look bad for college? I don’t know. I also don’t care, and I don’t think it really will. Maybe I am too optimistic, but she will have 5 science credits and 5 math credits a great gpa and test scores so if not taking math her Jr year (repeat) keeps her from being accepted somewhere, I am sure she will still get into a great school.

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Agree that your daughter/you need to speak with her high school about this right away: the Calc BC teacher, the head of the math department, and the college/guidance office. Talk with all of them. They are much better positioned to know what is required or expected in your state/area.

It looks like your daughter doubled up in math sophomore year, taking both honors pre-calc and AP stats, so she would still have 4 years of math even if she doesn’t take math senior year. So that’s a plus. That said, my D23’s high school REALLY frowns on students dropping math senior year, regardless of the level or number of courses reached junior year. It’s not a graduation requirement, but it’s unheard of, and I can’t imagine they would allow it for someone like your daughter who is interested in business or STEM. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh.

My D23 was also on track to take Calc BC junior year, and did qualify for it, but chose to take Calc AB. Senior year she’ll have the option of Calc BC and/or AP Stats. Is that an option for your daughter? Her math teacher said that, while the school does not require AB before BC, it’s a nice sequence junior to senior year, because the first part of BC should be fairly easy for students coming from AB, giving them some breathing room to work on their college apps.

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Taking Calc BC as a junior is pretty accelerated and the rest of her schedule looks fairly well loaded as well. Is there an option for taking AB this year and BC next?
Barring that, what are the possible resources to help her with mastery of the current material (extra help or teacher class hours, Kahn Academy etc.)? Does she have a heavy extra curricular load as well that leaves her with not enough hours in the day for digesting more difficult material?

It definitely sounds like your D as been preforming at a stellar level thus far with a rigorous schedule, but burnout is a real thing, so it’s worth examining the whole environment. At our school, seniors are required to take some form of math but I know that varies district to district. In terms of colleges, your daughter has already done enough to get into some fine schools that will carry her major. I’m not sure what kinds of schools she’s been targeting - if she’s got a list you can check each school to see what kind/level of preparation they are looking for in high school. Remember that only a very few (and mostly engineering/technical) schools even require or expect calculus. The standard math track at most places in the US have HS seniors finish out their math sequence with precalculus, so your daughter is way ahead.

Super dumb question, but how often do colleges you have been accepted to deny the accepted student to defer a year?

Thank you all for replying.
We are meeting with the Math teacher and Counsellor today and hope to get more insights into what her options are.
Since she already took Pre Calc and AP Stats her sophmore year, she doesn’t have any other Math course left in her pathway for senior year. We are regretting it now, should have kept AP Stats for later. Our school is the only one in the district that has Calc3 (MVC) in Senior year and if she sticks with BC this year then that’s her only option.
From what we know, the school offers either AB or BC and then next level is Calc3. Can’t take AB this year and BC next. So basically we are stuck.
She is doing her best by going for extra teacher help before school , Khan academy. What else helped your kids? Is Calc3 very very HARD?

Are you asking how many colleges forbid a gap year? Each of them has their own policies, most allow it, some don’t, so it’s a question that has to be answered by each college’s admissions counselor or advising office seperately.

Unless you’re asking something else and I misunderstood.)

Maybe I’m missing something . . . that makes no sense, as Calc AB covers only one semester of college calc, so there is no way a Calc AB student can be expected to jump to Calc3 the next year. Please be sure to press the math teacher and college counselor on this issue.

Yes, that was the question, if colleges won’t accept a gap year after acceptance. I know it will be college specific. Just wasnt sure if its basically a 50% chance or if its more common for them to be accepting after the pandemic.

It depends on the school. Even with the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, some schools, mostly larger publics, didn’t entertain any/many requests for gap years. I haven’t heard of private schools with policies as strict as those. Especially last year, most gap year requests were granted as late as July or even August.

Our high school is the same as @Mom_2023 - students take Pre-Calc AB and then Calc AB, OR Pre-Calc BC then AP Calc BC. There are also different levels built in to the Pre-Calc classes, with Honors versus “college prep” etc. One of my kids doubled up in math early and then took Pre-Calc BC - AP Calc BC - Multivariable. D23 is going the AB route, and will take Calc AB her senior year.

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My kid is not taking math senior year but he is not at all headed for a stem degree. He will have 4 years of math on his transcript and that is good enough for me!


@ MOM_2023 - here’s what we did
B1 - took calc AP AB jr year. Calc BC sr yr. the school didnt give him math credits as they said it was a repeat. nonetheless he started calc 3 in college and is now an actuary. He got a solid basis for math
G1 - took Calc AP BC jr. year. (different school than bro). She started multivariable sr. yr and dropped it as she knew she wasnt going into a math field. BC was a hard class; and she did not get full AP credit for it. No math Sr yr; she’s at a top grad school this year.
B2 - took calc BC jr yr. Sr yr multivariable but that was cut short with covid. Started calc 3 in college and it was tough. If we could do it again, wed have him take AP AB jr yr; AP BC sr year like B1.

i’ts probably too late; but i’d change if you could to AB; or take AB second semester. she has a great GPA; a B wont hurt; but you want to make sure she knows the info.

(i can’t tell how it works from a top school point of view. )

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Fyi, wyzant is offering free online ACT/SAT 1 hr tutoring sessions coming up.

If she quails at the thought of the top-level calc course (all greek to me, an English major) could she possible take a dual enrollment math class with a local college next year? So she’d still have 4 years of math showing…


I agree, something is left out: AB cannot go directly to Calc 3. I get that Precal can go to AB or BC at some schools(sadly not ours, AB is required before BC), but then if you pick the AB path and you do that as a junior, you would not do Calc 3 after–my guess is this school normally does APStat after AB, if the AB is done junior year?
Hoping in this case they will make the exception and just let her step back to AB then do BC even though at her school the first half of BC will be a repeat of AB. Maybe they would consider letting her step back to AB this year, then next year do something else(elective?) for the fall semester then join the BC class in the spring? That would not be repeating. Just trying to give you other options to work with when you go talk with them. I still think it is early and pushing through BC is still a very viable option and a growth opportunity!