Hi, I was wondering if anyone knows how do colleges look at PLTW Courses (for 4 years) on your transcript? According to my school, it is one of the leading providers of STEM education, but we have to sacrifice an AP or Honors course in order to take the class. Right now, I am taking Principles of Engineering, and it is very engaging. I would like to hear your opinions or if you are taking PLTW too.
They started that at my son’s HS when he was a freshman. He is currently a freshman CS/Engineering major at Swarthmore.
I cannot speak for admissions committees, but my husband and I felt that for the top-tier colleges we were hoping he’d get into (and did) that a more standard AP Bio/Honors Chem/Physics/AP Physics sequence would be preferable, especially since the program was brand new at our school. My son does have a friend who did (at least part of) the sequence, and he’s at Georgia Tech. My feeling is that if you are dead sure you want STEM and want to go to a tech school like WPI/RPI/GTech, it probably a good sequence. I’m not sure if the answer is the same if you are looking at LACs or other elite universities
DS who is an EE major at Northeastern did the entire PLTW series and found it very useful. However, he also took a good number of APs including both physics and calculus BC. I don’t understand why you can not do both.
In our school it would not have been possible to do both, as well as do all the other college-track courses (foreign language, english, history, math). Simply not possible, and I don’t mean from a work-load point of view.
@mom24boys my son is currently a HS Sophomore and is on track with PLTW courses, in addition to all the other requirements. He schedules English, Math, Science, For. Lang., PLTW, Music, PE, History/Science2. He foregoes his lunch hour and students are allowed to eat lunch during music class.
Ha, neither of my kids ever took a lunch at all! They did both take AP ComSci in addition to math. In our school both AP Physics and AP Bio are double period, which makes any “electives” impossible.
My son always had lunch, not having lunch is not an option in our school system. He had 7 periods, but was only required to take 1 semester of health and 1 semester of PE. He took a double period of English in 9th grade, so he did take a CC history class to fulfill one of his social studies requirement. He took 4 yrs English, 4 yrs science, 4 SS, 3 yrs Latin, 4 yrs math, 1 yr fine arts and 5 PTLW classes (they were his electives).
Sorry other school systems schedules don’t allow for this option. PTLW is a great program, but it does not replace the need for advanced math and science, it just adds the TE (technology and Engineering) to HS STEM.
College admissions treat PLTW just like an AP class. No need to worry about that. Best part of PLTW is that is lets you know early on whether you actually like engineering. Too many kids choose engineering because they hear it’s a great choice, but have no idea what they’re actually getting into. Also many kids might be great fits for engineering but don’t know about it because they were never exposed to it. My kids are engineering majors now because of their experience with PLTW.
Admissions may recognize it as a course as difficult/weighted as AP but IMHO it cannot replace taking Biology, Chemistry, Physics. Which in some high schools is what has to happen. Particularly if the student is planning on a STEM major in college other than Engineering, you are really up the creek without the standard sequence.
^ absolutely. If you intend to apply to engineering schools, having AP calc and physics are important.
You should not have a problem taking PLTW and the core AP courses. You are simply substituting a PLTW course for a AP elective, and that is fine. My son did both was admitted ED to Wash U for MechE. Make sure you stay on track to take AP Calc and AP Physics, as these are both important for your college prep.
@mom24boy It is impossible to take more AP classes (that are STEM-related), because my school mandates that you have to take a subject (Math, Science, Religion, etc.) for a certain amount of years. For example, I have to downgrade my social studies classes from 3 to 2 years and my world language classes from 4 to 3 years in order to take AP Stats, AP Physics, and AP Bio. Other than that, I should be able to take AP Cal BC and AP Chem.
@Chardo I definitely agree! It is a great program for anyone whom is passionate in STEM careers.
^ it can also help someone discover that passion
My daughter took a PLTW course and you can pay like $200 and get credits for it from Rochester Institute of Technology. My daughter was able to transfer that credit to SUNY Binghamton.
Don’t take AP Stats - it won’t really help for engineering or STEM in general; however, not having 3 units of social science (or even 4) will limit your number of college choices.