My high school does not have any honors classes. They have “enriched” ones that I thought counted, but upon review they don’t count for anything except regular classes(lame). APs are also not allowed until junior year, which is particularly troublesome for UC applications that only count sophomore and junior year grades. I’ve read some of the posts on here with people taking lots of APs even in their underclass years. I’m an entering senior and have taken a good amount of APs in my junior year and am taking quite a few this year, but will this lack of early APs hurt me and is there any way to let colleges know(or do they have some way of already knowing?)
I don’t think that it will hurt you. I have seen students at two high schools that have no AP courses at all nonetheless get into very good universities.
I think that universities will know that you were not allowed to take APs until junior year, but hopefully someone who knows for sure can answer.
Your transcript is only assessed in terms of what is avaiable for you to take at your school. Your app will not suffer because you are not allowed to take APs before junior year. The college will receive a school profile and they will be able to see how your schedule compares to the level of rigor available at your school. No need to worry.
Why not ask your GC what colleges students have got into the previous few years?
Regarding the UCs that you mentioned, the UC weighted-capped GPA that is often used counts up to only 8 semesters’ worth of honors/AP +1 points, presumably to avoid giving too much advantage for simply being in a high school that offers a large number of AP electives like human geography and such.