Should I take advanced math classes like Discrete Math or Linear Algebra for a better chance in top schools for CS major?

Hi I am a junior and I have completed AP Calc BC and Multi variable calculus in high school. I am thinking about taking Discrete Mathematics during summer and Linear Algebra in the senior year. Does that help in applying for CS major? I have done research projects in CS, but don’t have USACO or AMC or anything of that sort. Does strong math classes help in my application for CS major in top schools? Other option is to take business related classes instead of math.

Math is expected over business classes. It won’t improve your application, but lack of math will hurt it.

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A “lack of” Discrete Math/Linear Algebra in high school is not going to hurt an application.

Completing MVC is well beyond the typical HS student. Additional courses will be of marginal value, if any. I’d say take what interests you.

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Agree with @RichInPitt. If you had to pick probably Discrete. Personally, I would take a CS related class to find out what you like or continue with something that interests you like AI, ML, or Security. Second option would be to see if you could take a class that gets you out of taking a college class. S20 took an English class in summer at local CC so he wouldn’t have to take it freshman year. Said it would be a time suck for things he actually liked doing.

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Discrete math and linear algebra are central courses for CS, however, I suspect that they will not be taught as well in a high school setting, and colleges have no expectation that you will have taken these courses.

Having AP Calc BC and Multivariable Calculus is considered strong math classes for high schools.

I agree with @chmcnm that taking CS courses could be a better option, since it will give you a better idea as to what parts of CS interest you.


As a Junior in your same shoes, I’d go ahead and take Discrete Maths and then Linear Algebra. That’s what I’m planning on doing

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