Should I take AP Physics C next year at the expense of my sanity?

So basically I want to major in CS, but i’m a little concerned that (as of rn) I won’t have taken any core science AP’s. I’m a junior, and next year i plan on taking APES, AP Lit, AP French, AP Econ, and Calc 3/linear algebra (among other classes like gym and stuff)

I took honors physics this year (and have taken a pretty rigorous curriculum throughout hs), but I know for top CS programs they really like to see AP Physics.

Am i screwed for admissions if i don’t take it? it would be nice to have a life senior year.

I know the obvious answer is to drop APES and replace it with physics, but i actually find APES interesting and might want to minor in environmental science.

Would it be better to drop ap french and replace that w physics? But I know advanced foreign language classes are also important for admissions.


(for reference, I am applying to pretty competitive schools, didn’t want this to become a chance me post but i’m aiming for notre dame/rice/brown/etc (all reaches obviously))

Great question! Tagged it with a few relevant tags and moved to College Admissions.

For the few schools you listed, you don’t need AP Physics C.

really? those are pretty competitive schools

If you are applying to CS through CoE at Cornell, Physics C would be expected. If you are doing CS through CAS, you have more wiggle room.

Physics C is definitely a challenging but beneficial course and especially with your calc background you’d probably do well in it!

I was in a similar situation as you this past year, and what I ended up doing was taking Physics C and self-studying for the AP French exam (which you may or may not find feasible depending on your skill level), and I was able to mention that I was taking the course exam-only on my resume for some colleges (including Brown, for instance). Do you think something like that would work?

It sounds as though you do not have AP Bio or AP Chem on your transcript. For the schools you listed and most top schools, as a STEM kid, you need at least one of the core Ap sciences. So take APPhysC. Drop APES. Unless your high school counselor says otherwise. Taking the hardest courses available to you at your school is important to all top schools, including the ones you mentioned.

I would drop APES and take either AP Bio Chem or Physics. In general I don’t recommend taking two AP sciences in a year (unless you are a science whiz) because of the lab commitments.

This is grossly overrated. Two science classes was the rule not the exception at my son’s HS. He too AP Physics C concurrent with Calc AB and AP Chem his junior year and got As in all of them.

Since CS is not Physics intensive, I’d look at your schools and see what you might be able to test out of. You might not have to take it again.

Good luck!

Every HS is different. Two AP sciences was absolutely not the norm at our HS (FWIW there were only two people my D’s year cleared to take two AP sciences – one ended up at CalTech and the other at Stamford.

I’d recommend the OP should talk to his/her guidance counselor and/or science teacher for their advice.

Exactly, it’s school dependent. Hence, broad proclamations probably aren’t appropriate.

Hence the use of the words “in general” in my earlier post.
Since CC is not a debate society we should move on.