TAMU - High School Senior coursework

By the end of his junior year, my son will have completed four years of high school science. He will also have completed high school calculus.

I thought I would have him take Calculus 1 and Chemistry for Science Majors 1 next year at community college.

Would it look bad on his transcript to take a math in the fall and wait to take science until the spring? He will also take dual enrollment English in the fall and a regular load of high school classes both semesters, but my concern is that it will look bad for him to lack a science class on his fall senior year transcript.

He wants to major in engineering. We visited College Station last week, but I didn’t think of this question until we were heading home again.

I will call A&M, but I want to see what others have to say.

Thank you!

Your son has had four years of science and advanced math–great! He is making a sincere effort to go above and beyond by taking another semester of science next spring. I believe Admissions would have no difficulty with this plan. The idea of doubling down with more math and more chemistry should help him when he gets to college. These are difficult classes for a lot of freshmen. Has he taken physics classes? These would also be very helpful. Engineering students need good grades their freshman year. The more they will have seen in high school, the better their grades in the corresponding college classes.

If your son would be a review candidate to TAMU (not an auto or academic admit student), then the more courses that indicate his preparation for engineering (i.e., math and science), then the better his chances for admission should be. I hope to hear about his physics preparation. Some of us have already enrolled engineering students, and we could help advise you with preparation. Also, any computer science preparation would help with ENGR 102 (first engineering course).

He has taken high school physics (which had an Algebra 2 prerequisite).

He took Biology and Chemistry in 9th grade, physics in 10th, and is currently taking Anatomy and Physiology (which had the first Biology and Chemistry as prerequisites).

When I spoke to someone in admissions, she said that engineering students who enter TAMU as freshmen are expected to take Calculus 1 and 2 (or whatever their numbers!) again, even if they have taken them at a community college. I hadn’t considered the positive view that having seen most of the material before might help his freshman year grades…

He may be an academic admit, depending upon whether he can boost his SAT score to the one required. He’s working on it!

Thank you for the encouraging replies.

If he takes calculus and Chem as dual credit as a Sr in high school, that will be required to transfer to A&M as credit.
He then will not retake Calculus or chemistry at A&M as a freshman since he will already have college credit. He will be required to take two additional maths, most likely Cal 3 and differential equations, as well as the two physics on campus to be eligible for ETAM.
AP credit does not have to be claimed and can be retaken for credit.

Is your son planning to try for Biomedical Engineering? It’s extremely competitive, and I would then give a longer answer for him to try to maximize his freshman grades. @Thelma2 is right as usual. Does your son have the opportunity to take AP instead of dual credit math and chemistry?

He may want Biomedical, though (right now) Chemical is his first choice.

Would AP be better? He can take the math and chem classes through our CC’s Honor’s College.

@Thelma2 , I wondered whether the part about him having to re-take those classes was correct. An admissions counselor at our nearest Prospective Student Center told me that today. I asked for clarification because I was sure that wasn’t right. She said the engineering college wants freshman students to take those classes again at TAMU.

@WTXMama Your prospective student center rep is confused what you are asking or is ignorant of the rule for dual credit vs AP credit. The guidelines are changing every year, so unless a rep is actively keeping up, they can give old info. My son is a current Jr Engineering major.

Here is where the distinction lies. A&M does not want students to take credit for Calculus 1 and 2. They want them to take it in a college setting, which is much more in depth than a high school AP class. Dual Credit are college credit classes. Colleges do not want you repeating courses that had a passing grade. So, your son would not repeat Cal I and/or II, but take additional math classes to satisfy the ETAM requirement.

Students who take college courses through their local community college that will also count toward their high school diploma are dual credit classes. Students must submit official transcripts from the community college or university that offered the dual credit classes to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to receive transfer credit.

Students must complete the following courses in at least two semesters before applying to an engineering major: two engineering courses, two math courses, and two science courses in the first year engineering curriculum. Exceptions will be made as needed for students entering with credit for the required courses. https://catalog.tamu.edu/undergraduate/engineering/

Required Coursework - General engineering students are required to complete at least the following courses ON CAMPUS at Texas A&M University with a minimum grade of C or higher:

Engineering: Two engineering courses from the following list:

ENGR 102
ENGR 216 or PHYS 216
Science: Two science courses from the following list – PHYS 206, PHYS 207, PHYS 222, CHEM 107/117 or CHEM 101/111, CHEM 102/112.

Math: Two math courses from the following list – MATH 151, 152, 251, 253, 304, 308; CSCE 222 (Discrete Math)

If a student comes in with credit for Math 151 and/or 152, they will be required to take two additional math classes from the above list, on campus, at A&M, during their freshman year.
Only the above sciences will count for the engineering degree. If a student comes in with credit for one or two sciences, they will be required to take additional science classes from the above list, on campus, at A&M during freshman year.

@WTXMama If he wants chemical, any AP/DC sciences not in the degree program will not count in the degree and all DC that does not pertain to the degree, will be applied to his electives.

Thank you, Thelma. What you’ve written makes sense, and it was what I’ve gathered through extensive reading, but I know that any of the guidelines may change. It feels sometimes like I’m trying to hit a moving target!

I suppose MomHopesNxtGenAg was asking whether he could do AP instead of DC for prep purposes. If he took AP classes (and scored well enough on the AP tests) he could opt to forgo the credits and essentially “re-take” the classes. That probably would boost his grades.

Lots to think about! Thank you so much for your time and wisdom!

@WTXMama Yes, as MomhopsnextgenAg said, if he takes AP calculus instead (BC is better than just AB, as BC includes AB) he doesn’t have to take the test. Mine didn’t, because he knew he would be retaking Calculus I and II at A&M. Without the test, he didn’t have the AP credit. But if your son did take the test, he can still send the credit to A&M, he just would not claim it, and would take Cal I and II at A&M.

I was where you are just a few years ago and great people helped me/him through the process. It can be very complicated.

AP and Dual Credit are good for the University Core Curriculum. Here is the AP list for engineering https://engineering.tamu.edu/media/174459/ap.pdf

UCC https://catalog.tamu.edu/undergraduate/general-information/university-core-curriculum/
AP Credit http://testing.tamu.edu/TestingServices/media/Media/PDFs/AP.pdf

@Thelma2 So, if he took CHEM 1411 through the community college (which is CHEM 101/111 at A&M), it would count only as an elective? CHEM 101 isn’t listed in the Chem Eng degree plan you linked above.

That might be a good option for him for next year’s science. I’m still thinking about math options.


The text here explains that some engineering majors, incl. chemical engineering, require two semesters of chem lecture and lab, starting with 101/111 or 107/117 and continuing with 102/112. Other engineering majors only require one semester lecture and one semester lab (chem 107/117).

Thank you. CHEM 101 wasn’t listed as part of the degree plan, so I thought it would be a good option for DC coursework that would conserve an “easier” course for freshman year.

@MomHopesNxtGenAg Could you share those tips for maximizing freshman grades (from post #7?)

@WTXMama In a nutshell, he can’t get out of taking 2 math and 2 science at A&M his freshman year, in General Engineering. If he takes a class as DC that is the equivalent to a class in the freshman year curriculum, he will be required to take additional math and/or sciences from the list provided by A&M, on campus, during his freshman year.

107/117 is an A&M made class that combines/condenses 101/111 and 102/112 for certain engineering majors that only require 4 chemistry hours. Other engineering majors require 8 chemistry hours and will take 101/111 and 102/112 or 107/117 and 102/112.

If your son takes DC 101/112, and wants Chemical or Biomed Engineering major, he will need to take 102/112 or 107/117 and one of the physics on campus. freshman year.

Required courses for Chemical Engr major https://catalog.tamu.edu/undergraduate/engineering/chemical/bs/#programrequirementstext

Required courses for Biomed Engr major

Any dual credit courses he takes that do not satisfy a degree requirement, will be used in place of his free electives. He will still be required to take major electives. The more hours he has that do not apply to a degree plan, could hurt him in the long run, should he decide to change majors, as many majors have hour caps for transferring into.

What Calculus did he complete? AB or BC and was it honors or AP?
What physics did he complete? was is honors or AP? Does your school offer physics C? That would be a good sr year science.

Get a hold of the report that came with his SAT and find his weak areas. Do a program to beef that up so he can be an academic admit.
What is is current SAT and math sub score?

@WTXMom The best preparation for freshman engineering classes, while these students are trying to make such a big transition otherwise, is for them to have seen some course subject matter before. They won’t have seen all of it before, of course, but every bit that looks familiar will help. The pace at which material is covered is so much faster. If everything looks foreign, you can imagine how tough the course would be. Moreover, with difficult enough subject matter, a person would need to return to it several times before mastering it, all the more reason to have seen as much as reasonably possible before. After time, students adjust to college depth and pace.