<p>The University of Virginia requires that applicants take 4 years of math in high school. That's perfectly understandable and a similar requirement seems to be catching hold in many of the top public universities (and even some that are not so "top"). UVA indicates on its most recent Common Data Set that they recommend 5 units of high school math, however. I think UVA is the only school I've encountered that states a preference for 5 units. What does this mean in practical terms? Does this really indicate that a year of calculus is recommended or is a 5th unit of math often taken by top students in Virginia public schools?</p>

<p>Ask your HS guidance office to translate. Or once the current admissions cycle dies down (April?), contact the UVA admissions office & ask. If an admissions officer visits your school, ask them (if it isn't too late for your course selection). (I think they will say "take the most rigorous program available to you at your school.")</p>

<p>D is at UVA. She had HS level Geometry, Algebra I & II, Trig (I think they called it pre-calc), AB and BC Calc, AP Stats. Seven (yikes - kid's an over-achiever). My translation of the UVA requirement is therefore - Geometry, 2 years algebra, trig, and at least one more from whatever your HS offers beyond that (likely AP Calc or AP Stats). As much as you can get if going for STEM.</p>

<p>Take your core courses every year. Don't drop core courses for electives.</p>

<p>The core courses for us are: English, Math, Science, History, and Foreign Language.</p>

<p>Dean J - So, five years of FL even if the student completes year four in their Jr year?</p>

<p>Here in NYS the core high school math courses are Algebra, Geometry, Trig and Pre-Calc or AP Calc AB. Students accelerated in math take Algebra in 8th grade and then follow the progression: Geometry, Trig, Pre-Calc, Calculus AB. Accleration is really the only way to earn 5 math units (unless you take Stats in addition to Calc Jr. opr Sr. Year. </p>

<p>I'm just curious as to why UVA recommends 5 years when they already require a math course each year for all four years of high school.</p>

<p>As a NYer I'm less confused by the 5 year FL recommendation since it is SOP for students to complete their first year of FL in middle school.</p>

<p>The data set comes out of the Office of Institutional Assessment, not admission. I don't know why they put 5 units. We don't even have hard and fast requirements. We'll read any application that's submitted and completed.</p>

<p>From an admission stand point, we want you to take your core classes each year. You may hit your HS's requirement in 10th or 11th, but we want you to take your core classes through 12th grade.</p>

<p>Thank you Dean J for your candid answer. The recommendation for 5 years of math didn't make much sense to me and UVA is the only flagship university I could find that appeared to recommend 5 units of math (although Wisconsin suggests 4+).</p>

<p>I know in our area of Virginia, many students start Algebra 1 in 7th grade. If you take just one math class from 7th-12th grade, you wind up with 6 math credits: Alg 1, Geometry, Alg 2, Math Analysis (Pre-Calc), Calc AB, Calc BC. Starting last year it became much easier at our high school for students to take 2 years of math in one year. It is very likely that future graduates from our area have 7+ years of math before they graduate (they will add at least a trig class and maybe AP Stats). My freshman daughter will be on that path. I don't necessarily agree with that approach, but it is what it is and the students are anxious to be considered "most rigorous" so they can have a shot of getting into our top schools.</p>

<p>"I know in our area of Virginia, many students start Algebra 1 in 7th grade"</p>

<p>I think we have about 200 in our HUGE school system that take Algebra in 7th grade. Only kids at the 2 magnet schools are allowed to do that. These are the same kids that take HS language starting in the 6th grade at 11 years old.</p>

<p>Plenty of students make it to BC Calc after taking Algebra 1 in 8th. They generally hop over AB. There is overlap between the two. Taking AB before BC is probably helpful to some, but not a necessity.</p>

<p>Starting foreign language in 6th grade has been standard in certain regions for decades. :)</p>

<p>Anyway, take your core courses each year. That's the main message I have.</p>

<p>My D started high school foreign language in sixth grade and continued on through her sophomore year of high school when she finished all her high school had to offer in her chosen language. She will also finish high school next year with seven units of math as she started with algebra in 7th grade and is taking two math classes next year. This is not uncommon for gifted/accelerated students in our area.</p>

<p>"Starting foreign language in 6th grade has been standard in certain regions for decades."</p>

<p>Who determines if a FL course meets requirements for HS credit? I know some kids now take FL early in elementary school. I would assume that doesn't count toward HS. Do the local school boards determine that or does some other entity?</p>

<p>TV4caster, the high school foreign language credits my D earned in middle school are the exact same foreign language credits that can be earned in high school. The classes are even often taught by the same teacher that teaches it at the area high school. However, my D went to a gifted magnet program which maintained its own foreign language teachers.</p>

<p>Blueshoe- same with my D. I was curious though if it was the same for all middle school courses in FL. Are there places where that FL isn't a HS credit. Also, along the same lines, when kids take a FL in elementary school I would assume it never counts. I was curious who or what determines if a FL counts as a HS credit when taken early.</p>

<p>^^I believe the school system and the instructional specialist for world languages define the criteria to be taught for each foreign language offered at the high school level. It is the same whether your child takes that level in middle school or in high school. My D was offered foreign language instruction in elementary school as well, but on an exploratory level designed to introduce students to languages that they can later take in middle school and high school for credit. Most students are not ready for high school foreign language as young as my D was and they are offered exploratory languages in middle school as well.</p>

<p>I am wondering... Would an AP Economics course count as continuing "core" courses? Would it count as a social studies course? Could this class be selected in place of continuing history courses like AP Euro or AP Government. Would this be acceptable for a student who does not like history? Assuming of course that the rest of a schedule was rigorous and continued with the other core courses, Math, Science, FL etc.</p>

<p>I believe any AP class would be considered a core class, except maybe AP studio art.</p>

<p>The cardinal rule is take the most difficult schedule that your school offers, that you can reasonably handle. When the Dean said "history" above, I believe she meant "social studies", which would include AP or honors level government, economics, etc.</p>

<p>Minimize the study halls and the fluff classes and the classes that are not honors or AP or Dual enrollment.</p>