How many AP classes and which ones are important to take before I end my junior year in order to be accepted at Stanford?
You should take the most rigorous schedule you can handle. So probably 3-5 depending on where you are in your math and language sequence. Definitely an AP English (such as Lang or Lit), AP Soc studies (such as Gov or APUSH), and AP science (Bio, Physics or Chem) plus a foreign language if you are taking level 4 now and AP Calc if you are in precalc now.
However, you have to make sure you can get all As (or almost all As) in this schedule and also handle all your extracurriculars. If you do not think you can, then I would dial back.
Stanford specifically says that admissions are not a game of who had the most APs, wins.
Typically, 6-8 AP over all of HS are sufficient to prove your ability to do the work, as long as you get As in all of them (scoring 5s also but not as important as getting an A).
You CAN take more than 6-8 but choose carefully and remember they won’t significantly enhance your academic rigor evaluation. NOT getting As in these 6-8 WILL seriously impact your odds.
Typically, if your HS offers them, you’d be expected to have AP Lang (or lit), AP history, AP Calc*, AP physics 1*, AP foreign language*, that is, one AP in each core subject, with more APs representing your academic strengths so that a student who wants to major in STEM would have more STEM AP classes (such as AP CS Principles&A, AP bio or/and Chem and/or Physics C). An applicant for Humanities majors would need to max out on all humanities and social science APs at their HS, and a combination such as “honors calculus and AP stats” would be acceptable. Your choice of courses, especially senior year, needs to make sense, showing balance between subjects, intellectual curiosity, and an area of interest in which you may “double up” (though not at the expense of a core subject).
- this could be adjusted and is NOT a requirement. If you have foreign language 4 not AP and are applying for STEM you’d be ok as far as rigor goes for instance.
Be careful of phrasing. Maxing out on social science implies APHG, all 3 AP histories, AP Econ, AP Psych, and AP Gov are all needed - not realistic.
And to state the obvious- one can have 20 APs with all A’s and get rejected.
One other factor to consider is what your high school offers. If your high school offers only a few AP classes, then even elite colleges will not expect you to take that many. If your high school offers lots of AP classes and other academically strong students in your high school ae taking many, then they would also expect you to take many.
Yes, sorry, I forgot that on CC it could be read as “take all of them”
To clarify: I meant in the 6-8 taken, there should be as many humanities/social science as possible while maintaining a balance with basic core classes. Play to your strengths and find other ways than AP to demonstrate these.
All of them, and none of them. There is no “magic formula” of:
TL;DR There is no such thing as “AP classes that you should take to be accepted to Stanford”.
Take a rigorous set of classes, do your best at them, do your best outside of class, and understand that 97% of all unhooked applicants to Stanford are not accepted.