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Help with senior class schedule conflict- engineering

austenburnsredaustenburnsred Registered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
edited August 2012 in Texas A&M University
Hey guys, so I'm a Senior at a 5A public high school in San Antonio, Texas. I'm working on my application to A&M for engineering, and I've done a lot of viewing on this site before when it comes to suggestions for applications. I know that it is heavily suggested to take advanced math and science courses your senior year, which is what I was doing anyway. I signed up for Calculus BC, Physics C, and Chemistry 2 AP. However, there's a problem...

I'm the President of our school's varsity choir program, and I just received a call, ONE WEEK from school, saying that BC conflicts with choir.

I don't know what to do. I'm scared that if I only take AB, my application will be affected tremendously. However, choir is one of my only, if not only, leadership positions I have in school, so I would hate to drop it. Plus I love music in general.

Which would benefit me more, taking BC, or taking AB and keeping my choir class and leadership position?
Post edited by austenburnsred on

Replies to: Help with senior class schedule conflict- engineering

  • toyotaTundraFantoyotaTundraFan Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    Taking AB Calculus will not hurt your application at all since it's an AP class. It bugs me to hear how people think taking AB will make them look bad in college apps. It's an AP class and if you have a good high school calculus teacher then you should be okay in terms of preparation. I am not majoring in engineering, so I can't tell you about how AB will hurt or help you in engineering major, but what I can tell you is that it will not hurt your chances of getting into A&M. In fact, it will help you like BC assuming you make a good grade in AB and have a good overall academic profile.
  • austenburnsredaustenburnsred Registered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
    yeah, i personally don't want to believe that it would hurt my chances, like you said, it's still an advanced math course. i've just read around that it's better to take the most advanced math course you can for engineering majors.

    a side note, if i do choose to continue with my choir class, would it be a good idea to address the conflicting decision in my third optional essay? maybe describing how my passion for music led me to ultimately sacrifice the higher-level math course, or something along those lines?
  • aGGieENGiNeeRaGGieENGiNeeR Registered User Posts: 961 Member
    It won't matter to the engineering program one bit because they are assuming no matter what that you are coming in with 0 exposure to calculus and physics. They know many people come in with experience in it, but from a teaching perspective they don't make any assumptions (There's a few physics professors who assume in your intro mechanics class that you know basic integration/differentiation both of which are covered in Calc AB). The choir achievements are much more impressive when compared to the slight advantage you would gain taking BC Calculus.
  • SimpleLifeSimpleLife Registered User Posts: 2,370 Senior Member
    Is this your first year as the President of the Varsity Choir? Or did you have that position in previous years?
  • austenburnsredaustenburnsred Registered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
    aGGieENGiNeeR: Thanks, that makes me feel a lot better! I think I'm going to self-study for the BC exam and take the AB course.

    Simple: It'll be my first year as the President, I just transferred to this school last year.
  • SimpleLifeSimpleLife Registered User Posts: 2,370 Senior Member
    ^Ah. I see. I was going to say that if you had previous experience in that leadership role, then you should go for the 'academic preparation' ahead of the 'resume building.' After all, how well prepared you are for college academics is far more important than how your resume looks (assuming that it already 'meets standards' for admission).

    But if you really can't cite any other leadership experience, then perhaps you should take AB and Choir.

    I agree with aGGieENGiNeeR that Calc AB will be adequate preparation for the start of your freshman year. However, I can also tell you that the students I know who took BC and entered with a 5 on their Calc BC AP exams were very happy to bypass a college math class or two. And, they felt well-prepared and confident in the math classes they did enter. BUT ... yes, Calc AB will be good enough.

    I have another thought... Is it possible to fulfill the role of President of the Varsity Choir for a semester withOUT being in the choir? My kids were highly involved in music in high school. They came across predicaments like yours all too often. Occasionally, they fulfilled their leadership roles and performed in their ensembles without being enrolled in the class for a semester or a 9-week period. The director understood and appreciated their work ethic. And THAT would be impressive on a resume too. If you think you could handle it and still do well in both Calculus AND Choir. Just a thought.
  • austenburnsredaustenburnsred Registered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
    I have some other leadership experience, but all outside of academics.
    I go in to see my counselor and then choral director tomorrow to try and find some solutions. So what you suggest is that I could maybe enroll in the BC course for a semester and then spend time outside of school working on music and leadership roles for choir? That sounds like a good compromise actually. Did your children switch back into their ensembles 2nd semester?
  • aGGieENGiNeeRaGGieENGiNeeR Registered User Posts: 961 Member
    By all means if you can fit all of it somehow or another then that would be best. The more preparation the better, but I would put more weight on the leadership roles and the opportunities that will come from tham because in my experience those kinds of positions lead to much more application material than just the positions themselves.
  • SimpleLifeSimpleLife Registered User Posts: 2,370 Senior Member
    ^^Yes, austenburnsred, I think you get what I'm saying. I'm not sure what your responsibilities are, at your school, as the President of the Varsity Choir. I'm not sure if that's more of a Student Board position or a Student Musician position at your school. In my kids' high school, the President of a musical ensemble was more of a student board position. It was an elected position. Being President meant holding meetings with the student representatives, planning and organizing concerts and social events with other elected student leaders, assisting the director with general leadership in matters of policy and logistics. Most of the music Student Board positions at my kids' school required work and planning outside of class time. Class time was for preparing the music.

    Student Musician positions, like section leaders, concert masters, drum majors, etc were appointed positions that required more interaction and involvement with the practice and performance of the music DURING the actual class time.

    If your job as President is what it was at my kids' school, you could still accomplish your presidential duties before and after school. In fact, the vast majority of the President's duties in my kids' school were accomplished outside of class-time anyway.

    But if your job, as President, is more of a Musical position, requiring things such as leading sectionals, conducting the choir rehearsals in the director's absence, keeping up with music folders, and leading your peers in more of a musical way, as opposed to an administrative way, then what I am suggesting probably won't work. For that, your director and peers would probably need you to be in class.

    My kids each had to juggle their schedules this way on a few occasions in order to accomplish what they wanted to accomplish in school. And yes, they always switched back into the class as soon as the scheduling conflict was over.

    For instance, my kids' music ensembles and our school's 9-week PSAT prep course were scheduled at the same time. The PSAT course was by invitation only -- for the top academic performers only. My kids wanted to accept their invitations, but all had leadership positions in their ensembles. They made deals with their directors that they would continue to learn their music on their own time, attend any out-of-class rehearsals, attend performances, and return to the ensemble class period as soon as the 9-week conflict was over.

    This also came up with a semester-long language course that conflicted with the ensemble period. Same deal. That son returned to the ensemble the following semester but completed his administrative obligations during the first semester, continued to practice his music outside of class, and performed with his ensemble even though he wasn’t attending the class.

    My kids were not the only kids to do this. There were a few kids each year in the various ensembles who did it for various reasons – class conflicts, tennis, a second music ensemble, football, etc. But ALL the kids I've known who were permitted to do it were students who were already recognized for their contributions as leaders and as musicians and who had already proven themselves to be super responsible. When there's a scheduling conflict, the school's music directors can lose out! At our school, the directors were willing to make compromises because they WANTED their most dedicated musicians and leaders to continue to contribute to the group. Without the compromise, they would lose these big contributors altogether for periods of time!

    I think it's safe to guess that you're a big contributor to the group, or you wouldn't be the Varsity Choir President. So, particularly if your duties are of the administrative sort as opposed to the musical sort, your choir director may be willing to compromise.

    But you haven't mentioned anything about your academic prowess. I would only recommend this if you are fully capable of keeping up with BOTH obligations and achieving high marks in both.

    If you think your Calculus BC grade will suffer while you're handling Varsity Choir President duties, then please ‘don't try this at home!’ ;)
  • davidmigldavidmigl Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    I was admitted to A&M engineering with "only" AB and did fine.

    The only thing BC will do is get you out of an extra math course (math 152). You don't need to take BC. Really. Enjoy high school choir while you still can.

    Your application will not be "tremendously affected." Remember that reading CC gives you a highly skewed (in the cut-throat competitive direction) profile of what a typical college applicant is.
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