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Anyone in College Admissions? Question about H.S. class course.

My daughter is a Junior and has taken advanced courses, so now she is in Pre-Calculus and Anatomy as her math and science.

We have heard that it is advantageous to take 4 years of math, but she doesn't want to do AP calculus if she doesn't need it, and isn't planning to do engineering or architecture. She may go toward med school though. She is already planning to take next year as a senior AP English, AP Biology, AP Government, Spanish IV and a couple of electives. So here is what I'm questioning: For college admissions, does it help for her to take Consumer Math and have 4 years of math vs. 3 years? Would she be just as well of skipping a math class all together given the rest of her load? Is it worth it for her to add the stress of AP Calculus if she really won't need it?


Asked by DarlaHood at 3:22 PM on Apr. 17, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 9 (347 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • With all the APs she's planning on, I don't think AP Calculus would be worth the extra effort. I don't know whether you've ever gone through the college admissions process with older children, but senior year is stressful enough. If she plans on keeping up her extra-curriculars in addition to school work, and college applications, and scholarship applications, she's going to be pretty busy. I don't think that an extra AP calculus would offer enough benefit to justify the extra stress. It doesn't sound like she needs that class, but it's only my opinion. I would check with her counselor, if at all possible.

    Answer by lytate95 at 5:55 PM on Apr. 17, 2011

  • I am not in admissions. I only know what my son did when he was a senior. There was a big push by several parents that the kids take AP Calculus because the feeling was that the schools some of seniors were applying to would not accpet them if they didn't have it. He took it and did well, but when he got to college (Cornell) he realized he could have gotten it all right there in some of the introductory courses. And he majored in engineering. If I were you I would use the college websites and even call admissions to learn if it is expected. And look at the courses offered. If there is a calculus class offered for freshmen she can take that. I would go with the Consumer math and not worry about the AP Calculus. JMO

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:43 PM on Apr. 17, 2011

  • I'm not in admissions but I'm in college. And I can tell you right now, that she'll need that Calculus class now, because I didn't make it past Basic Math in Highschool. I'm taking Calculus right now and I'm failing.

    Answer by proudmom2510 at 3:38 PM on Apr. 17, 2011

  • I used to be a high school college counselor, but this is JUST my opinion. My short answer would be that one course isn't going to keep her out of a college. There are too many other factors at play in an admissions decision.

    My long answer includes a couple of other factors. What other math courses has she taken? Did she do well? Is she likely to do well in calculus? If so, I'd encourage her to go for it, if not, I'd say it's so not worth it. Does her school district or high school have different graduation plans? If skipping her fourth year math is going to keep her off whatever the "most prestigious" graduation plan is, she might want to take a 4th math. I'm not really sure what that class would entail, but if it's something she can handle, and not a complete waste of her time, it might be a good idea. If you're really worried about her admissions chances, I'd be curious about what the rest of her "resume" looks like.

    Answer by lytate95 at 3:54 PM on Apr. 17, 2011

  • Silly word count, I’m not finished blabbering. I recall working with a young lady a couple years ago who didn’t take a math course her senior year. She also had very good SAT scores and an impressive resume of extra-curriculars. She had a demanding course load a lot like your daughter’s and she was accepted everywhere she applied (which were all fairly selective private colleges). So...again, calculus won’t keep her out of college. Sorry to be so long winded, but this is a passion of mine. Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.

    Answer by lytate95 at 3:55 PM on Apr. 17, 2011

  • Thanks for the comments! Her resume is good. She goes to a private school, and she has taken for math/science courses in H.S. Alg II, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus. She has mostly A's, and has a B in Pre-Cal right now. She's also taken Biology, Chemistry, and Anatomy. She's taken 3 years of Spanish, and will continue with that. She's on her 3rd year of Honors English, and she has an A in AP Psychology right now as well. In addition to eight classes, which include 6 academic, T.A., and Bible, she also plays sports. This year she has played Soccer and Softball. At her school, sports don't count as a class. They are H.S. sports, but strictly in addition to classes. No grade.
    She would probably do o.k. in AP Calculus, but I just feel bad for her. It's her senior year and she has such a heavy load. She works so hard and I hate to think of how much stress that's going to be! We want to know if it is really a benefit.

    Comment by DarlaHood (original poster) at 5:21 PM on Apr. 17, 2011

  • Thank you! My older daughter started at a J.C. She wasn't as educationally ambitious, even though she's seriously entrepreneurial now. I also completed my degree, but as an adult. So I haven't been in this situation. I she will get accepted into schools, but with the budget, the Cal state schools are pretty competitive right now. I just want her to have as many options as possible. She is considering eventually heading to med school. Still, I was thinking along the lines of both lytate95 and ProudMom. I am not certain there is a real advantage to taking it on top of everything else next year. She puts so much stress on herself, that I try to find ways to help her back off a little. I am proud of her and want her to do well, but I also want her to be a teen and have some fun! Going to a mtg tomorrow night, so I'm going to see what the counselor says about it. I know consumer math would be easy. AP Calculus is work!

    Comment by DarlaHood (original poster) at 7:17 PM on Apr. 17, 2011

  • Maybe I meant JMO. I appreciate all of the feedback though. It really helps to weight it from different perspectives. It can get so crazy the pressure we put on our kids, too. I am so lucky to have such a conscientious, hard-working kid. We've told her that her job is to go to school, and she takes that so seriously. We also want her to have serious (and safe) fun. Those AP classes are so work heavy. The kid has spent her entire weekend this week doing a research project for AP Psych. I can only imagine 4 AP classes at once!

    Comment by DarlaHood (original poster) at 7:22 PM on Apr. 17, 2011

  • Lytate95 - I happened to notice you had a closed question about anemia. My hubby had to go through a medical treatment (life/death situation) where he had to keep his iron up or discontinue the life-saving treatment. His specialist recommended a glass of calcium and Vitamin D supplemented O.J. and a bowl of iron fortified cereal (Total) in the morning and as an evening snack as the best way to put iron in his diet. The O.J. boosts absorption of the iron in the cereal. She didn't recommend iron supplements, but if you do use iron supplements also give her some colace as a stool softener because with supplements, constipation is a bummer of a side effect. You don't get that with the dietary iron.

    Comment by DarlaHood (original poster) at 7:32 PM on Apr. 17, 2011