Question: My son attends a very small high school. He is taking the most rigorus courses available. He has taken some classes at the local community college. There are no AP classes available at his high school. How will colleges compare him to students who are enrolled in AP classes at larger high schools?
Colleges will evaluate your son’s high school performance in light of what the school has to offer him. He should not be penalized just because he can’t take any APs. His willingness to take community college courses will indicate that he has used most of the resources he has at his disposal to enhance his educational profile.
Also, colleges will have the high school’s overall profile on hand and use that as a relative indicator of the type of education it offers students. If your son is aspiring to so-called “elite” colleges (Ivy League and Top-25 schools), then the high school’s track record as a feeder to these colleges will be noted. If not many or no graduates have ever had success being admitted to top colleges, then, if your son is a “player,” he may stand a better chance because colleges look to diversify their student bodies with a wide range of admits. It’s a kind of spreading-of-the-wealth syndrome.
Your son should continue to do his best work, seek alternative sources of academic challenge, and then prepare to undertake a rigorous application process. If his high school counselor is inexperienced in mentoring seniors through the competitive application process, then you may want to seek outside help. This is what College Confidential is designed to do.