Will this possibly make me look like a slacker this year?

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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: August 2003 Archive: Will this possibly make me look like a slacker this year?
By Gammon (Gammon) on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 04:30 pm: Edit

I took calc AP last year as a junior, which is the highest math course my school offers. This year I'm taking calc 2 at the local university, but that requires two hours out of my day for one class due to transportation time back to the high school, so I lose an hour in which to take another class. Also last year, I was able to take 8 credits instead of the normal limit of seven because I took a "zero hour" class that starts before normal school hours. But this year, there are no zero hour classes that I haven't yet taken so I only have room for 6 credits down from 8 last year even though my courseload is as heavy as I can get it.

Will this look like I'm slacking off?

Should I indicate the 0 hour situation on my application or something?

I don't think it would look good to just skip math this year (and I wouldn't want to either; I love math) even if it would free up two more hours in my schedule.

By Dance4life (Dance4life) on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 04:47 pm: Edit

as long as your other classes are equally as difficult..like the highest/hardest you can take.

I mean, the fact that you took ap calc as a jr is gonna look good..and the dedication to continue your math studies is also a major plus.

and you can always write an essay or something explaining your dedication to math to take 2 hours out of your day for...

By Massdad (Massdad) on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 04:56 pm: Edit

I would specifically ask your GC to address this issue in their rec. My D. took 6 courses (the max) her soph year, but only 5 her junior because two jr courses were ap sciences whose labs add up to another class. Her advisor will point this out.

This is an example of where advisors are important, and why they may need some advising from you - to help them remember to address anything unusual about your school.

One other thing you could do, and this may pay other dividends, is to contact admissions offices, probably by email, and ask them how to explain this in your application. They may actually tell you how!

By Gammon (Gammon) on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 11:01 pm: Edit

My classes are always the hardest I can get.

After this year, I'll have taken every AP class offered, except for the foreign languages. And all of the highest chemistry and physics. I don't have room for the top bio class. And obviously, I've exceeded my high school's math program. I'm taking AP Spanish, but not french or german.

Though, I found out today that they may have run out of room in the university classes. Regular students get first pick so I might get screwed. Don't know what I'll do then.

By Sac (Sac) on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 11:17 pm: Edit

Gammon, if your local university doesn't have a math class you can get into, you might look into online or distance learning. There was a thread here a while back. Stanford offers classes through their EPYGY program (expensive though) and University of Texas,among other places, also offers linear algebra, multivariable calculus, etc. My son was going to go that route because he couldn't fit the local university class in with his high school schedule, but at the last minute we discovered a community college class offered in the evening. You might check that, too. I think admissions offices are not as concerned about where you take a class as that you have made the effort to keep going and challenged yourself.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 01:04 am: Edit

I agree with what everyone else said here and in fact, I have a rising senior in a similar situation. She too took Calculus as a junior which is the highest our school goes in math. She likes math and excels in that area so has no intention of just having no math this year. While taking a college course like you have arranged is a great idea, it does not work into her schedule. Colleges are an hour away and so that does not work into the school day and she is in EC every afternoon and evening so she cannot fit college in then either. She is going to take Calculus BC through Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. It is done online and at your own pace. She has done many indep. studies before, including in math, at school, so this works for her. This math course will not be on her transcript likely but she will have to include a report from the course, but also make sure she indicates that she took this senior year on her application and/or have her guidance counselor mention it. As others have said, colleges will not frown on this. To the contrary, they will like seeing that you have gone beyond what is required in math and pushed yourself further to learn. Make sure you note somewhere that taking the college course involved a certain number of hours during the school day, etc. Or look into something like the Johns Hopkins course. My daughter will work on that one period each day that she left open for this purpose. She also went as high as our school goes in French last year...French 5. She is doing an independent study with one other student, under the supervision of her French teacher to go on into college level French. This also is in her schedule, but in this case, it actually IS listed on the transcript.

So, yes, do the college level math. And make sure you document it on the application, and/or have a guidance counselor explain any special circumstances.

Coincidentally, I was on the phone with our guidance counselor today about an unrelated schedule matter regarding my other child but started talking college applications. We got into how they let colleges know how challenging of a courseload the student has taken and what that consists of in our particular high school. And he was saying, he would not only be checking off that my daughter took the most demanding schedule possible, but he said, he would be checking that off and writing "plus, plus, plus" cause in his view, she went beyond just taking all the most challenging courses offered. So, there you go...an example of how it will look good that you have challenged yourself to go beyond what your school offers in math. She has done so in a few areas and I guess he was saying it is his job to note that.

Good luck.

By Gammon (Gammon) on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 09:03 pm: Edit

Ok, more bad news. Advanced Chemistry and AP Spanish are both offered in only one slot and both are 7th period. I have to choose between them. Grrr.

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