|By Purplerain (Purplerain) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 03:06 am: Edit|
I'm a senior interested in knowing what parents have to say about my senior courseload. I'm having extreme difficulties with AP Calculus (covers both AB and BC in one year) and I have a good chance of getting a C by the end of the first semester.
I must admit that I am not a math person. In fact, my intended undergrad major in college is English with a minor in Sociology. However, I may plan to double major in Business Admin. -- but I was told that Calculus for Business and Social Sciences is as high as it gets.
Here is my senior year courseload:
AP U.S. Government/Macroeconomics
AP Human Geography
AP English Literature
AP Competition Civics ("We the People.." competition)
Everything stays the same, however AP Comp Civics becomes AP Microeconomics.
I was thinking of dropping AP Calculus because
1) I really don't want to end up with a C. I am applying to mostly private colleges where midyear reports do matter.
2) Calculus requires a lot of time and studying for me - at least 2 hours a night since we're covering things twice as fast with AB and BC. The tests and quizzes are also very difficult and account for 80% of the class grade.
3) This will free up time for me to work on my college applications and get higher grades in my other AP classes.
4) I think that I am already taking a pretty demanding course load for my senior year, even without Calculus.
5) Finally, I am NOT going to throw math down in the drain altogether.. I will pursue it second semester at a local community college. By the time second semester rolls around, I will actually have time to focus on Calculus. And if I do poorly (like a C), it will not affect me college-wise.
Please help me make this decision. Your input is greatly appreciated.
|By Voronwe (Voronwe) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 07:10 am: Edit|
If it were my child, I'd have him drop AP Psych or AP Human Geography, or both, which adcoms consider "soft" APs. However, they ALWAYS comment on people who drop Calculus - it's hard to tell which is worse: not taking senior year Calc at all (after having had pre-calc as a junior), OR dropping it. For select schools, the notation "MATH" is not even put on the summary card unless calculus is taken.
A C in AP Calc. is not a problem unless you are going to major in engineering, math, or physics! Better a C in AP
Calc. than As in AP Psych, AP Human Geo., AP Env. Science, or any of a dozen other APs. My son got into a top ten school with regular Honors Economics and Honors Gov., while the APs were available.
I think this is one of the HUGE "secrets" of the APs: colleges prefer AP English, Calc., Science,
Language, and US History above all other courses, yet kids keep padding with the "soft" ones. (I do understand if people take the soft ones to get credit for graduating early - you CAN often get credit if you get a 5 on the test - though some schools accept 4s).
I know kids who took 12 APs (mostly soft) and were turned down for their first choice schools, while my kids, with 1 AP and 4 APs respectively, both got into top ten schools.Just as an aside, colleges also look for 5 academic subjects each year - math, science, English, history, language - and not only my kids but EVERY Ivy acceptance at our school took a maximum of SIX courses a year (and one was usually music).....so I wonder about the many kids on this board who take 8 courses. Are they killing themselves with schoolwork when they could be doing good volunteer work, other ECS, or just hanging with their families?
I think a course at a CC that is NOT equivalent is not the same. The drive for CC college courses is SOMETIMES looked at askance as well (flamers: I said SOMETIMES) because those courses can actually be EASIER than high school courses (there isn't a course at my local 4-year university - where average SATs are very low - that isn't easier than an honors or AP high school course at our HS! The local CC is even worse).
My two cents, based on many, many, MANY years of experience. Others will disagree.
|By Bluejay (Bluejay) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 07:31 am: Edit|
I wonder, too, how those kids even fit those classes into their schedules. I realize some are 1/2 year courses but what about the extra lab period, maybe eating lunch? At our school physical education is mandatory for all four years, both semesters.
I'm also a little confused about the description of the course being dropped. Isn't Calc AB the 1st semester of BC but stretched out over a year? And Calc BC is essentially 2 semesters of Calc? When the OP says it covers both AB and BC seems to me that the course really is BC? Why not drop to AB?
|By Pamvanw (Pamvanw) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 07:50 am: Edit|
Can you drop from AP Calc to an honors Calc track? or a CP track? That would be my suggestion. Business requires math, not beyond calc like engineering, but stats & financial analysis & things like that. So, it's not going to look great if you have no math. Also, if your transcript will show that you tried AP Calc & gave up it's going to look terrible. Have you gone to the teacher for help? Suppose you have a C+/almost B- in the class. Most teachers will give you the benefit of the doubt (the B-) if they know you're trying really hard & seeking their help.
|By Cangel (Cangel) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 08:43 am: Edit|
Bluejay, that extra lab period is not common - in fact unheard of down here. Many public schools are on block schedules and have extra long class periods. My daughter's private school has no half year academic classes - I say that, she's taking AP Gov/Econ, I don't know which AP tests she will take, but she will be one semster away from the subject when she takes one of them. Schools on block are always one semester away from the test for any fall APs - that's one reason they do badly on the the test.
|By Snapple05 (Snapple05) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 09:46 am: Edit|
At our school we have nine periods every day, and it's fully possible to take classes all nine periods, every day. Most of my friends do not have a lunch period, nor have we since freshman or sophomore year. AP science labs are double period, and occurr after school.
That said, I am taking six APs in my senior year (English, BC Calc, Latin: Vergil, both Economics, Statistics, and Biology) in addition to band, honors French, creative writing, health/gym, and will graduate come June having taken ten AP courses. This isn't unheard of in our school, but it's definitely only found among a small cohort of us.
As for the OP, I'd suggest transferring into an AB class if your school offers that. Then you'll be getting the calculus, but since it's only about half of the material, the strain wouldn't be so much. Also, check with your teacher as to if he/she will curve quarter grades. I know for AP courses many teachers often curve tests to an 80 or 82, or wait until the end of the marking period and then curve everyones' averages. So, while your grades on tests and quizzes might be less than stellar, it's completely possible that your actual average could be much better than you expected.
Also, as a fellow BCer, make sure you use the book and classmates as resources, in addition to the teacher. Often we only use the book for homework problems, but I've found that the explanations in it are very well done, and batting questions around with friends has helped us all get a better handle on the material.
|By Bluejay (Bluejay) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 09:58 am: Edit|
I'm all for challenging yourself and taking advantage of what your school has to offer BUT to not schedule a lunch period for most of your entire high school career I think is a bit unhealthy not to mention a little skewed as far as your social interactions are concerned. And then if you are taking all of those science courses and the labs are after school how do you participate in sports and clubs? Anyone else have thoughts on this? Or am I the only one?
|By Snapple05 (Snapple05) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 10:10 am: Edit|
Most sports practices at our school start around 3:30 or 3:45, which is just about when the double labs from AP sciences let out. The coaches and teachers are very accomodating, and if there's an away game that is quite a distance away which requires us to leave early, the AP teacher will usually allow us to switch into a different day for lab. As for club participation, there are still four other days a week during which one can attend meetings, and many groups have meetings before school or on weekends, so it is not necessarily imperative that afternoons be free.
Not having a lunch has never really been an issue for any of us, except for when it comes to buying class shirts or things like that which are normally only done during the lunch periods. We all eat lunch in other classes, and the teachers do not find it unusual at all. Since so many of my classes are with friends and many of us participate in the same sorts of activities, I don't think it's really had an impact on us.
It seems difficult to explain all of this, so I'm not really sure how it's worked out, but I'll just be thankful that our school is accomodating.
|By Bluejay (Bluejay) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 10:23 am: Edit|
Thanks for explaining. Obviously, it can be done as you are and your friends are examples. Our school does what it can to support schedules such as this but as a parent I would be hard pressed to encourage a schedule that does not allow for at least 30 minutes during the day to regroup and socialize.
Thanks too for your logical and polite response. As I reread my post it seemed a bit judgemental.
|By Cangel (Cangel) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 10:25 am: Edit|
Are you a public school? What does the teacher's union think of this? Got to be private - labs after school!
|By Snapple05 (Snapple05) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 10:31 am: Edit|
I know that there are definitely points when my parents would wonder how they could encourage such a schedule too; there are times when I wonder about that as well. I think the largest distinction has to be made as to if the courses/activities/whatever are being done to "look good for college" or for the pure enjoyment of them.
People look at the fact that I will graduate with eight years of language (four each of French and Latin) and wonder why my parents forced me to suffer through it. The answer? They were actually opposed to me starting a second language as a freshman, but once they saw I could handle it, they made every effort to support it.
I can understand how it must be rough for them to see me struggle at points, but again, I'm just so thankful for all the opportunities that I've had to pursue what I enjoy.
(EDIT: Cangel, definitely public. And after school labs are the norm for all science classes, including Regents level, from freshman year on up. There are a few which meet during the day [often opposite a gym class or lunch], but the vast majority are after school. AP labs are the only ones which are double period, though. We also have some AP history seminars after school... so I guess the teacher's union acquiesced on this one?)
Eeek, sorry to the OP for hijacking the thread. I was actually just thinking about calc (we have a test tomorrow after a long weekend), and I called one of my friends who's now in college to ask for help on a question. If you have any friends who have taken calc recently, ask them if they'd be comfortable helping you out if you have trouble with the concepts. Parents can also be a big hand; my dad went to engineering school and I can't adequately describe how thrilled he was when I asked him for help with a calc problem recently.
I guess the biggest part is just to keep going with it, but don't go at it all alone. It can be difficult to ask for help, but after that initial worry of inadequacy, it really can make a huge difference in your understanding of the subject.
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 01:30 pm: Edit|
To the original poster: What level of colleges are you aiming at?
If you're not aiming at the most selective schools in the country, I'd vote for dropping the calculus class if it's really bogging you down as long as it won't show up as a "drop" on your mid year transcript. (Be sure to ask about this!) While it may limit your college options a bit, it will NOT mean you won't get into a very good college.
On the other hand, if you have your heart set on a top ten school in terms of selectivity, I might be more inclined not to drop it, even if I was going to get a C. The top schools really do want to see kids who aren't afraid of challenge.
But that's my opinion. Do what feels best for you. Don't worry too much about your decision - five years from now, this will not matter very much.
|By Mjcps (Mjcps) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 05:49 pm: Edit|
This thread is fairly well related to what happened to my D. Unfortunately, She got way too ahead in math for her own good too early in her high school journey. Her school started her in Algebra I in the sixth grade due to high standardized test scores and high math grades. She progressed through the regular math classes until....
Took AP calculusAB in her sophomore year, made a high B, passed the exam with a 3. Then in her senior year she took AP calculusBC. But it wasn't really a class, it was 5 peaople given the book and told to sit in the back of a large Calculus AB class and study on their own and do assignments. Well she taught herself as much as she could, tried to get help, did all her assignments and every bit of extra credit she could get her hands on, and then she prayed for huge amounts of "omits" during tests. She ended up with a 87 yearly average and flunked the AP exam (with a score of 1). This brought her two year average (combined AB/BC) to a 2. This is so messed up. And now she has no math class to take in her senior year and wouldn't want one even if there was one.
I wish we could go back and start over so she could just be hitting Calculus AB in her senior year. Then everything would look great on her transcript. Now she's just screwed. (can I say that?) And I wish I had been smart enough to see it coming.
So, as pertains to your dilemma. Take the class, pass with a C and then will you be able to pass the exam? And if you don't, how does that look? I guess we'll find out around April. ARGH.
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