Please Help: I need advice on my senior year schedule.

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Discus: What Are My Chances?: January 2004 Archive: Please Help: I need advice on my senior year schedule.
By Encomium (Encomium) on Friday, January 16, 2004 - 08:40 pm: Edit

Hi, it's time when we're doing course selections in school and I'm kind of worried. Here's the deal: I don't want to take AP classes just for the sake of taking AP classes. However, my (planned) schedule as of now has many. I had a definitive reason for each class, but I'm worried I'm going to be overwhelmed, especially when people ask and they say I'm "going to die."

My schedule
Current Issues (this is a required class. students have to take notes on current events lectures, read U.S. News and World Report, write a term paper (8-10 pages) and do a project. it's not horriffically difficult but it is not a cakewalk, either)
AP Calculus BC (i've always been a straight A math student, captain of the math team, etc. this class is considered "medium" but gets slightly harder through the year)
AP English (I wasn't going to take this, but my wonderful English teacher this year turned me on to English, and I really love it. I was nominated for Gold Key in writing and am going to submit my work and do that, and I'm interested in improving my reading and writing skills. Please note that this is considered the hardest class in the school, with U.S. History and Chemistry next to it)
AP Spanish Language (I'm a good spanish language student, one of the best, and I've had this teacher before for the sophomore year honors class. I'm kind of used to her and I feel pretty obligated to take it)
AP Physics B (I'm in AP chemistry now and people say it's easier--again not a cakewalk but ap chem is far harder and they say this class wouldn't be too bad with Calculus concurrently)
Latin III (I'm in honors Latin II currently and I want to continue and be able to be president of the latin club which I am currently vying for)
Gym Class? I might or might not have to take this.

What do you think? Is that too much? Do you need more information?

By Usna_Reject (Usna_Reject) on Friday, January 16, 2004 - 08:59 pm: Edit

It might backfire. Just do the AP classes that you feel you excel in, maybe just English and Spanish. If you want to, choose between AP Calc and Physics because they are very hard classes, and thinking oh I'll just study harder won't help much. Either you know the material or you don't. Several of the former top ten students got C's and D's in AP Calc. I'm in Honors Physics and it's putting my gpa down. But some still manage to succeed. Be honest with yourself and decide if you really need all those AP classes. If you want a more challenging class you can try to take some at a community college, at least it won't mess with your school grades.

By S17 (S17) on Friday, January 16, 2004 - 09:05 pm: Edit

It all depends on what colleges you are aiming for and your EC's. If you are going for top 25 schools, take all four of the AP's. If not, you can probly manage to drop one that you aren't truly interested in. Colleges love to see a strong senior year schedule. If you have demanding EC's, it could be a taxing year but it's something you'll have to suffer through. This fall I was on varsity football - I didn't get home until 7 every night. Coming home to loads of homework (3 AP's, 1 honors, and one college class) was terrible, but I think the rigor of my courses will help me get into top colleges. Also remember, you can NEVER fully take into the account the amount of work that go with college applications. No matter how well you prioritize, you will have tons of application work and you should take that into account when planning your senior year. Hope this helps.

By Encomium (Encomium) on Friday, January 16, 2004 - 09:14 pm: Edit

Thank you guys.

USNA-I guess it's hard to compare different teachers and classes. In terms of Calculus BC, at our school I know the best math students found it challenging, but at least 5 or 6 got in the A/A- range and none are struggling to the extent that they are getting D's and C's. Maybe if I find I have far too much work next year, it might be a good option to drop down to AP Calculus AB to free up some time.

S17--Thanks. Yes, I am aiming for top schools (Dartmouth is one of my top choices.) My ECs are not as taxing as yours, since I don't play sports. I may have days when i come home later than usual (also my school ends fairly early--at 2PM) but it is not usual for me to come home at 5 or 6. So, I do have more time than people who play ice hockey or are on the swim team.

I've gotten all A's in all of my classes for the past years, so I was thinking that it might be worth it to face a tough schedule before I go to college, and not let college be where I see my first B...but in high school.

Yeah, people were telling me that the biggest worry is 1st semester nextyear, when we have college apps and the CI term paper due.

I do know one girl who is taking all of those APs (but Biology not Physics) she is incredibly stressed out but she has a slighly hairier EC schedule.

By Encomium (Encomium) on Saturday, January 17, 2004 - 11:50 am: Edit


By S17 (S17) on Saturday, January 17, 2004 - 05:38 pm: Edit

Based on what you have told me, I would reiterate my advice to take all the AP's. Yes, it will be grueling, but it's a rite of passage that most of those who are aiming for the top colleges face. Of course I don't go to your school so I don't know how difficult your classes will be in terms of workload, but if you're home before 5 or 6, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Just try to start those applications early. I tried to finish all of the "busy work", like filling in name, address, etc. and then have rough drafts of essays before school started. Of course you have more time in the summer and this is a good thing to do with your August; don't be afraid to start early. I will warn you though, that with a schedule of 4 AP's and a schedule of relatively demanding EC's, no matter what you do it will still be a taxing first semester. Good luck.

By Piyush (Piyush) on Saturday, January 17, 2004 - 11:16 pm: Edit

Here are my stats: (I live in California and i want to apply for UC Berkeley);

GPA: 3.71/uw 4.29/w
Honors: 2
AP's: 1

GPA: 4.0/uw 5.0/w
Honors: 1
AP's: 6

Senior(1st Semester)
GPA: 4.0/uw
AP's: 1

Clubs and EC's: FutureBusinessLeadersofAmerica, CaliforniaScholarshipFoundation, Robotics, Student Site Council, Cupertino Teen Commission.

SAT 1: 1500
SAT 2: 750,750,750,750
AP's: 5,5,5,5,5,5,5

I want to know my chances at the following colleges:

UC Berekeley

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