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Articles / Applying to College / What do admission officers think of a year with no science?

What do admission officers think of a year with no science?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | May 28, 2013

Question: Will it be viewed negatively in the admissions process if my child has one year without a science class due to a scheduling conflict? She has already taken biology and chemistry, and plans to take AP bio, AP chem, and AP physics before graduating.

My own son is a high school sophomore right now, and in the junior-year plan we initially mapped out he was going to skip science, too. (He’d already had Honors chem and bio in grade 9. He took AP chem in 10 and will take AP Physics in 12.) I thought it would be fine to have a science-free 11th grade, because a science didn’t fit into his junior schedule. But the guidance counselor was cranky about the omission and put pressure on us to retool the whole course roster in order to add a science. Because I needed the counselor in my corner to back another anomaly (this one has to do with foreign language at a local college), I backed down, and my son signed up for a one-semester physics course. (It’s not his first choice, but the AP Class is two semesters and wouldn’t work so we humored the counselor.)

Bottom line: I personally think that your plan is absolutely fine, and the colleges will, too. If you don’t butt heads with a persnickety school counselor, you can do as I say and not as I did. 😉


Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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