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Articles / Applying to College / AP French vs. Advanced Art?

Aug. 29, 2016

AP French vs. Advanced Art?

Question: Hi, I'm entering my senior year of high school and up until recently, I had all the courses I intended to take planned and organized. Then I received notice of a scheduling conflict between Multimedia/Graphic Design II and AP French–both of which take place during Period 7.

I have already taken 3 years of French but I understand that many selective colleges consider 4 years of French to be more impressive and indicative of work ethic and consistency. However, taking Multimedia/Graphic Design II would assist me in my artistic pursuits. I have previously taken Graphic Design I in my sophomore year and by taking Multimedia/Graphic Design II, I would improve my skills and solidify my interest in this area.


So, what I'm really asking you is: should I stick with my language track and drop my elective or vice versa? Thanks!

If you were my child and loved art, I'd tell you to pursue your passion. But if you're aiming for the most competitive colleges, the admission folks will probably prefer the AP French. Even so, it's a close call … especially if your intended major (or future plans) fall under the art/design rubric.

So perhaps you can continue with AP French online. Would that work for you? You could use the Additional Information section of your applications to explain why you're taking an online AP class and not a “real" one. College officials should be at least a little bit impressed that you made the effort to stick with French even though you're also continuing with your artistic interests.

“The Dean" longs for a universe where teenagers don't have to decide between the classes that they want to take and those that the more selective colleges seem to expect them to take. But, in our current world, regardless of how often the admission folks may tell you to follow your heart, if you're aiming for the hyper-selective places, your heart better take you on a detour away from electives –even when those electives could provide a valuable foundation for goals down the road.

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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