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Articles / Applying to College / Can My Son Drop AP Class AFTER Receiving College Acceptances?

Can My Son Drop AP Class AFTER Receiving College Acceptances?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | April 23, 2020

Question: Hi, I am mom to a HS senior who has been accepted at several liberal arts colleges (not the most competitive ones but still selective). He would like to drop his A.P. US History course for a lower level course for the final two months of the school year. He has a major conflict with the history teacher and I fear there is nothing we can do to fix it, and he will end up with a really poor grade if we don't allow him to move down a level. Do you recommend that we notify the colleges where he was accepted? Thanks in advance: I really appreciate your availability and the wisdom you have shared with us at CC.

College admission officers can be persnickety when kids drop an AP or honors class to take a less rigorous one. And they will find out when they receive your son's final School Report in June or July. (In fact, any change in schedule post-application should always be shared with colleges.) If your son explains his situation, the college folks may say, "Fine. Go for it!" but "The Dean's" advice would be for him to ask first rather than to bail on the APUSH class and then tell the colleges after the fact.


If your son already knows where he plans to enroll, he can start with that school first. He should send his request in writing via email to his regional rep (the admission staff member who oversees applicants from this high school) but he should also copy the main admission office email address.

If your son feels there is a specific reason for the conflict with the teacher (the teacher is racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-jock, despised his older sister, etc.) then he should explain this in the email. He can also mention that he fears a poor grade if he stays in the class, even if he works hard. But the real emphasis of his note should be that he is miserable and stressed facing this teacher every day and that the class is destroying his interest in history.

Of all the colleges that accepted your son, it's highly unlikely that every single one of them would rescind his acceptance if he were to drop the AP US History class ... and perhaps none of them would. But, even so, if it were my child, I'd make sure he got the verdict in writing before making a move.

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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