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Articles / Applying to College / Importance of Calculus for College Admission?

Importance of Calculus for College Admission?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | June 28, 2011

Question: I am going to be a junior in high school next year and I will be taking Algebra 2. At my high school you are not allowed to take any math courses over the summer for credit so I will not be able to advance to calculus during high school. My senior year I plan to take pre calc and AP Stats, but I was wondering how important it is to colleges to have calculus completed? Also I would like to become a doctor so math will be important in my career.

Lots of students enter college without calculus and even go on to medical school. Admittedly, if you are applying to the most hyper-selective institutions, then calculus (especially AP Calc) "looks good" on applications. But it's not a deal-breaker if you haven't had it.

You might also consider taking pre-calculus next summer NOT for credit. Even if your school won't officially include it on your transcript, if you've done well in a course at a local community college (or even online), would they let you continue to calculus as a senior? If not, don't worry. As a pre-med student you can take calculus in college.

(posted 6/28/2011)

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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