ic S/general/checkmark circled Thanks for subscribing! Be on the lookout for our next newsletter.
ic S/general/checkmark circled Saved to Favorites.
Articles / Applying to College / Is Physics Really Necessary?

Feb. 24, 2015

Is Physics Really Necessary?

Question: Is physics really necessary if my daughter (a high school sophomore)  is better at AP Bio? It’s the only AP she thinks she can do well, and she has no other “rigor”. The counselors say colleges like to see physics but we thought she could take it senior year if really necessary. She is not a STEM.

 Plus, since she is at a well-known college prep school, don’t they realize the entire school has more rigor than other schools? What if she ends up with only one AP class?

Assuming that your daughter’s high school offers multiple AP classes, then having just one AP on her transcript will probably not make her a candidate for the more selective colleges. These institutions are looking for candidates who have challenged themselves academically and whose guidance counselors indicate on their applications that they have taken the “Most Demanding” course load available to them or at least a “Very Demanding” load.


So …  if your daughter is not aiming for those uber-competitive places that turn away far more applicants than they admit, the lack of physics on her transcript shouldn’t hurt her, as long as biology isn’t the onlyscience she has taken. (Most colleges expect to see at least two lab sciences on a transcript and preferably at least one additional science class … lab or otherwise).

Admission officials should be aware of the built-in “rigor” at your daughter’s school, even if her transcript is not rife with AP’s. Yet do note that, regardless of whether or not she takes physics, if many of her classmates are electing multiple AP classes and your daughter isn’t, this will limit her college options to some extent because her counselor will probably call her course load “Demanding” or even “Average” rather than “Most” or “Very” Demanding.  However, if your daughter’s grades are strong and her school is well-regarded, she should still have plenty of great choices.

 

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.

More on Applying to College

Can I Reapply After Early Decision or Early Action Rejection?

Can I Reapply After Early Decision or Early Action Rejection?

Question: If I apply to a college through Early Decision or Early Action, but I am not accepted, can I apply again through Regula…

38547127311_5463cc8dd3_w.jpg

How To Get Into Penn in 2022

There's no doubt that the University of Pennsylvania is extremely difficult to get into. In 2021, the ivy league school in P…

Early Decision or Early Action?

Early Decision or Early Action?

Question: Why should I consider an Early Decision or Early Action college application? What's the difference?

Your level of d…

Can I Apply Early Twice?

Can I Apply Early Twice?

Question: I am planning on applying early decision to my first-choice college. I will be notified of my status by December 31st. …

Advantages of EARLY Early-Decision Application?

Advantages of EARLY Early-Decision Application?

Question: I'm applying Early Decision to an Ivy League school. Is there any advantage for me to send in the application mate…

A-Z College Forums

Browse the College Forums
C1E9D4E7-C4C9-4B28-8946-8F441A6D62B3

Find Your Best Fit

Find your best fit college and track your favorite colleges.