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3 months ago
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AP

Only 2 AP Classes offered at my High School

I'm a 4.0 nonweighted ranked #1 of 60 at my high school, which I earned by having a pulse and an ability to operate an academic calendar and a to-do list.

I'm a senior and I took AP Calculus and the only other AP available is Art, which I don't want to take. I also only have 2 years of Spanish because that's all my school offers.

Can I compete against people who get to choose to take as many APs as they want?

The GC and my school's party line, as well as boilerplate text inserted into many college websites, is they look at what choices you make vs. what's available.

I have a hard time believing that.

Note I'm not URM or underpriviledged and have no heartbreak or challenges in my life.

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3 months ago

I really really strongly disagree with @Texas_Student.

AP tests are near useless in admissions. AP tests are just used for credit.

ACT/SAT scores are definite benefits but they are pure benefits and not something you need to do.

As for answering your question:

All colleges evaluate your in context. If you can only take one AP they’d recognize that from the typical packet they send which includes course offering. If you are doing besides art not taking art is a good call.

You have a great GPA and class rank. Spanish may be concerning at top tier ivies but ivies are more or less ivies and you never know what will happen. Additionally if 2 years are offered and you take 2 they know that.

To get back to your competing points at a later time.

Minority is a wierd aspect to consider statistically as you are evaluated against similiar background people. Due to available resources the average ACT among Asians may be a 30 but among Hispanics it’s 26. If you have a 31 you’re average if Asian but great if Hispanic. Your GPA class rank etc is already stellar enough to overcome that at all but the most elite schools.

Now something I issue with is underprivileged heartbreak or challenges are essay topics. This isn’t America’s got talent. You are evaluated on your ECs essays and academics + rec letters. They may make good essay topics great is done perfectly but it’s a topic there are billions of other topics. (Ask if you’d like essay advice)

Now for competing: definitely check out the chancing engine it’s the best anywhere it considers ECs grades available APs demographics etc. However to reinforce my point you are great academically based on what you could do so there’s worries for competing. I believe someone said aid rather have someone who takes 3 APs out of 3 offered than someone who takes 4 APs out of 10 offered. As art isn’t something you’d like to do you have a 100% ap take rate. Most others will not have that if they have 10 offered.

Hope this helps and feel free to comment if you’s like clarification as I’d be more than happy to help!

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🎤3 months ago

Chancing engine, with no test scores entered, said Hampshire College is a safety school for me, ha ha.

It seems semi accurate on a lot of other schools though.

Yeah the party line on APs is it's judged by what's available but I don't believe it. I would like to see an evidenced-based answer. I doubt that anyone's ever studied that but who knows they study everything about admissions.

I have nothing against URMs getting in before me, or people who have overcome real hardships in life either. It's unrealistic to expect I should get every advantage in life. I've already got some.

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3 months ago

While not stats any admissions officers I’ve talked to who I asked about APs have said we’re looking for you to take the most challenging coursework available. That’s 10 AOs from schools like Vanderbilt to Nebraska Lincoln.

Hampshire colleges yeh that seems very off but then again the more common a school is searched for the data points I think it has iirc. So it’s probably more accurate for more well known schools.

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🎤3 months ago

Yup that's the party line. That's what admissions officers have cued up in their brain to say if anyone asks. And of course that's what my school says. They're not going to say "you made a big mistake coming here."

Actually College Vine reached out to me to explain that there was a glitch in Hampshire College's reporting and the internet is wrong about their 2% admissions rate. It's more like 55% or for last year probably 45%.

That makes sense. I can't imagine people clamoring for the unusual challenge of Hampshire.

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3 months ago

I just talked to the AO of a college in an info session and she said that they convert every academic performance into a 4.0 GPA and compare students with it. (Something known as the academic index I guess). She also assured me that they take into account what classes were available in the school. Obviously, if you and another applicant have the exact same impressiveness of stats and all of that, they would choose the one with more AP courses but the chances of that happening is very very slim.

I actually read an article where ex-AOs said that they don't really care about APs as long as you have taken the most rigorous courses available in your school. (I cannot find the link to the website but it literally had 5-6 AOs saying the same thing).

I cannot see why AOs would straight up lie about the admission process as you think they do.

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🎤3 months ago

Generally the incentive is to encourage applications not discourage them. The greater your applicants, the lower your admissions and the more exclusive you appear to be.

Also, to outwardly admit that you favor privileged situations is inimical to the culture.

Of course, college administrations are full of do-gooders who may follow the cultural ideals, but to just believe what people with vested interests say is a little naive on the other hand.

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🎤3 months ago

The hypothetical situation of a parity between other applicants with me in many ways except for AP and honors and FL, which I find certain rather than unlikely, is precisely one of the situations I am concerned about.

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3 months ago

I think you asking the main question is kind of meaningless since you have already made up your mind on what the answer is even after AOs have repeatedly said otherwise. If AOs really wanted to cover up their operations and blatantly lie, why would they continue to do so even after retirement? I'd like to think that ex-AOs would drop the act and guide students rather than mislead them.

If colleges really didn't want to admit that they favour privileged situations, they wouldn't have required SATs (they don't now, but that's just because of COVID). I have been to a lot of info-sessions and except for colleges that were historically test-optional, every college recommended SATs. Why would they lie about APs but not SATs?

Anyways, I don't think this discussion will be fruitful for you. You have said that you are in your senior year now so you don't have the option to self-study of AP exams and give the tests. I'd say focus more on other parts of the application rather than thinking much about it.

Wish you all the best!

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🎤3 months ago[edited]

You are very trusting. I bet you make a good friend!

(btw on college confidential the talk is that it is a problem, as is the two years FL, and even the 3 years math, since I maxed out math in calculus junior year)

Are the info sessions that recommended SATs sessions you had with colleges that have temporarily dropped the requirement due to Covid, or indefinitely dropped it fo a combination of reasons? Are they saying one thing on the website, and another in the info sessions?

Almost everywhere I go to look the school has dropped the requirement for one reason or the other and claim it truly won't effect the decision. At least on the website.

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3 months ago

Stats show having SAT/ACT is beneficial especially at schools that did it due to Covid. However historical schools like UChicago have had little change of % of students admitted with test scores.

AP exams are still useless in admissions. Rigor is as @unior said still based on what you can do.

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3 months ago

Schools that have been test-optional before COVID-19 said in the info session that they give very little importance to SATs. The same schools have clearly written on their website that they evaluate applications within their unique context.

Schools that have NOT been test-optional before covid have written on their website that submitting SAT is encouraged (though not compulsory). The same schools have also clearly written on their website that they evaluate applications within their unique context.

Do you see the point I'm trying to make? EVERY school says that they evaluate academic standing with respect to what is available in school. But schools do have very different standing when it comes to SATs. Why would that be if they don't want to show themselves as favouring the privileged?

The fact that you'd trust some strangers on CC rather than 100s of AOs, dozens of external websites, and almost every college website is interesting.

FYI, one guy from CC told me confidently that I am a very competitive applicant for Amherst (He was a pretty active member too). Guess what? I'm not. I am in the bottom 10% of applicants for Amherst. Plus, I'm an international student. The chances of me getting into Amherst is near zero. I'd think twice before trusting people from CC and Reddit (I've actually written about it in another answer here).

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🎤3 months ago[edited]

So are you saying that the info sessions you speak of were with only colleges that encouraged but not required SATs? I have seen very little of those, if any, although we might be looking at a different subset. Almost every college that I look at, if not all, says something to the effect of test optional and we mean it, regardless of the circumstances of the policy.

So as you can see I am most interested in your comment that could have (before your latest comment) be interpreted to mean colleges are saying one thing on the website and another in the info sessions.

What are the colleges, exactly, that told you in info sessions that you really should submit the scores regardless of the policy?

I have had my troubles over at CC, not going to lie. Some of it misinformation, and some having to do with what I'm sure you've noticed is a reluctance to roll over. They (usually meaning some parent whose gone through the process) really want me to bow at CC.

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🎤3 months ago

yes you are right I've seen those stats

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3 months ago

So are you saying that the info sessions you speak of were with only colleges that encouraged but not required SATs? I have seen very little of those

To respond more or less all schools bar MIT and a few few other ones are tests required. Vanderbilt Rice among many others. I’d estimate for 2022 75% of schools have a test optional route.

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🎤3 months ago

yes all the schools I am looking at are test optional. I have seen no schools that are optional but then say it's recommended to submit them. These are just the schools I'm looking at.

My question that you quoted is taken out of context.

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3 months ago

Ah didn’t know what exactly you were referring to

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3 months ago

I don't know about how much you can compete with students with more opportunities, but here are some suggestions:

Couldn't the lack of opportunities offered by your school be considered a challenge?

You could study for AP tests not offered at your school and take them at a different testing location.

Focus on getting high (or improving your) ACT/SAT scores.

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🎤3 months ago

I think in the few months left before applications go out, I wouldn't be able to self-study and pass any AP exams.

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