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Calculus AB or BC: Which one do colleges prefer?

Hi everyone! I'm trying to decide between taking Calculus AB or BC in my senior year. Do colleges have a preference between these two courses? Any advice would be appreciated!

6 months ago

Hi there! Both Calculus AB and BC are regarded as advanced math courses that can showcase your aptitude in mathematics, and either will be seen as a strong choice by college admissions teams. That said, Calculus BC has greater depth and breadth of material covered.

Calculus AB is equivalent to a one-semester college calculus course, focusing on differential and integral calculus. Conversely, Calculus BC covers everything in AB and goes further, including more advanced topics such as series and sequences, making it equivalent to a full-year college calculus course. As a result, BC is considered a more rigorous course.

Ultimately, colleges want you to challenge yourself within the context of your abilities and academic goals. If you have a strong math foundation and plan to pursue a college major that requires extensive math coursework (e.g., engineering, computer science, physics), choosing Calculus BC might be a better option. On the other hand, if you're less confident in your math skills, but still want to take a college-level calculus course, opting for Calculus AB may be the better fit.

Alternatively, if you're applying to highly selective colleges, Calculus BC is probably the better choice regardless of your intended majors. These schools are competitive that in order to give yourself the best chances of acceptance possible, you want to prove your academic rigor as much as possible across the board.

Keep in mind that your overall course schedule, such as the balance between advanced and more manageable courses, should also be taken into consideration, as you don't want your GPA to suffer as a result of your choice - that never impressed any colleges. If you're still uncertain, consult your high school counselor or math teacher(s) to help you decide which calculus course is the best fit for you in terms of rigor and maintaining a balanced schedule.

Good luck with your math endeavors!

6 months ago

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