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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
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How beneficial is a precalculus summer course for high school students?

I'm debating whether to take precalculus over the summer. I want to advance in math by doing this, but how do colleges view summer math courses? Are they seen as rigorous as school year ones or just a way to skip ahead? Would love to hear your thoughts, especially if you did this and how it played out for you in admissions.

7 months ago

Taking a precalculus summer course can be a strategic move, especially if it aligns with your academic goals and you're considering a STEM-related field in college. Colleges typically consider the content and level of the courses you take rather than strictly when you take them. A summer precalculus course can indeed show colleges that you're motivated and willing to challenge yourself academically outside of the standard school year.

More importantly, completing precalculus over the summer allows you to advance to higher-level math classes during the regular school year, which can further strengthen your academic transcript. For example, you might be able to take AP Calculus or even college-level math courses before you graduate, showcasing your ability to handle college-preparatory work. However, make sure the summer course is rigorous and from a credible program.

I've seen students who took this path and successfully demonstrated their strong preparation in math to colleges. They didn't just 'skip ahead' but used the opportunity to delve deeper into mathematics and related fields. It's a chance to exhibit your commitment to math, and when it comes to highly selective colleges, that depth of subject mastery can be appealing. Just remember to balance this with other summer activities that show your personal characteristics and passions. Colleges appreciate students who are academically focused, but also well-rounded in their interests and activities.

7 months ago

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