7 months ago
Admissions Advice

Is 5 APs too many for sophomore year of high school?

Next year, I have to take a minimum of three APs, which are AP Calc BC (because my school makes us take it after AP Calc AB), AP Bio, and APUSH. Because I am taking honors lang this year, shouldn't I take AP Lang next year? My school allows me to take another lang course before AP Lang, but I think I want to take AP Lang next year. Is AP lang hard? Also for electives, I want to take AP Psych. Is it hard? I'm just scared that I will be overwhelmed with 5 APs.

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3 answers

Accepted Answer
7 months ago[edited]

I recommend that you stick to 3 or fewer.

There is no written guideline on the planet that exists that recommends Sophomores to take 3 or more APs. Most successful admits into the best school take 1 or 2 APs during 10th, maybe 3-5 during 11th, and 3-5 during 12th. If you end up with 7-12 APs total over 3 years that more than enough. Furthermore, no admissions officer is going to reward you for loading up on APs if you can't 1.) Gets As in them, 2.) Get 5s on the AP exam as well. Some will argue that it's better to show course rigor and not take the AP Exams or that the exam doesn't matter. They matter if your grades aren't perfect or you are trying to show evidence that you mastered the course material or are trying to place out of a college course or get credit for your hard work. But it depends where you apply. At Williams or Brown, you get ZERO credit for AP courses. ZERO. At Harvard, not all AP courses are considered for credit and you have to get a 5 on the AP test to receive credit.

If you consider that all college admissions processes are not meritocracies but based on a holistic review then you have to strategically use your limited time in HS wisely and make sure you have awesome extracurriculars that differentiate you from the masses of applicants that are going to be your competition. There are many data points that college admissions officers consider and academics alone can't get a person into the best schools. Ideally, you need to have some distinguished talents, notable personal character, amazing "spikes" and the ability to write the very best essays.

Therefore, you don't want to risk "burnout" in 10th grade. I took both AP Lang and AP Lit and AP lang is by far is going to be the most time-consuming class you will take in HS and the hardest one to get an A and a 5 on the AP exam. If you require 5-7 hours a week for an AP class for reading and homework, then I'd triple that for AP lang. I don't know about your school but at mine, we only mustered 11 brave students to continue with the class after 1/2 of them dropped out the first week and then only about 1/2 got As. AP Bio on the other had 2 or 3 classes with about 20 kids each in them.

AP Psych covers a lot of material like AP Bio so I would put them at the same level of difficulty.

If you are already scared of signing for 5, then you are reacting correctly. Focus on other parts of your application requirements that perhaps are not academic in nature.

7 months ago

Hi! Yes, I would say that 5 AP classes will probably be fairly overwhelming. I am going into my junior year and also trying to decide what load of APs to put on myself. One thing I keep telling myself is that colleges will prefer to see you succeed in 4 than be average in 5. Keep in mind though that there are lots of factors that can influence your decision such as extracurriculars and how much free time you would like. And, as a last note, just remember that most colleges will focus in on your junior year, so sophomore year is mostly building up to that. This is a super personal decision, so I am sorry I could not help more but this is just some stuff to keep in mind. Hope this helps!

7 months ago

5 AP’s is little much for sophomore.

Try to keep it 3 and maintain your GPA and spend more time in building your extracurriculars. In junior year you should take more like 4 or 5.


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