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5 months ago
Admissions Advice

How many AP classes should I take for the Ivy League/top schools?
Answered

I know this question is asked very often, but I’ve never gotten a good answer and was just curious to hear your thoughts.

sophomore
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5 answers

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Accepted Answer
5 months ago

The answer that I hear the most is the following:

Take as many as you can be based on your high school offerings which shows evidence to the admissions officer that you challenged yourself with the hardest courses available. So if your school only offered 4 APs, take all 4 APs, if they offered 10 APs take up to 10 APs and if they offer all 36 APs, then maybe take 15 total.

But there is a caveat to that in my opinion. Just because your high school offers only 4 APs doesn't give you the excuse not to submit substantial evidence of your intellectual curiosity or vitality outside of the classroom. Schools like Harvard and non-Ivy elites like Stanford have academic criteria on their scorecard called Intellectual Curiosity (Harvard), and Intellectual Vitality (Stanford) which is scored 1 through 5 (or 6) with 1 being the highest. It's virtually impossible to get a 1 since only 1% of admits score a 1 in this category. These students either have published a significant research paper that is well recognized or won the Intel Science award or something similar. Most admits requiring a score of 2, which can be either a 2, 2-, or 2+. If you score a 3 (3, 3-,3+) most likely you will not be admitted but maybe wait-listed at best.

Therefore your school does not offer many APs, and you live either in the US, Canada, or other countries, you should figure out other courses to get your academic rigor up. My suggestions to do this are the following.

1.) Take dual-enrollment courses at your local community college.

2.) Take online college courses

3.) Take a college-level course for credit at a portal like Outlier.org.

4.) Consider enrolling in online IB courses.

5.) Consider enrolling in online AP courses either taught through a.) online high schools, b.) MOOCs like eDx.org, c.) or accredited online programs like the one taught by Johns Hopkins University.

6.) Lastly, if you are a 9th or 10th grader, look into a.) transferring into a local HS that has more AP options or b.) look into spending your last 2 years of HS at a top Boarding school or Day School that offers more rigorous coursework.

I'm not sure I'm a typical Ivy admit or not but I'll share what my course rigor was to get admitted into Columbia U.

1.) I took 9 APs, AP Eng Lang, AP Eng Lit, AP US History, AP Govt, AP Stats, AP French, AP Bio, AP Environ, APHumanGeo. (and my AP test avg. was 4+)

2.) I took 2 college courses (College Calculus, College Psychology) earned 6 credits.

3.) I took 24 college credits of dual enrollment courses.

4.) And 6 honors-level courses.

Keep in mind that when you apply wherever you apply, you are giving the admissions officer a snapshot of what you did in HS for 4 years. It's not necessarily who you will become in the future but rather what you did with your time given your opportunity to attend school in your zip code give your personal circumstances. I grew up mostly with a single dad and I'm an only child. I moved maybe 12-15 times during K-12 so I didn't have a super stable home life with 2 parents. I didn't have tutors or after-school programs like Mathnasium or Kumon and didn't go to college test programs like Kaplan or Princeton Review. Although many wealthy kids at my school at college counselors, my dad was my self-taught college counsleor. I also was not picked to be in the talented and gifted program either. My point of telling you this is even though there are many kids who had a head start over you because they have wealth-based entitlement, if you work hard and have at least 1 parent who will support and encourage you to be your best despite many futile attempts to move forward or gain recognition, you can get to where you deserve to be.

Good luck to all of you.

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5 months ago

It depends on how many your school has and how busy you are. For example if they offer seven you could take five and focus on other things like EC's while the rest of your classes are honors. That would show you can excel in AP level material but made the conscious decision to not take all AP as they are time consuming so you could focus on EC's, another important part they look at. If you already have strong EC's and can manage your time well I would try to take all seven. It really depends, only take as much as you can handle. Taking AP and doing not great nor bad could put you in a difficult position. On one hand it would show you took the challenge but on the other you couldn't 100% succeed in it.

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5 months ago

The simple answer is as many as you can. If your school offers you an option to take all AP classes to take them all. The Ivy leagues don't discriminate if your school doesn't offer you AP classes. However, if your school offers AP classes and you don't take the opportunity to take them all they will notice that and it's not a good thing.

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5 months ago

This really depends on how many your school offers. If your school offers 10, I'd say take around 7-8. If your school offers 25, maybe take 10? In general, I'd say 7-12 AP classes is good.

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5 months ago

as many as you can, 11 is good i’d say (check college vibe statistics so put in a number for ur profile eg 12 aps and see if it says excellent for ur dream school )

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