6 months ago
Admissions Advice

I have not taken any AP or Honors classes during my high school career, what should I do?

I have maintained good grades my sophomore and junior year, I have completely straight A's this year (Junior year), I will also be graduating early in Jan 2022, I will also be taking dual enrollment courses Senior year as well. My SAT test is June 5th, I will take it again in August. I really want to get into NYU, would it be wiser for me to put off graduating early and take honors and AP classes. Or will graduating early boost my chances?

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Accepted Answer
6 months ago[edited]

Perhaps there was a time when graduating early or skipping a grade made you seem like a certifiable genius and you got a bump in your admissions chances. I think that time is over. Take my advice with a grain of salt because I'm biased based on my own college admissions process and have been keeping super close track of how admissions have changed over the past years.

I feel all Top 25 research universities love the fact that they are receiving record amounts of applications. Why? Because they can then "cherry-pick" their incoming freshman class better than previous seasons. 5 years ago NYU had 50,000 applications and an acceptance rate of 36%, now they are getting over 100,000 applications and can pick from a pool over twice the size. Now the admit rate is 3 times harder or 12.8%

Therefore, they are not giving preferential treatment to anyone graduating early. They are focused on admitting the best possible candidates to improve their rankings, reputation, and competitiveness. IMO, NYU is the East Coast equivalent to USC, another school that gets tons of applications who can be choosy as well.

Given that the average SAT score is now 1540 at NYU it's really hard for anyone to assume it's a target school anymore since you need 99% percentile scores to get in.

I would say this to you and anyone younger, it's a pity that elite colleges refuse to build more dorms and increase their class size. Therefore you are now in the most competitive application pool in history and you need to recognize that none of these schools really need you anymore with the demand so high. Your narrative has to somehow align with how they view their incoming freshman class and what kind of goals they have.

Therefore I would recommend not to graduate early and focus on course rigor. If you graduate in Jan, you can't apply until Nov ED or EA anyway. None of the elites or Ivys have rolling admissions so how will you impress them with the 5 months of time you have on your hands. If you aren't planning on doing something better than improving your course rigor, the rush to get out of HS may not work in your favor.

I sometimes read posts about HS kids in Texas or other Southern states who think that getting an AA degree at the same time they graduate means it will be a walk in the park when they apply to Ivys and Elites because they have 2 years of community college under their belt. I completely disagree. I don't think taking a dual enrollment course at a CC is the same as getting an A in AP Chemistry, AP Lit/Lang, AP Physics, AP Calc B/C, and getting 5s on the exams. It's way more impressive to have the hardest APs under your belt always. And the only exception is if you actually enroll in real hard college courses taught by a Top 40 or Top 50 research university and get As and your college credits.

Again, take my suggestion with a grain of salt since I'm biased about how difficult college admissions have become right now. Best of luck to you!!!!


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