4 months ago
Admissions Advice

Definition of “4 years of math” requirement to college admission

This is on freshman application requirements to a number of colleges such as UMD. These colleges require 4 years of math.

My daughter took Algebra I in 7th and Geometry in 8th grade middle school. These won't be in the transcript.

Then took Algebra II in her high school freshman year, AP calculus AB in sophomore year (because her school allowed students who got a 95 or above in Algebra II to skip pre-calculus), and AP Statistics her junior year. She is not planning to take any math course in her senior year. So, in high school, she took only 3 years of math. Will that be a problem in meeting this basic math requirements? We sent emails to some of these colleges but they haven't responded back.

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Accepted Answer
4 months ago

I have had a similar experience when it came to math. I took Geometry and Algebra II at the same time my freshman year, then pre-calculus my sophomore year, and then took Calculus BC instead of Calculus AB my junior year. Personally, I am continuing with the next math courses in the sequence (Calculus 3 and Differential Equations) because I love math, but if your daughter does not want to continue with math that should be perfectly fine.

Colleges and universities are not looking for how many years you took math, but what level you reached. Since most people reach the same level as your daughter in four years, this works for them. However, since your daughter is ahead this time framework doesn't work and colleges understand that. (She may even appear to have gone a little above and beyond by taking AP Stat after AP Calc.)

She could however try to take some courses that integrate math into the curriculum, such as computer science (this also counts as a math course sometimes), physics, and chemistry.

4 months ago

Hi, unless your daughter is applying to MIT or Caltech, I wouldn't worry about the math requirement because completing AP Calc AB is about where most admitted students stop at math, even the Ivy League. Another caveat is if she is a STEM math major, then taking 1 additional math would be useful. If she is a STEM candidate, then taking Physics 1,2, and C (which is Calculus-based) would make more sense than another math class.

Your daughter can use the add'l section of the common app. to indicate that she was 1 year ahead in math in Math and then skipped Pre-Calc and stopped at AP Calc and AP Stats.

She should be good to go.


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