4 months ago
Admissions Advice

Which AP Courses Should I Take?

I want to take 5 APs in my senior year. I am applying to both U.S. universities and Korean universities, meaning that I can't only focus on extracurricular activities (if you haven't realized this yet, Korean universities are one of the more competitive universities that really think about the academics more than the extracurricular activities).

My main is Korean universities, so I am trying to show that I am academically capable of taking a lot of APs.

Currently I took 7 harder APs in total, starting from 10th grade, with all 5s in everything, except for AP Physics 1 (I got a 4 and I took it in 10th grade).

I'm pretty sure my school won't let me take 5 APs because they are all like, "Our school cares about healthy student life." I totally understand what they are trying to say, it's just that I was a little offended because they think I don't have a life, but while taking 4 APs in my junior year, I had plenty of good friend-time and I don't study a lot compared to what people at my school think (In my junior year, while taking 4 APs, I was sleeping so much, hanging out with my friends so much that my parents were worried I wasn't studying).

Anyway, my point is, I want to take 5 AP exams because my target university is a Korean university. However, I am also applying to U.S. universities, so basically my school counselors believe that I shouldn't take a lot of APs.

I originally had 4 APs in mind but something happened and I was suddenly interested in taking 5 APs. The 4 APs I had in mind were:

AP English Literature & Composition (confirmed to take)

AP Psychology (confirmed to take)

AP Computer Science Principles

AP European History

Since I took 4 hard AP courses in my junior year, I don't want to show the places I am applying to that I am taking less harder courses (obviously AP English Literature & Composition isn't easy at all and I know this) in my senior year.

The thing is, there isn't a lot of students who took like more than 10 APs at our school, so I don't know how hard the AP courses are.

Also, I originally had 4 AP courses in mind, but I got a suggestion from two of my school counselors that I should take AP Chinese because I did Mandarin 4 in 10th grade. Obviously, they didn't know that I was already taking 4 APs, which is why they were suggesting AP Chinese, saying that it will look good in my essay because my concept is "helping" and "listening" (I pioneered a math club) and they want me to take AP Chinese and help the teacher and my classmates. (My school lost like 3 secondary AP teachers, so we have less AP courses now and need help from current students who they think are capable of helping.)

After the suggestion, I really thought of AP Chinese and I kind of want to take it. I have never lived in China before, but I somehow managed to be good (not fluent) in Mandarin and did Mandarin 4 in 10th grade after skipping Mandarin 1 and Mandarin 3 classes by passing placement tests. My mom thinks taking AP Chinese isn't bad since I am worse at listening and speaking than reading and writing, because I've never really talked to a Chinese person before so she thinks it's a good opportunity (not just for going to a good college).

However, I am a STEM student. I took AP Physics 1 (10th grade) and AP Physics 2 (11th grade) and AP Calculus BC (10th grade), so I was also offered to take AP Physics C: Mechanics.

If the school tells me only to do 4 APs (I'm not going to try to convince them because they already think I'm studying too hard) then I kind of want to self-study one AP course. However, I have 6 AP course options, and I don't know which one of these options are easier to self-study and which 4 I should choose to take at school.

Since I already took Mandarin classes, it might easy for me to self-study AP Chinese. However, my AP Chinese teacher really likes me and I might get a really good teacher recommendation from her if I take the course at school.

I heard AP Computer Science Principles isn't that hard to self-study, but I'm not exactly a computer person. The school also already has that class currently so it might seem bad if I self-study a course that is offered at school. However, the AP Computer Science Principles teacher doesn't really think of me as a good student (like he just thinks of me as the typical school nerd).

I'm also undecided between AP Physics C: Mechanics and AP European History. Both are hard courses. I don't want to take both of them. I just don't know which one to take because I am a female STEM student (and universities now are looking for female STEM students), but at the same time I like history and I think it would look more unique if I take a history classes even though I am a STEM student. I already took AP World History, by the way. Also, I have to take an online course for both classes (not self-study, just online course at school) because we don't have teachers.

So, assuming that I don't exactly have a teacher and that they are both online courses, which one would be better for me? AP Physics C: Mechanics or AP European History?

Thanks for helping.


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4 answers

4 months ago[edited]

Even though you're a STEM major, I would suggest you take AP Chinese because a new language certification (and listening/talking comprehension) would be very useful. I know that professionally speaking, companies do prefer bilingual/trilingual people because they are capable of reaching more people. Also, you do get a good letter of recommendation from your teacher.

Between AP Euro and Physics C, I would suggest the latter. I personally find European history to be VERY boring, but AP Physics C will help you since you're a STEM major and if you get a 5 in it, you can show growth: "I did less than optimal in my introductory physics class but improved and got the best possible score in the hardest physics class."

I also suggest that you don't care substantially about what your school is saying about taking too many AP classes - you do you if you think you're capable of handling it.

4 months ago

As a sophomore, I took five AP courses (two were only one semester courses), so I think that as a senior, you definitely would be able to manage five. True, I didn't have much of a social life, but I am also not the best at managing time.

I would suggest looking at how much college credit you could get for each AP test you are wanting to take and compare that with how much you are interested in the class. Then make a decision.

4 months ago

If I were you I would take Physics. You are a STEM student, and your only 4 is in a Physics AP course.. so if you took this one and got a 5, it would show your growth in the subject. But at this point your APs are solid, and if you genuinely feel like you will enjoy European History more, then take it by all means.

4 months ago

I think five is too many, maybe do only 2-3.


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