This year, I am currently taking four 4 AP classes, (Lang, Bio, World, Stats) and 2 honors classes (Pre-calc , Physics). The doubling up on science and math is normal at my school. Originally I was going to take CIS (college-level) French 4 instead of physics, but due to several complicated schedule/transport issues taking French during the school day isn't possible. I have the option to take French as an independent study, working with the teacher 1-1 (scary!) after school. With everything going on in my life and all of my extracurriculars I don't think I'll be able to stay sane without dropping something, which will probably end up being my grades if I try to do it all.
I want to go somewhere like Caltech, Princeton, Northwestern etc for a chemical Engineering degree and possibly a minor in French (although that will probably change). My question is this: what will help my admission chances more? A fourth year of French (showing commitment) or yet another good AP score? I would drop AP Lang. Due to the unique nature of my school, this AP is one of the easiest to drop and I would simply do the normal work with everyone else in English 11 and not additional assignments. I would not say that essay writing and analysis is a weak point, I just don't like it.
TL;DR: Should I drop AP Lang or Independent Study French 4?
Usually having four years of a foreign language is better than another AP class if you are already taking a few (which you are). Especially with schools like the ones on your list, colleges want to see four years of a foreign language, because that shows (like you said), commitment and skill in a language. I would say drop the AP class and do French 4 if you want to get into a prestigious university. Good luck, hope this helps!
I would stick to the plan you have. Having AP Eng. Lang and AP Eng. Lit on your transcript and scoring 5s on the AP exams is probably one of the best moves you can make regardless of your intended major. MIT, Princeton (especially since you have to upload an English Paper), and other Elites really expect you to be a great writer if you are to be considered.
Being able to articulate your thoughts, convey your ideas and wordsmith your narrative are invaluable skills when it comes to college admissions. By taking 2 of the hardest APs in English, you will gain better oratory, writing, and reading skills. These will come especially handy when crafting your essays, filling out short essays and answers on the Common App, and if you have attended interviews where you have to speak and share your story and provide a resume of your HS experience. I took 5 years of French through AP French and can't say I gained much of skillset to help me succeed in the admissions process from all that French. It might have looked good but from my lens AP English always "trumps" (for lack of a better term) an AP Language.
There are very few colleges except for Harvard that require 4 years of language so unless Harvard is your top choice, I wouldn't worry about it. On the other hand, almost every Ivy or Top Elite wants to see 4 years of English and the most challenging coursework you can manage.
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