a month ago
Admissions Advice

Do colleges look at how many AP's you take or how tough your high school was?

I have a pretty low GPA(2.95) but I took 10 AP's and I was in a school that was really competitive. Most people knew how tough my high school was, we are one of the top public high schools in Texas.

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Accepted Answer
a month ago[edited]

Thanks for answering all my questions.

I give you props and credit for trying to challenge yourself with the most APs possible. I think that strategy may prove to have mixed results. On the positive side, all colleges will give your credit for attempting difficult course rigor and if they are comparing you to someone who has the same GPA, they will feel you are slightly better prepared for college than your competition. On the critical side, they may think as I would why you didn't take a more balanced approach in your HS curriculum to get into the 1st or 2nd quartile with a higher GPA by taking mostly regular classes like your cohorts. Did you feel undue pressure from your parents/relatives or other peers who are also Indian to take difficult courses or was this completely your own decision? I'm just curious because being part Asian myself, I think there is always some underlying pressure to keep up or do better.

If you had some 5s on your AP exams, then you'd get a boost for showing that you mastered the material. While 1 (3) and 2(4) out of 10 APs is perfectly a fine outcome, it doesn't show you are any more prepared to get top grades in college than say someone who took a regular level curriculum and received As in them.

Don't get me wrong, I think you have grit for staying in the AP Ring for 10 rounds because most average students will not go through those difficult bouts of academic rigor. But at the same time, your GPA got pounded, right?

When you apply to college, I think it's very important that you use the additional information section of the common app to explain why you took so many APs and what you learned from this experience. I think that will give AOs a chance to better understand you as a future college student. You have to come up with a compelling explanation that piques their interest. I think that would help you.

In general, if you apply to Texas schools, you will not be given that much of a chance to get into say UT Austin because of its 6% rank cutoff limit and that most state schools just don't have the resources to spend that much time on each application giving it a full holistic review. Rather, they will be comparing you to all the other students at your large high school as a first step, then maybe your school district (zip code). If you have good ECs, writing ability, and good recommendations, I would say you might have a better chance at applying to some private liberal arts colleges instead.

Good luck, and I hope you found my answer useful.

I have a few questions for you?

1. Is your 2.95 an unweighted GPA? So what is your weighted GPA then?

2. If you took 10 APs, how many AP tests did you take and what did you score on those?

3. What's your class rank in this top public HS in Texas?

4. Are you Black, LatinA, Indigenous or bi-racial?

Thanks, that will answer your question with some context.

a month ago

Yes, colleges do look at how difficult your courses are. They will prefer student with a lot of AP classes from a competitive school.

However, you still need to know that colleges also look at your GPA. Even if you have the most difficult coursework in Texas if the result (GPA) is not maximum, it's hard to be competitive in a competitive college, because it shows your competency. They would rather consider a student with less AP class but a better score because it shows that the student can maximize themselves.

To prevent this, you can try to maximize your standardized test. Have a nice standardized test score will surely help. You can also write some notes in your application about your GPA, is it only you or many people in your school also struggle with it.

Oh, anyway even if you don't really confident to apply to some school, you should still try it! You can try to apply to 3-4 reach schools, 3-4 target schools, and 3-4 safety schools. Just try it!

I hope it helps!


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