3 years ago
Admissions Advice

How to Improve Course Rigor from Strong to Excellent

Hi everyone!

I am currently a sophomore at a vocational school for Sustainability. Part of my course load for this includes AP Environmental Science this year and AP Bio next. I also took AP Psych on my own last year and I am in AP Calc AB this year. Next year I plan to take 3-5 AP courses (Calc BC, Bio, Spanish Lang, Physics, and US History). My entire senior year will be a dual enrollment courses at a local college. I have taken two courses at a community college, as well. The rest of my classes are Honors level, except for gym and health.

I think I am doing alright. However, I want to go to Cornell. When I enter all of this into the chancing simulator, it shows up as strong course rigor. I know that schools as competitive as Cornell have many students with very strong academics, though.

Does anyone know how to improve to excellent, or perhaps has excellent themselves in the course rigor category?

I am really curious and any help will be appreciated.

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
3 years ago

From my experience, it is nearly impossible to obtain an "excellent" rating for course rigor at any of the Ivies. This is because there is a practical upper limit for the amount of courses one person can take in 4 years. Cornell is accepting the best students, and the best students all take lots of APs and community college classes. For me, I only have an "excellent" course rigor (0 APs, 9 Honors, 21 CC classes) rating at my 60%+ chancing simulator schools. I wouldn't worry about trying to overexert yourself by taking a bunch of courses to try and achieve the elusive "excellent" rating. Time and time again high school students have devoted their lives to academics, taken a million advanced classes and gotten a near perfect GPA, only to be rejected from all their schools because they didn't have strong essays or extracurriculars. Academics get you past the cutoff. Essays and extracurriculars, which show what kind of person you are, are the things that AOs really look at.

3 years ago

My course rigor is listed as "strong" and here's what I have (I'm a junior btw):

- APs: 13 (6 projected)

- honors/weighted: 20 (6 projected)

- college courses: 0

My course load is considered "excellent" by nearly all schools except for Ivies and other schools on-par with Ivies, so I'm going to assume that it is really hard (I don't want to say impossible) to get anything above "strong." If that's true, then don't worry. Make sure you take a rigorous course load, but also remember to balance it with your extracurriculars. Good luck! Hope you get in :)

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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