I am a sophomore and about to sign up for my junior year classes. Based on my previous years' courses, do you think this is an appropriate jump in difficulty not only to allow me to continue the grades I have now but to also get into an Ivy League-tier college?
I find that I somewhat enjoy coding and math but love physics & astronomy. I can do history, but it is not my favorite.
Sophomore year: so far, I have high A's in all my classes.
- Chemistry honors
- English 10 honors
- AP Computer Science Principles
- AP World History: Modern
- Spanish 3
- Honors physics
- Algebra 2
Planned Junior Year Courses:
- UW Comp (a college-level introductory English course, probably in between an honors and AP in terms of difficulty)
- Math Analysis
- AP Physics 1
- AP Computer Science A
- Spanish 4
- Personal finance (elective)
- Astronomy: Stars (elective)
If you intend to apply to Ivys, Elites and Top Liberal Arts colleges, then all of them will evaluate your course rigor in addition to your UWGPA. If your school offers a bunch of APs, then it is in your best interests not only to take advantage of the APs offered but also to go beyond what coursework your school offers and show evidence of intellectual curiosity or vitality. Often HS students have both a high GPA and course rigor but are missing a key component to their academic narrative which is the IV, or IC piece. These are clearly delineated in both Harvard and Stanford's admissions rubric or score card. And if you don't know what I mean by that look to watch some YouTube videos where admits get to read their application file.
All Ivys expect you to have excellent expository writing ability and your college essays will be very important. In order to meet that threshold of writing well and also getting a high AP test score and either SAT/ACT test score to support that, I highly advise you to take AP English Lang and AP English Lit in sequence both 11th and 12th grade. While these are difficult and time consuming classes, they will serve you well in the college admissions process and once you attend college.
My next piece of advice if you are going to apply for STEM major like astronomy or CS, is to shore up your math narrative. You will look like a better IVY candidate if you have completed Calculus by the time you apply to college. Therefore, I would highly recommend that you take Pre-Calculus in 11th, then AP Calculus A/B in 12th grade. These higher math classes will help you get into a better college and perhaps even help you on your standardized tests, especially if you take the ACT which has Pre-Calculus and stats questions on them.
For 12th grade, I'd recommend you take AP Spanish, AP English Lit, AP Calculus A/B, and AP Physics 2 or C.
For your ECs, some of them should align with your intended major or "spike" activity" so that colleges will see that as an extension of your HS learning you did on your own.
If you have any further questions, let me know.
Your proposed list is the right jump in difficulty you need to be competitive for top-tier schools. You want to aim to take 4-5 AP classes per year during 11th and 12th grade. I would recommend swapping APUSH for AP English Literature or AP English Language - one of these courses would demonstrate your ability to succeed in the humanities while being easier for you than history. It would also prepare you for the research papers you will need to write if you major in physics or astronomy in college. I also think it would be a good idea to swap Math Analysis for AP Statistics or AP Calculus if possible. Hope this helps!
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