2 years ago
Admissions Advice

I'm taking 6 AP classes total. Is that enough to be selected into top, elite colleges, class rigor wise?

I'm a junior and so far, I have taken 1 AP and 11 honors classes with 4.0 uw gpa. I will be taking 5 AP's (4 relating to my major except English) and 1 honors, my senior year. My school offers 16 AP's total with 5 involving art, music, and languages. A problem that I encountered is that I had signed up for 3 AP's this year but two was canceled by the school because one didn't have enough students taking it and, the other had to be in the same block as APUSH which I am taking right now. And I don't know if colleges will know about this. Note:I am transferring to a new school for my senior year.

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4 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago

you should make that clear in the additional information section, make it clear you tried to take the most rigorous courses you could.

2 years ago

If your HS offered 16 APs and you took 1, regardless of the mitigating circumstances of lack of student interest, I think that doesn't bode well. I think it would be best to use the add'l section of the common app to explain that. No colleges will know about the individual setbacks at each HS they are evaluating because that kind of detail is never included in the school profile. The school profile is typically just 1 or 2 pages of stats for your school like how many students, their demographics, graduation rates, 4 year college matriculation stats, Avg SAT, ACT, grading scale, and a paragraph on the course rigor like how many APs or IBs are offered and how they are weighted into your GPA.

If you are signed up for 5 APs that will look like a concerted effort to improve your course rigor but keep in mind that you will have to get As in these classes for them to have maximum impact. The other respondent suggest that self studying for APs or getting high test scores demonstrate your mastery and high achievement but that is not going to help you since APs are given in Mid May, and by the time you self study or take your 5 APs next year, you will have already applied to colleges and learned all of your decisions unless you are waiting for a wait list decision over the summer. In your case, it will be more important to get As in your classes than to worry about AP exams and AP test scores. If you are acing your APs, you can decide later how many you AP tests you want to take. ( I think you'd still have to pre-register for all 5 sometime in October 2022).

You are kind of in a jam right now because there isn't very much runway left to your academic narrative. You will only have 1 semester of grades if you apply RD next Jan but if you apply ED, or EA anywhere, they will be solely based on your 1 AP grades not your future 6 APs. So you have to think carefully about even applying early anywhere.

I would seriously try to take 2 dual enrollment college courses or just 2 college courses over the summer and also grind on either your SAT or ACT prep to get a 99% percentile score.

Good luck.

2 years ago

Applicants at some of the most highly selective colleges generally take around 8-12 AP classes to appear competitive.

Since in your situation you were unable to take more classes due to unavailability in schedule or class size, mentioning it in your essay or somewhere in your application would be a great idea. Since colleges won't know unless you tell them.

But I think your number of honors classes would also appear attractive to colleges as they also show course rigor.

If you're still worried about not being competitive enough, then you can try taking free college courses from sites such as edX or Coursera (they offer certifications too but you need to pay for them) to show course rigor and interest in your major. You can also self-study AP classes outside of school and then try to score a 4 or 5 on the exam. Some commonly self-studied APs include Human Geography, Environmental Science, Psychology, and Microeconomics. Although I have heard some people say self studying wouldn't be the best way to show rigor as colleges are also interested in how you performed in those classes grade-wise, I think scoring a high score on the exam would demonstrate that just fine.

2 years ago[edited]

Hi @leon!

We usually recommend 8–12 AP classes for students applying to the most selective colleges. While 6 would put you a little below the average range, it wouldn't necessarily disqualify you — if your grades and test scores comfortably within range, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

You've taken a large portion of the AP classes offered by your school, even though it sounds like most aren't directly related to your major. You've also demonstrated an upward trajectory by taking more AP classes your senior year instead of taking a lighter courseload.

Therefore, I don't think you need to explain your lack of APs in something like the additional information section (which is usually reserved for more dire circumstances). Instead, you might want to discuss the process of transferring somewhere in your essays. That alone will give admissions officers a greater appreciation for your accomplishments, and you could throw in a mention about not being able to take the courses you'd originally wanted to. Otherwise, I wouldn't stress about it too much.

Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any further questions.

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Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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