back to Admissions Advice
β€’ 02/21/2020 at 02:33AM

What is a typical AP and Honors Course load for students applying to highly competitive schools?

I am wondering what the typical AP and Honors class course load looks like for students applying to say, a top 50 school. I project I'll have completed six AP courses, 1 college level math course (as I'll take the Calculus AP in 11th grade and 2nd year college level math my senior year) and an additional eight honors classes. Among my core classes, only English is not AP/honors. Yet the chancing profile tells me I am consistently in the lowest quartile in terms of difficulty of coursework for all the schools I'm interested in -- and these aren't even the Ivys or Ivy equivalents. Is it true that most students aiming for "very prestigious" or higher schools are taking many more than 6 APs and 8 honors classes? I didn't even think most high schools offered that many.

NewYou earn karma when your answer is accepted or upvoted.

3 answers

β€’ 02/21/2020 at 06:24PM

Colleges care less about the actual number of honors and AP classes you've taken, and more about whether you took the most challenging courseload available to you. If your high school doesn't offer a lot of APs, then colleges won't hold that against you. Many students do take more than 6 APs if they're aiming for prestigious schools, but some will take less simply because they didn't have that many options. Students who want to competitive for top schools, however, should maximize the opportunities they have to take challenging courses (while still achieving strong grades and balancing their extracurriculars and social life).

Here's a CollegeVine article that might be helpful:

@adri02/25/2020 at 03:31AM

In addition, slightly unrelated, but still revelant, is that if you don't have AP Classes, community college classses are an acceptable alternative (but not quite to the level as AP)

β€’ 02/21/2020 at 03:01AM

A lot of students, yes do take, over 6 APs and Honors, but not all. You can get into Ivys or other top schools on other bases but that usually requires high SAT and ACT scores, strong essays, a high GPA, leadership positions and lots of extracurriculars. If you do really well in those categories, then colleges aren't going to turn you down for having only 6 AP and 8 Honors classes. Although it can help to take lots of APs, not everyone who does take lots get in. For me, I will have taken 11 AP and 7 Honors classes by the time I graduate which places me in a higher quartile. However, the main thing to make sure is to do well in those AP classes and not overwork yourself. If, for example, Harvard saw that you took 15 APs but made B's in half of them, they would be less impressed. It's about how well you do as much as how many. Hope this helps!

β€’ 02/21/2020 at 02:56PM

Im planning to apply to UW-Madison and as a top public school you should try for 10+ AP/IB classes throught higschool and thats 3/4 a year and that should bring it with decent ECs and a 3.8+ gpa into a slight reach school