a year ago
Admissions Advice

How much does being in regular math classes hurt my admissions chances?

I started high school in Advanced Algebra 1, but I didn't do all that great so I'm taking regular Geometry my sophomore year. Geometry is going much better than Algebra (my grade is currently a 101 in geo as opposed to my B- average in algebra) but the way my school structures math I would still go to regular Algebra II my junior year and then do Trig and/or Pre-Calc my senior year.

I've been noticing that a lot of accepted applicants into top schools started their freshman year in Algebra II and took Calculus their junior or senior years and am wondering if my math courseload will put me at a serious disadvantage. My grades in other classes are almost all As and I am taking the honors courses whenever I have the opportunity to.

I'm also wondering if there is a way to compensate for the math classes that I took/am taking. Any advice on either topic is much appreciated. Thank you!


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3 answers

a year ago

You are behind in math if you want to apply to Ivys and Elites and Top Liberal Arts colleges. I would say that 95% of admits have finished at least AP Calculus AB and most of them have taken AP Calc B/C. If you are applying as a STEM major, it's very common for these students to have taken Calc III, Real Analysis, Differential Equations, Linear Algebra, or some advanced maths beyond BC. They've also taken advanced Sciences as well like Physics C, or

If you are applying as a non-STEM major to these schools, I would suggest taking math through Calculus at a minimum.

To do that, I would recommend that you use your 2 summers between 10th/11th and 11th/12th to catch up with math. You can take online Algebra II at your community college after 10th grade and take Calculus over the summer between 11th/12th.

You can't compensate for a lack of mathematical rigor. Getting a high SAT or ACT math score is not the same thing. So you just have to treat it as a necessary evil to meet the academic threshold of others who are applying to the same schools.

a year ago

What math classes you take depends largely on your intended major. Unless you're aiming for a STEM major or other math-heavy majors, there's no need to stress about not having taken hard-enough math courses in high school.

11 months ago[edited]

"While taking advanced math courses may improve your chances of being admitted to top schools, it's not the only factor that matters. Your strong performance in geometry and overall academic performance demonstrates that you're a capable student.

For me, a great help was this tool https://plainmath.net/force-motion-and-energy/45772-a-bicycle-with-0-80-m-diameter-tires-is-coasting-on-a-level-road-at-5-6-m-s-a-s which helped me better understand the math problems.

I can personally attest to this. I took regular math courses throughout high school and still got into a top university. Admissions committees also consider extracurricular activities, essays, and other aspects of your application. However, if you're concerned, you can try taking additional math courses outside of school or participating in math competitions to demonstrate your skills. Keep working hard and focus on showcasing your strengths and interests in your application."

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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