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07/26/2020 at 01:13AM

How much do my senior year grades of the 2nd semester matter in comparrison to the work load colleges see when i apply?

I am considering taking 4 AP classes this fall to catch up to the average 6-7 my class usually takes. I am a bit concerned becasue I've only taken 1 before, and it is senior year so it will be a bit stressful on it's own with applying and etc. However, I still feel like it might be worth it because this is my last chance for colleges to see the rigor of classes I took in comparison to the rest of my class. How would I go about sending my transcript with my senior year schedule in order for them to know I am taking 4 APs? And if for instance, if i was accepted in a school, would the second semester grades change their acceptance or interfere with any financial aid? I am concerned that the work load will be much to keep a strong GPA, but I am hoping that at that point it won't really matter because I will already be accepted and hopefully have all the financial aid stuff settled. I am not sure if that is how it works, but any clarification would help so much.

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4 answers

07/27/2020 at 09:16PM

Hi there! It's great that you're thinking about things like course balance ahead of time. It is a very valid concern that senior year might be stressful with more APs and college applications.

To answer your questions:

- You will report your senior year classes in the Current or Most Recent Year Courses tab in the Education section. Colleges will see your senior year course load that way, and will also be sent a mid-year report and final transcript from your counselor. Your fall transcript will also likely list in-progress courses. Basically, don't worry - colleges will know what courses you're taking senior year!

- If you're accepted and your grades drop drastically, you could get your acceptance rescinded, or merit aid taken away. If you have a slight drop in grades, nothing will likely happen, but if you go from an A average to a C average or worse, that's cause for concern.

If you don't think you can get a B or higher in your AP classes while submitting quality college apps, then you may want to take 1-2 less rigorous courses. Taking AP classes but performing poorly (or having to submit rushed applications) won't reflect well on your candidacy. That said, it is possible that taking 4 APs will be more manageable than you expect, especially if the courses are in subjects you enjoy and tend to do well in (and if you've already taken lots of honors courses). By virtue of the different prerequisites for AP classes at some schools, some students do have a drastic increase in AP courses (like 1-2/year to 4+ senior year), and they do just fine. Maybe ask students at your school who have taken the classes to get a general feel for course difficulty. Just remember that everyone's experience is different, and consider the different opinions carefully.

Hope this helps, and let me know if you have more questions!

Accepted Answer
[🎤 AUTHOR]@madykham07/28/2020 at 12:08AM

Thank you for the clarification about senior schedules!

My schedule would for sure have Nursing (Hnrs) and AP Psych. I am re considering my math, english, and science classes:

- Standard Stat or AP Stat

- Dual Enrollment or AP Lit

- AP Bio or AP Environmental Science

-For math, my teacher said that the difference between the two is that AP is way more time demanding than Standard and requires reading and writing. I struggled a bit in Algebra II but managed to pull a low A, (1/4)

[🎤 AUTHOR]@madykham07/28/2020 at 12:08AM

I don’t know if that gives you a sense of my potential in AP. Also, we never really got to cover much stats because of corona so I don’t have much experience with it.

-For AP Lit, I honestly thought I wasn’t the best at writing or deep analyzing. Got an A in AP Lang and got a 5 on the AP exam. It’s one of those subjects where I don’t like it necessarily, but I’m not bad at it. Would dual not be as impressive as an AP credit? (2/3)

[🎤 AUTHOR]@madykham07/28/2020 at 12:09AM

-For APES or AP Bio i’m torn between the two because I’ve heard at my school that APES is super chill and the teacher makes it easy to understand. But I find more interest in AP Bio and the teacher is super intentional in her teachings. I am interested in something to do with the medical field, leaning more towards psych, so I don’t if the class I choose would look better to colleges? (3/4)

[🎤 AUTHOR]@madykham07/28/2020 at 12:09AM

So with all this info, along with the consideration of the college application process, does it seem too extreme for my level as a student? (4/4)

07/28/2020 at 01:38PM

AP Stats has a 60% AP exam pass rate (3 or higher), which is considered relatively high. While that doesn't necessarily translate to course difficulty, it's something to keep in mind. You don't need to know any stats before going into the class - it's recommended to take at least Algebra II though, which you did. Stats is very different from other types of math and feels more applicable. If you want to do Psych, Stats will be very important in research-related contexts.

07/28/2020 at 01:40PM

Dual enrollment is just as impressive as AP, as it's also meant to prepare you for the rigors of a college course! It's just sometimes harder to get credit for DE if you go out of state. Schools tend to recognize AP exams more universally. Though if you already have a 5 on AP Lang, that might be enough to get you credit for most intro English courses. Congrats on that, btw!

07/28/2020 at 01:41PM

AP Bio is probably more closely related to Psych, and if you like it better, then maybe it will be the better option for you. I don't think either really looks that much better than the other, though.

07/28/2020 at 01:46PM

I unfortunately can't really comment on whether or not this course load is too extreme, as I don't really know you as a student! But ask yourself whether you felt stressed in past years. Did you feel that you could handle some harder courses? Have you taken mostly honors courses until this point? If you answered "yes" to both, then this course load is more likely to be manageable.

07/28/2020 at 01:47PM [edited]

As for balancing with college apps - Do you like writing creative essays? Does writing come pretty easily to you? Are you applying to a manageable number of schools (8-10)? Do they have a reasonable number of supplemental essays (1-3 each)?If yes, then this will be easier to balance.

[🎤 AUTHOR]@madykham07/28/2020 at 04:21PM

Thank you so much!!! You cleared up a lot of points! I appreciate all the help and pointers!

07/28/2020 at 06:53PM

Anytime! Best of luck :)

07/26/2020 at 04:42AM

You have a difficult decision to make because if you only took 1 AP junior year, taking 4 will be challenging. Plus there is an expectation that you will sit for the exams in May 2021 as well and pass them with a 3 or higher. When you fill out the common or coalition app, you have to upload your 12th-grade schedule into the application so you don't have to worry about getting the 12th-grade classes to the colleges that use those applications. Each college will have its own deadline for when they need to mid-year grades so you will be notified as well. If your school adopts a pass/fail or pass/incomplete grading system then you just have to make sure you pass all your classes. If you will be receiving grades then you do have to perform well in your classes because they will look at the grades. The more elite the college is the more scrutiny they will place on your midyear and final grades. I know of a student who was accepted into UCLA regular decision but had serious senioritis and got low marks in her final semester. Her application was rescinded and no money in the world could fix her mistake to blow off the last semester of HS.

@DebaterMAX07/26/2020 at 04:44AM [edited]

I disagree with the part of it being more challenging (by itself) merely a different systemdifferent sure but not exectly harder as APs are more note based than lecture based as is typical of classes. So it will likely be an adjustment but it also depends on the classes you are taking.


@CameronBameron07/26/2020 at 04:46AM

Then you are the only person on CollegeVine who thinks that taking 4 times as many APs classes is not more challenging. You must be a genius then.

@DebaterMAX07/26/2020 at 04:49AM

No need to be sarcastic what I meant is the style is different and is likely harder but the content itself isn’t harder at least in the 3 history classes I’ve taken. the only difficult thing is the fast pace.

@DebaterMAX07/26/2020 at 04:51AM

Cameron can you tell me why you downvoted my answer as I don’t think the answer was wrong.

@CameronBameron07/26/2020 at 04:53AM

"I am a bit concerned becasue I've only taken 1 before, and it is senior year so it will be a bit stressful on it's own with applying and etc." Perhaps I read this sentence incorrectly. Perhaps the poster is not concerned. Perhaps the poster will not be stressed. Perhaps connecting the dots that exponentially raising the rigor bar is just a matter of adopting a more efficient learning plan.

@DebaterMAX07/26/2020 at 04:55AM

Can’t tell if this is sarcastic or not but that read to me like they were nervous and not sure if she can handle it as it is an adjustment.

07/27/2020 at 09:17PM

I wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone to be kind in this forum. We're all here to support each other through a complicated process, and we all have different experiences. Let's be respectful of our different opinions, and voice any disagreements politely. Tone is really important in an online, written forum.

07/27/2020 at 06:46AM

I think 4 AP classes are a good number to take, but overall it is about you. If you feel too nervous about taking AP, phasing down to Honors is a good choice. It still challenges you with a bit less stressing over a lot of work. I would also suggest only phasing down in 2 AP classes that you feel you would have a harder time with maintaining a good grade in. Honors/AP/IB classes all help your GPA because it is a higher level class.

07/26/2020 at 04:42AM[edited]

So from what I know they only ask to see the schedule when you send in the official transcript. If you apply after 1st semester ends they will likely ask for 1st semester grades. So you will send your 9-11 transcript and then say what classes you are enrolled in. I may be taking AP stats so I’d report a course by saying AP class title statistics class name

Hope this helps and please comment if something is unclear. I’d be happy to help.

Edit: spelling

@CameronBameron07/26/2020 at 04:56AM

This is not correct on two fronts. You upload your 12th grade classes directly into the common app or coalition app. You do not send them in with your transcript. Your school counselor is responsible for sending in the official transcript. As an applicant none of the colleges want you to access the official transcript nor own any part of the process in submitting it.

@DebaterMAX07/26/2020 at 04:57AM

You say the classes on the application not the transcript though mine has classes in progress on them so it may be different but I don’t mean it will be on transcript.

@CameronBameron07/26/2020 at 05:03AM

They asked how will the colleges know that they are taking 4 AP classes. They asked that because they are concerned that the colleges they are applying to may not know what their senior schedule contains 4 APs. If you are using the common application or coalition application or questbridge application, you always upload your 12 grade schedule into the coursework section, followed up by the HS counsellor verifying this with the official transcript. SCREA, REA, EA, ED, RD apps follow same rules.

@CameronBameron07/26/2020 at 05:06AM [edited]

You have 12th grade classes on your transcript right now? That is highly unusual since no one in the US has registered for 12th grade yet. I've never heard of this.

@DebaterMAX07/26/2020 at 05:09AM

Ah sorry so during 2nd semester this year I had 2nd semester class on my transcript under Grade 10 Semaeter 2 but didn’t have a gpa or score on it. The classes was I’m pretty sure this will be the same for senior year. To forestall a question I’m 98% certain it has the whole year classes applied but as I checked the transcript before winter break I can’t remember but I’m pretty sure both semesters were on it.