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• 08/21/2020 at 09:30PM[edited]

Do you need honor classes every year to get into a good college?

Hi! I'm going to be a sophomore in high school and I've been pretty upset with my classes. 9th grade I didn't have any honor classes, and 10th grade I only have a couple honor classes which are classes like art honors. I feel like art honors isn't very important and I feel like its not really a honor class at all. I also have geometry honors and Science Research, but that's really it. I feel super upset because I feel like i could have done better freshmen year in order to get more honor classes. I plan on working super hard sophomore year and getting all honor and ap classes for junior and senior year. I'm not sure if that would be enough to get into a competitive good college like john hopkins or ucla. Do you really need all your classes to be honors and AP every year of high school in order to get into a good college? I know classes arent the only thing that are looked at, but they are dang important. Please let me know.

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3 answers

• 08/21/2020 at 10:49PM

So by good college I mean you are talking about selective schools who need to be a competitive applicant for. University of Kansas and University of Kentucky are both very good school and they have >90% admit rate. So selective doesn’t equal good just wanted to make sure you know this.

Also for 9th and 10th grade rigorous classes such as IB AP Honors are are recommended for selective school and the more selective it is the more recommended it is. For your question constant rigorous classes are not needed but a significant portion is.*

Another frequent forum visited @crsgo said 2/3 of all available AP classes should be taken. If you are studying Spanish as a foriegn language no body expect you to take the French AP class for example. And if you are going into STEM AP Art and music are totally unnecessary. Also graduation requirements take priority over rigor and my school requires a gym class but there’s no gym AP class so it’s fine if you sacrifice some APs for graduation requirements you just need to challenge yourself. So as for taking all honors and AP junior and senior year that’s impressive but totally unnecessary I’d recommend upwards of 5 classes be Honors AP or IB using my 7 period schedule. In junior and senior year and try to have 3 Honors AP IB in your first 2 years and you should be in a very good spot rigor wise.

* If your schools offers 7 AP classes and you took 5 you are in good shape but if your schools offers 20+ and you take 5 that makes it very very difficult to get into ultra selective schools like JHU and UCLA.

[🎤 AUTHOR]@em08/21/2020 at 11:01PM

so do you think that if i take 3 honors ap classes in junior and senior year will I be in good shape?

@crsgo042208/21/2020 at 11:04PM [edited]

it depends on how many your school offers. generally for ucla/jhu you want to take 4+ aps both junior and senior year but if your school offers more then that then you should try for 5+… also how many APs do the “smart” or “advanced” students usually take each year? at my high school it’s anywhere from 4 to 6 so that’s the number i’m basing it off of. if your HS doesn’t offer that many or people dont usually take that many then 3 per year (total of 6) is ok. it depends on your specific school

[🎤 AUTHOR]@em08/21/2020 at 11:13PM

im not sure how much the smart kids take but i know some people who make every class an ap if it is available in ap my school offers quite a bit of ap classes so ill try and take 5+ ap classes junior and senior year

@crsgo042208/21/2020 at 11:15PM

if your school has a course catalog (literally google “X school course catalog), look through it and tally/count up the total AP and Honors classes. Then, with your predicted schedules for junior and senior year (if u can write those out) count up how many total AP/H classes you will have taken by the time you graduate. For the AP/H classes, only count ones that you were eligible to take. i.e. if you take French, cross off AP Spanish and AP Italian since you only take one language...

@crsgo042208/21/2020 at 11:17PM

(i mean separate AP and H classes dont count them together)… and also count electives. the classes you were not eligible to take are not used for comparison. once you have the four numbers (your AP, H classes and total AP, H classes) find the ratio

for competitive colleges it should be about 70% or higher. that’s how you know you’re doing a good job with rigor.

[🎤 AUTHOR]@em08/21/2020 at 11:18PM

so you mean 5 ap classes and 5 honors?

@crsgo042208/21/2020 at 11:20PM

sorry, i didn’t clarify. your ratio would be the AP+H classes you took out of total AP and H COMBINED, but you should separate them to see how the mix works. the bulk of your advanced classes should be APs. If you have a lot of H classes that’s not bad, but try to take more APs.

[🎤 AUTHOR]@em08/21/2020 at 11:21PM

also do advanced classes count as honors

@crsgo042208/21/2020 at 11:22PM

usually public school only has R (regents/regular) H (pre-ap or honors) and AP (advanced placement). if you’re taking “advanced” something then it could be either H or AP but you have to check

@DebaterMAX08/21/2020 at 11:24PM

Personally I believe 4 APs are the equivalent of 5 Honors as the AP is standerized so it is easier to evaluate you academics due to its standardization. And collegevine separates AP/IB with Honors so while the conversion may be different 1 honors isn’t 1 AP. Honors is still very good.

@crsgo042208/21/2020 at 11:25PM

yeah agreed - AP and H are different and ideally your junior and senior schedule should be all AP/H with more AP than H

[🎤 AUTHOR]@em08/21/2020 at 11:32PM

im just scared that my junior and senior schedule won't be enough

i just wish i did better my first and second quarter of freshmen year so i could get more honor classes or ap

@crsgo042208/21/2020 at 11:45PM

you can’t change it so stop worrying. all you can do now is so really well sophomore year to offset last year and so you can take more advanced classes next year

@DebaterMAX08/21/2020 at 11:46PM

Personally I think your rigor is decent as in the middle of the mid 50% so while that will not be the shining star of your application it shouldn’t be a black hole. So you’re fine just not great.

[🎤 AUTHOR]@em08/21/2020 at 11:46PM

thank you that makes me feel a little bit better

@crsgo042208/21/2020 at 11:51PM

yeah, good luck! :)

@DebaterMAX08/22/2020 at 12:06AM

Your welcome and as crsgo said best of luck!

• 08/21/2020 at 10:06PM

the way that course rigor works is that the classes you took are evaluated against what you could have taken. if your school doesn’t offer many honors classes for freshman and sophomores then you taking most regular classes is not as bad. that being said, if you could have taken ap/honors courses in your first or second year of hs and didn’t, then it will reflect badly on you. for T20 colleges like JHU and UCLA you need to be top of your game with rigor, which is as many ap and honors classes as possible, however many that is depends on your school’s curriculum. context is very important here. so if science research and art/geometry honors are the only honors classes sophomores could take, the you would be fine, but if there were other classes like english or social studies honors, or music honors, language honors, whatever, that you didn’t take… then you’d be in trouble since your course load rigor would be weak.

[🎤 AUTHOR]@em08/21/2020 at 10:56PM

yes the thing is there were other honor classes available but i could not take them because my first and second quarter grades were not high enough. i also wasn’t able to take 9th grade honor classes because my middle school didn’t have regents which allowed you for honors classes in high school

@DebaterMAX08/21/2020 at 10:57PM

Refer to my answer about specifically the first 1/3rd of the 3rd paragraph and refer to the in context. If you weren’t able to take those classes it will not count against you.

@crsgo042208/21/2020 at 10:59PM [edited]

if youre referring to New York regents i might know you… not to freak you out lol i just recognize scires which is also offered at my high school for sophomores. my school has the same system where you need i think an A- in H/AP and A+ in regents to advance to honors the next year. you can override though with a minimum B+, have you looked into that? since you cant change your past focus on getting excellent grades this year and then using that to advance yourself into mostly APs

@crsgo042208/21/2020 at 11:00PM

@max i believe they’re talking about a NYS policy where your preceding year grades determine what level of acceleration you’re eligible for the next year so technically they were eligible but didn’t meet the grade requirement

@DebaterMAX08/21/2020 at 11:03PM

I meant colleges see you weren’t able to take them due to the NY policy it shouldn’t matter and colleges don’t care about MS. But then again I’m a Midwesterner so I may know absolutely NADA about NY policy.

@crsgo042208/21/2020 at 11:07PM

gotcha, well the grades would also tie into your evaluation. the way it works afaik is AOs when evaluating your rigor see that out of the three levels of AP, H, R, you placed in X level and that determines your “rigor"

@crsgo042208/21/2020 at 11:21PM

@em can you clarify if this is what you’re talking about? the policy ^

• 08/21/2020 at 10:08PM

Well, it depends. So yes it is important to take honors and APs, the more the better. That being said, another factor that’s very important is context. So let’s say you take double the amount of honors anyone else at your school takes. But you still only take a few. This will still look really good because you are challenging yourself more than others at your school.

For instance, at my school almost no one takes any honors or APs. They are open to anyone, but most choose not to. When I graduate I will have taken every honors and AP class at my school. Way more than anyone else. But that’s only about 2/3 of my classes. The rest are not offered in honors.

That brings me to my second point. If your school doesn’t offer many honors, then you won’t be expected to do more than that.

Finally, gpa is also crucial. So if you take only a few honors and APs but get all As, that will still look excellent. So, while the more the better, it won’t kill your chances if you don’t have a ton.

@crsgo042208/21/2020 at 11:11PM

I will disagree on one part - for elite colleges it is preferred that you take more AP and H classes and get worse grades (say A-, B+, A) then all A+ in regular classes. those colleges want to see that you can challenge yourself by taking difficult, college-level curriculum and still be able to handle it. if you take all regular or grade-level classes but get all A+, you will have a super high GPA yes, but the context will show really weak and unimpressive rigor. GPA isn’t everything

@DebaterMAX08/22/2020 at 12:09AM

GPA is more important than rigor. Rigor is very important at top schools but GPA is slightly more important IMO. Rigor is that your challenging yourself and if you have a 60-40 split in favor of normal classes that’s okay as in you will not be autodisqualified it will make it harder certainly but your down not out.

@crsgo042208/22/2020 at 12:10AM

I agree but i think if you had to choose between a 4.0 of regular classes and a 3.8 of all AP and H choose the latter