2
5 months ago
Admissions Advice

Honors Calculus instead of AP Calculus?
Answered

So I'm currently a junior, and I'm currently taking Honors Calculus + APES, AP World, AP Lang, AP Psych, Law, and Honors French 3. I get that this is not really a rigorous workload, especially for a junior, and I'm aiming for Ivy Leagues, specifically UPenn. I was taking AP Calc AB at the beginning of this year but it just became so, so hard. It did not matter how hard I worked/studied, my teacher was such a harsh grader and it felt like I could never get anything right. I consistently had an E throughout the first quarter, and my teacher, parents, and counselor were urging me to switch into Honors Calc instead, which I was very stubborn about until the last second when it became utterly clear that I would not be able to raise my grade. I ended up getting no grade for the first quarter, and so whatever I get this quarter in Honors Calc will be my semester grade (likely an A). My worry is that it will seem like I did not challenge myself in terms of my math classes, especially because my freshmen and sophomore year, I also took on-level Algebra II and Precalc because of similar reasons. I plan to take AP Calc BC next year, but have I already basically sealed my fate and showed Ivies that I can't challenge myself, specifically in math? I'm going to major in either Political Science or Sociology, so I'm not going into any math-intensive STEM field or anything, but I'm still worried. How will this look to colleges such as Penn?

In addition, I'm trying to decide whether or not to take AP Physics or AP Stats next year. I know Penn looks for 4 years of core classes, and I've already got Honors Bio, Honors Physics (from middle school but still counts as HS credit), Honors Chem, and APES. But at the same time, I'm not sure of my ability to do it because I'm not a STEM person at all and taking both AP Calc BC and AP Physics honestly kind of freaks me out, although AP Physics actually has a reputation for being an easy class to get an A in because of the teacher (who also happens to be a Penn admissions officer). I also plan on taking all APs next year: AP Calc BC, AP Lit, AP Euro, AP Human Geo, AP French, AP African American History, and AP Physics/AP Stats, so I'd have 15 APs under my belt when I graduate (AP Gov 9th grade and APUSH, AP Micro, AP Macro 10th grade). Any advice on this would also be greatly appreciated.

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Accepted Answer
5 months ago

I don't think switching to honors for this one class will make that much of a difference. What I am concerned about is that as much as your classes and grades may look great you haven't mentioned any extracurriculars. Extracurriculars are essential to getting into an Ivy League school. School clubs would be a good place to start. I also would recommend beginning to participate in regular community service (and don't forget to count your hours!) and considering doing ASB.

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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
1.0
4.0
SAT: 720 math
200
800
| 800 verbal
200
800

Extracurriculars

Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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