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09/03/2020 at 03:55AM

AP question

If a school offers around 30 AP courses, then how many would be good to take for top tier colleges.

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1 answer

09/03/2020 at 05:29AM[edited]

Successful candidates to top tier colleges typically have 7-11 AP courses on their transcript if their school offers say 10 to 20 AP courses. If an H.S. only offers 5 AP courses and you take all 5 of them that show you challenged yourself as much as theoretically possible at that HS. Likewise, if an H.S. had no AP courses but had honors courses or had the possibility of dual enrollment, and the student took honors/DE classes, then that would also satisfy course rigor. Since your school has 30 AP courses, I wouldn't suggest taking 20 or 24 of them because that seems overkill and at some point, there is in fact diminishing returns for taking way too many AP courses unless you are a talented and gifted scholar and can get 20-24 As in APs and they represent no big challenge to you. AP is for some elite colleges are a nuisance because they don't adequately replace the same college course nor the experience of learning. And these colleges like Williams, Brown, MIT, CalTech, you will have to repeat all the STEM courses and in some cases all the AP classes because they are not transferable whatsoever. Elite colleges love to see you challenged yourself, but they are selfish and want you to experience taking Calculus or Physics or Biology at their school under their learning system. So at best, it's a necessary evil like standardized tests but it doesn't necessarily reward you by shedding a year off your 4-year commitment. State schools and say T50-T100 school are more generous and some give you full college credit for getting 3s and 4s.

AP's are only one of many components that are considered in your college application so keep that in mind. It's better to have good stats across the board and have excellent ECs and other examples of intellectual accomplishment versus padding your academic resume with a lot of AP classes.

Other CV posters may disagree and think that taking 20 APs is a great idea if you can handle it. I think there are so many things to do well on during high school that you can't put that much emphasis only on taking AP classes. The more elite the college is, the they want to recruit admits that have the potential to change their communities and the world. They want students who have a strong unwavering character, who are also compassionate kind, and selfless. Non-Sibi.

@crsgo042209/03/2020 at 12:25PM

I’m in a similar situation; my school offers 28 APs and I will have taken 13 by the time I graduate. This is normal for the ivy/T20 applicants coming from my high school. I will suggest that out of the 30 you take 11-12 or more, but like Cameron said at some point it’s just wasteful to take 20 AP courses. I’m also not even sure that that is physically possible. I think the most you could reasonably get away with is like 14-15. Remember some are electives which...

@crsgo042209/03/2020 at 12:26PM

…you might not enjoy (say compsci or art 2-d), and some are required classes. There are also some APs that you might not even be eligible for anyways. So don’t worry if you’re at about 10 or so. I would say if you take less than 10 then you’re in danger but any number in the double digits is a good rigor for Ivys/T20s

[🎤 AUTHOR]@hraj09/03/2020 at 12:57PM

Thank you. I am targeting 14 to 15 AP including senior year. Taking mostly STEM AP’s and literature/ social science as they are required courses so taking the higher level one. Still it comes to 50% only out of what the school offers so was wondering what amount would look good. I also want to take college credits for the basic courses like History, Govt, Calculus, lit/Lang or any science if possible.

[🎤 AUTHOR]@hraj09/03/2020 at 01:06PM

Now I days I see that pretty much everyone is taking AP if available to them in school so seems like that is not a stand out factor anymore. I am looking more for college credit for the 1st year. Also mostly thinking to apply to UC system , and other top tier public colleges not ivys.

@crsgo042209/03/2020 at 01:19PM

14-15 is excellent. Remember that college are not expecting you to take all the APs you are offered once that exceeds 10 or so. 14-15 is more than most high school students can manage and even if you end up dropping a few and go down to 12-13 that is still excellent. What we meant to add was that at some point there is a “good enough” threshold where once you surpass that the # of AP classes you take over the number (let’s say 12) doesn’t boost your profile. You just want to take enough/do well

[🎤 AUTHOR]@hraj09/03/2020 at 01:49PM

Yes, makes sense. Thank you.