College rejections and waitlists

A senior from Walton High in Marietta sent me an email saying the high-achieving school made it harder for her to get into college.

The girl said guidance counselors pressured her to take 11 AP classes and she earned mainly Bs and Cs. She says she would have earned As in easier classes.

She thought the tougher classes would give her a better shot of getting into college. But she was rejected from Georgia Tech and waitlisted at UGA even though she has a 3.6 GPA and SAT score of 1900.

(The girl wrote that she’s president of one student club, vice president of another and a minority. I take it she thought these things would boost her shot at admission.)

College admission officers have told me they look at coursework and grades when reviewing applications, so it would seem like the guidance counselors gave the girl good advice.

But the recession has led to an increase in applications at state colleges across the nation, making this an especially competitive admissions year.

Was the school right to encourage the girl to take so many AP courses? What advice would you have given?

61 comments Add your comment

jim d

April 1st, 2009
9:02 am

This is a point I’ve argued for years. Fortunately I was able to convince my child not to overload with AP classes although he did take a few. Pulling the grades and particpation in extracurricular activities in leadership roles paid off with his being accepted at his first choice school.

It appears to me that colleges are looking for well rounded students as much if not more than those that just take a hard load in HS. Let’s face it, AP credits detract from the overall profitabillity of our colleges.

HS Teacher, Too

April 1st, 2009
9:12 am

Obviously, I am not a college admissions counselor, so I can’t speak to the intricacies of that process. But as a former high school teacher, I can attest to the fact that we were told time and again by college admissions counselors that they do, in fact, look to the level of difficulty of the courses both available to applicants, and which classes the applicants choose to take. It was always — always! — presented to us that taking an “easy A” was worse than working for a B in a more challenging course. (Of course ideally, one would just get the A in the challenging course, and the issue is moot!) (This has nothing to do with the related topic of selectively choosing easier classes to help with earning the HOPE Scholarship.)

I would say, however, that a student who has taken a few AP Classes and struggled, earning Bs and Cs, received poor advice to continue taking AP classes. It is the Cs in particular that are alarming to me, particularly because the blog post suggests there were at least a few. To me, this suggests that the girl really didn’t belong in AP courses, and because there is no way that she took all 11 courses at the same time, I would tend to agree that her guidance counselors led her down a misleading path.

On the other hand, this is one of the toughest applicant markets in history right now, and that’s not just because of the economy, but because of the dramatic increase in college applicants generally. Coupling those two factors only makes it more challenging to get into schools, both competitive and lesser-so; it may well be that this girl is more a victim of timing than she is of poor advice.

But let’s make one thing very clear: it is ultimately the girl who signed up for the classes. There are plenty of high schoolers in every school in the country who choose to do something contrary to what “guidance” has told them. At some point along the way this girl got more than just poor advice from guidance; she got poor advice from whomever told her to follow guidance’s advice despite her prior AP experience. THAT is the real shame.

In any event, this young lady sounds like a hard worker who wants to do well, and I am confident that with that kind of work ethic, she will be fine wherever she ends up. Best of luck to her!

Reality

April 1st, 2009
9:54 am

Yes, she was given good advice and she did the right thing. If she had taken the “easier” classes and had made As, she likely would not even be on the wait list for UGA.

College admissions really do look at the course work on the transcripts. They also look at high schools with more “academic” reputations – they know all high schools are not equal. This is their job – to evaluate applicants. They do not just ‘run the numbers’ and see who ends up on top.

Lee

April 1st, 2009
10:25 am

A few observations:

A 1900 SAT score, while good, ranks this student at about the 50% quartile for admissions, according to the following website (one of these days, I’ll learn how to post a link in this new format…)

http://collegeapps.about.com/od/collegeprofiles/p/GeorgiaTech_pfl.htm

Also, a lot depends on the degree program the student is trying to get into. For example, a highly competitive program, such as mechanical engineering, only has x number of slots available. As a result, Tech is able to pick and choose. If she applied for a less competitive degree program, she probably would have been accepted.

(Maybe she should change her major to Science Education???)

Pulling C’s in an AP class does raise some questions, as others have mentioned.

Puzzling that Laura doesn’t think being a minority has an effect on admissions. Doesn’t she read her own AJC? Colleges have fought the courts tooth and nail to keep their affirmative action admissions policies.

Lee

April 1st, 2009
10:26 am

Well, well, well, the link worked. Maybe next I’ll figure out how to post a link but display different text…

William Casey

April 1st, 2009
10:55 am

We were late-listed for Tech’s school of architecture in spite of an excellent record at Northview: 92 GPA, 2070 SAT, 12 semesters of AP courses (10 A’s and 2 B’s.) Two years of calculus. Makes one wonder.

Sandy

April 1st, 2009
10:56 am

I agree with the student. My senior with 8 AP classes all As or Bs was also waitlisted. SAT score is Math and Reading was 1300. He was waitlisted while another student in one of his classes with a GPA of 3.9 with only 1 AP and a lower SAT was admitted. And this wasn’t the only situation like this we know about. My senior also has loads of extracurriculars including leadership roles.

The rigor of coursework only helps you if you are positive you will make an A in the class. Otherwise you are better off with regular college courses that earn you an A. As a parent I have heard from the admission officers at our state schools that rigor is critical. Unfortunately, that doesn’t play out when the reality of admissions comes into play.

Ernest

April 1st, 2009
11:13 am

Good job on getting the link in, Lee. Share your secrets… :)

There is something to be said about taking more rigorous courses, regardless of what the classroom grade was. She did get the ‘value’ point which helped her overall GPA. We also don’t know how she did on her AP exams.

I’m more concerned about the C’s and how many she made. A ‘B’ in an AP course equates to an ‘A’ in a regular course so I see that as a wash. If she made the ‘C’s early then showed progress, I would think admission officers would take that into consideration.

Overall, it is good she was at a school that provide those kind of options with AP classes. Unfortunately I’m aware of several schools that have limited offerings.

Reality

April 1st, 2009
11:27 am

Guys…. Directly from admissions officers mouths that work at GA Tech and at Emory University: “It is far better on an applicants high school transcript to have a B in an AP course than an A in a regular, or on-level course.”

Reality

April 1st, 2009
11:30 am

Sandy – I don’t understand your son’s circumstances. Most high schools will allow a slight GPA “boost” in an AP course. For example, if a student makes an A in an AP course, rather than it count as a 4.0 it would count as a 4.7.

If your son’s school does this, and if he really made those grades in his AP classes, then something doesn’t add up.

By the way – colleges that I am aware of (GA Tech and Emory) do recognize this GPA “boost” for AP classes.

Sandy

April 1st, 2009
11:41 am

Reality:
That is what is admission officials say, but it does not play out in the actual process of admissions. Perhaps due to the large number of applicants, the larger schools are forced to rely too much on computer generated data to really be able to take a hard look at GPAs and weigh whether they are earned in an AP class or not. Another point, if you make a B in an AP class you only get a 3.5 credit versus a 4.0 if you earn an A in a regular level class. So for your GPA, that A is more valuable and the reality of admissions supports this despite what admissions officers claim is important.

Reality2

April 1st, 2009
12:12 pm

I don’t know why we can make any argument here without knowing who were admitted – it might simply be that others who have been admitted had better records She may be a good students, but, unfortunately for her, there were a lot more students who were better than she was. She is at least on the waiting list.

jim d

April 1st, 2009
12:16 pm

let’s look at it from the schools financial standpoint.

A) We have a student applicant with a 3.7gpa and a 1900sat who has already earned 18 credits towards graduation.

B) Then we have a student applicant with a 3.5gpa and an 1800sat who has no eaarned credit hours.

Being that education is big business–which would you select knowing that student B would be at your school for at least a semester longer than student A ?

Sandy

April 1st, 2009
12:21 pm

Good point Jim d. It might also explain why colleges within the University System have different acceptances of AP test scores. You would think this would be something that would be standardized, but it is vastly different among the various colleges. It also helps explain the admittance of a student with less rigor. Those students must take all classes.

And Reality, the situation I described was for a B in an AP course versus and A in a general level college course. The B only earns a 3.5 with weight while the general course A receives a 4.0 score. APs are only better if the student is sure of an A.

jim d

April 1st, 2009
1:08 pm

I would think that being accepted into college as an academic sophmore would be harder to do than being accepted as a freshman.

RJ

April 1st, 2009
1:17 pm

Actually Jim I know several people that opted to attend a smaller school for their freshman year, then apply to the university of their choice their sophomore year. It appears to be much easier. At least that’s what I’ve been told. The first two years are a high school repeat anyway. Of course there are exceptions.

IMHO, students should create a top 10 list of schools in which they’d like to attend and narrow that down to at least 5. This student seems to be a hard worker and surely will excel whereever she chooses to go.

jim d

April 1st, 2009
2:03 pm

RJ,

As do I.

Sorry for the confusion but i was referring to high school seniors being admitted as academic sophmores into college due to having earned a pot full of AP credits. I really fail to see any financial incentives for a college to accept these students when they have a wait list of students that will be enrolled for 4 years.

Ernest

April 1st, 2009
2:09 pm

JimD,

Students coming in as academic sophomores ‘could’ be appealing because they could consider earning their Masters within the 4 years. I’m seeing several colleges structure BA/MA programs now because more students are entering college with more credits.

Along the same line, I saw legislation (SB 278) that would potentially ask the state BOE to structure a curriculum that would enable students to graduate in 3 years. That is probably a blog topic by itself.

Reality2

April 1st, 2009
2:12 pm

jim d

Many state schools charge the same amount of tuition for 12-18 credit hours. So, your argument doesn’t really fly. Students typically need 15 hours every semester to graduate on time (assuming they pass all courses). That means every semester, they can be taking an extra class for “free.”

Sandy,

The question you raise gets at a huge issue with the AP class. Some AP classes can cover as much materials as 2 (or maybe even three) different college courses. So, if students get a 5, then there is no question they should get credits for both courses. But, what does a 4 or 3 really mean in that context? Many college math departments prefer students prepared well to take the first calculu class than to have those students come in with an AP test score of 4 and jump into Calc 2.

English teacher

April 1st, 2009
2:33 pm

I have wrestled with this topic for years. And, surprisingly, I have gotten the most vociferous arguments from parents, not students. Students tend to be more willing to risk the challenge of AP classes, knowing that ultimately they will benefit from the program. AP students learn to study, to think critically, and to expect the most from themselves. Of course, some schools do make AP classes almost impossible, but in general, if a student has followed a solid honors curriculum throughout high school, he should be able to earn a B if he works at the level he intends to work when he goes to college. Parents, however, have the mistaken notion that AP is a status symbol, something to brag about on the tennis court. Often they are the ones who would rather have an A in a less-rigorous class to brag about on “their report card” than allow the student to take the most rigorous course offered at the school.

So a student has taken 11 AP courses and did not get into UGA on Round 1? Not unusual if the student has made Bs and Cs in those courses. I would imagine that while the guidance counselors may have advised the student to stick with AP, individual teachers probably advised the student to select honors courses (which are still quite challenging), instead. My advice to the student would be to apply to out of state universities where HOPE has not flooded the market with eligible candidates. Or, apply to regional universities who would welcome a student with 11 AP courses to her name. And, as one blogger mentioned, we don’t know what scores she made on those AP tests. That’s where the rubber meets the road. Very seldom have I had a student earn consistent Bs and Cs in AP classes post the coveted “5″ on the national exam.

DB

April 1st, 2009
3:17 pm

If she was only in a couple of organizations, then let’s look at it logically: She may simply not be terribly well-rounded. No sports? Georgia Honors Program? Little community involvement? If she’s not doing anything outside of school, and she still only has a 3.6 and is getting Cs on AP classes, then maybe UGA or Tech isn’t where she’d succeed. Counseling her to continue taking AP classes when she’s making Cs is kinda stupid, IMHO. Plus, her teacher referrals may have been lukewarm, too. 1900 is an average of less than 650 per test — definitely not Georgia Tech standards, but at least in the outfield for UGa, especially in this economic climate.

I’m a little ambivalent about AP classes. One side of me loves the idea of having college credit on the record when you enter college. My son found a huge discrepancy on the credit he would receive at various schools. He had six AP classes, the max his (private) school would allow at the time, and had all 5s. His credit ranged from 14 hours at Princeton to almost 30 hours at UGA (neither of which he went to). Where he ended up, he was technically a sophomore his second semester, and this past counseling session, the counselor told him that if he took one class in summer school, he could graduate a year early. He elected not to, because he wants to go to law school and wants another year to get his GPA as high as possible (in other words, it never ends . . .!) Plus, he’s having way too much fun :-) So, jim d, in my son’s case, the school is actually encouraging him to finish up early, which goes against your maximum revnue generating theory.

The other side of me deplores the growing emphasis on AP credit because, let’s face it, these are NOT college students. They are high school students. There’s plenty of time for them to take college classes when they go to college! It’s another symptom of our society, that insists on pushing kids beyond their emotional maturity level, and then wonder why they flunk out when they hit college. We confuse intellectual maturity with emotional maturity, and the two have to work hand in hand for a kid to succeed in college.

It’s easy to transfer as a sophomore — the freshmen get weeded out pretty quickly by maturity or by losing their HOPE, and most colleges aren’t going to turn down the chance to put a seat in a chair if it’s going begging.

AlreadySheared

April 1st, 2009
4:05 pm

Re AP & college,

A smart guy I know said that, for Ga Tech, the way to go is take the AP classes in high school, then go ahead and RETAKE the classes as freshman at Tech. Learn how to be a college freshman, firm up the material, and take what is hopefully the easy A to protect that freshman GPA.

I have no experience with H.S. AP calculus, but suspect that first year calculus at Tech is much more demanding than a year of AP high school calculus. One opts out of the first year of calculus to jump right into 2nd year calculus at one’s peril.

catlady

April 1st, 2009
5:51 pm

Jim d, most public college students will take 5-6 years to graduate. See the NCES data. Time to completion is RARELY 4 years in public colleges. The reasons are many, including dropping classes for HOPE eligibility, inability to “get” classes, etc.

My kids graduated in 4 years, but at over $30,000 per year, they danged sure HAD to! No dropping, no taking underloads.

BTW, to show you how much variation there is in availability of AP classes, our local (rural) high school offers only 3. My daughter took only one–made an A and a 4 on the exam-but was admitted early decision into all her choices. (However, this has been 5 years ago, and things may well be more competitive.) Her SAT/ACT was above average, but not especially stellar.

I also think either the student above received poor advice or she chose poorly. If you make a C in an AP course, it does NOT look good. I really think we are missing some information, but she has a right to her privacy. If you are going to take AP, be SURE you are well-prepared in that area; you need to be an outstanding student BEFORE going into AP, IMHO.

One of my daughter’s classmates, a brilliant guy with a 5 AP on Calc took Calc 1 at Tech and made an easy A to “solidify” his GPA. My daughter went into Calc 2 at another school and did not regret it at all, except she ended up with a B+.

There has been some talk of “punishing” students who take “too long” to finish, since they are tying up valuable state resources (remember, tuition/HOPe pays only a small part of the cost of classes, not even considering room and board). This is money the taxpayers are paying while Johnny changes majors AGAIN or Suzie takes the bare minimum number of hours. And we all know there is a maximum number of hours HOPE will pay for now, to discourage the perpetual student routine.

Lee

April 1st, 2009
6:01 pm

Sheared, I was talking to a young friend of the family a few years back who was attending Tech. I asked him what classes he was taking and he included “recalc” in his reply.

Recalc?? What’s that?

Well, when you fail freshman calculus and have to retake it. You know, re-calc.

From what I gathered, calculus is one of those classes Tech uses to weed out the weaklings.

Zoe

April 1st, 2009
8:50 pm

This is the best website I’ve found online to guide your kids on what they need to do to get into the college of their choice. It also has a “what are my chances” discussion board to give kids an idea of whether or not they can get into a school http://www.collegeconfidential.com/

I think AP classes can definitely help. I agree that taking AP in high school and then repeating the classes in college help kids make the transition freshman year. I know at the school I teach at, AP has become a way to separate the wheat from the chaff. The students know the best teachers teach AP and honors and use it as a way to make sure they are getting prepared for college.

AP Teacher

April 2nd, 2009
7:27 am

If this student earned mostly B’s and C’s in AP Courses, that means that she actually got C’s and D’s in the courses, since they add 10 points to your course average. This student may have been a solid college-prep student, and probably shouldn’t have taken so many AP courses.

This year, the students are much brighter, and are involved in more activities than I’ve seen in the recent past few years, and I think that this student just didn’t make the cut. She probably just wasn’t as good as those who got into UGA, and especially Tech.

DB

April 2nd, 2009
7:58 am

I keep re-reading the first line of this blog, and I every time I read it, I get more annoyed:

“sent me an email saying the high-achieving school made it harder for her to get into college.

It’s the school’s fault she made B’s and C’s? How about some personal responsbility, here? She took AP classes and proved that she was only mediocre at college-level work. And that’s supposed to make her attractive to colleges . . . how?

Many kids aim at top level schools, but let’s face it — not every kid BELONGS at top-level schools. I’m betting that, if she’s making Bs and Cs in high school AP classes, she’s going to really struggle at someplace like Georgia Tech. It sounds like her college placement advisor was the one that was screwing up by not encouraging her to be realistic in her college choices, instead of cautioning her that, for her, Tech was probably a “reach” school.

Reality

April 2nd, 2009
8:18 am

jim d – Your continued arguement about schools admissions making decisions based on some financial reasons are totally wrong. With an overload of applicants, schools do not have to worry about having enough people to pay tuition – regardless if they already have college credits or not. Also, your argument does not hold water because these very same schools admit transfer students from other colleges regularly – and these students have way more credits than any HS student with AP credit.

Sarah

April 2nd, 2009
9:05 am

My guess would be that students who had a better GPA and SAT score got in first and even if you are number one in your school, you may be behind several thousand others in the state.

jim d

April 2nd, 2009
9:16 am

raelity,

good points.

William Casey

April 2nd, 2009
10:50 am

Sheared: I’m a retired high school teacher who does not easily panic. I passed three calculus courses at GT. My son is currently enrolled in AP BC calculus at Northview High. His knowledge of calculus is so far beyond mine that it isn’t even funny. How do I know? We were recently discussing the differences among Newton’s, Einstein’s and Hawking’s views of the universe and Beau started getting into calculus. “Whoa nellie” I said. Once he explained it, I knew enough to understand. But, I never could have done what he did. Proud papa!

Just in case someone wants to make a “nerd” comment, I coached basketball. baseball and football for 20 years. Beau played basketball and baseball at Northview.

Makes me wonder if GT favors foreign and out-of-state students for the extra money.

catlady

April 2nd, 2009
12:01 pm

In Georgia do the individual colleges keep the tuition money or does it go back to the state into a central pot? Some states let their colleges keep the tuition money (and thus they are encouraged to admit out of state students and raise tuition) but some states do not. In Georgia most international students are grad students and have tuition waivers, either full or just out of state waivers.

lyncoln

April 2nd, 2009
12:06 pm

Lee,

Not only is there ‘recalc’. When I was there we had ‘E-mag’ (electromagnetic physics freshman year), ‘Re-mag’ (because you didn’t pass it the first time), ‘Three-mag’ (because the third time is the charm), and finally ‘Management’ (because you don’t have to pass e-mag if you change your major). :)

In my experience, AP Calc AB was the equivalent to the first 2/2.5 quarters of Calculus at Tech (don’t know how that will work with semesters). Calc 4 was the first course with nothing that had been covered in my high school class. I had one friend from New Jersey who swore he had covered advanced calculus in high school that was never required for his degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Another way of approaching AP classes might be to have a student take those AP courses that they want to take. Rather than taking all possible courses available, take the ones that the student really thinks will focus on what they want to study. Going for Engineering? Worry about AP Calc, Physics, Chem, Bio or similar. Going for something not Engineering? Worry about AP English, History, Foreign Language, etc. or whatever is most important to your goals. College refines and focuses your studies toward your major and while broad knowledge of topics is useful and sometimes relevant to certain majors it’s not a major requirement of many degree programs. I would think starting by focusing the AP courses you take can only help show a school that you are a good fit for their programs of study.

dman

April 2nd, 2009
1:55 pm

First, if a student states that they have made B’s and C’s in their AP classes, and then states they have a 3.60 GPA, they are probably giving a GPA that is not a true Core GPA, and most likely has been inflated by the weighting system of the high school (North Carolina uses a 5 point grading scale to take into account weight for honors.advanced/AP classes, so they have a distorted view GPA’s). A college will then evaluate the GPA based upon only core classes, and then add weight for AP or IB classes. So most likely, she is comparing herself to other applicants on a very different scale than the what the colleges are saying as far as averages. And while a 1900 is strong, that is below the averages for GA Tech and UGA. She should hope for getting off the waitlist at UGA, and go with plan B (whatever her backup school is).

DB

April 2nd, 2009
2:48 pm

@catlady: I know that, at least one school in North Carolina (if not the whole University system there), the school starts charging you double if you go over 140 hours. You need 120 hours to graduate. OK, some people double-major, some people change majors, so you need a little leeway. 20 hours is 6 or 7 classes. So, NC gives you the option, but oh, boy, you pay through the nose for the luxury!

catlady

April 2nd, 2009
8:19 pm

DB, yeah, I am familiar with the UNC system. They have also, in the past, severely limited the OOS students they take at the higher-ranked campuses because they have had such low tuition–the state has heavily subsidized the cost for IS students. At one point, I believe tuition for IS students was free or nearly so.

Different states target their aid and tuition costs. For example, some in the NE charge high tuition but make up for it (or say they do) by providing generous state aid to lower income students. Georgia has a different take on that, to be sure. Since the institution of HOPE, the state has pulled back on their aid (need based rather than merit) tremendously. Other than HOPe and federal aid, there is little available here for public college students.

catlady

April 2nd, 2009
8:24 pm

Definition: federal aid: that which you get by filling out a FAFSA, such as Pell or the various student loans, or federally sponsored work study.

HB

April 3rd, 2009
11:42 am

I suspect colleges don’t closely count AP classes. If your high school only offers three, you probably should take them all. If your school offers 15, colleges probably don’t see a huge difference between a student taking 7, 10, or 15 — all three students, clearly are not slackers. At that point if grades and SATs are similar, I bet they are all lumped into a big “good grades, took lots of AP” pool, and admissions offices probably start looking at other factors to decide who they want. They may prefer a kid with 7 AP classes, extracurriculars, etc. to a kid who took 15 and did nothing else. They probably also look at the AP test scores for classes taken before senior year. Who cares if a student took AP U.S. history and got an A, if they only scored a 2 or 3 on the national test? That’s likely a sign that the course is watered down.

Student

April 4th, 2009
12:40 am

For all those people who have been judging me without knowing the whole story, I want to clarify a few points. First of all, I have never scored lower than a 4 on my AP Exams; hence, if the colleges were considering AP scores as an indicator of success in their college, I don’t think they denied me for that reason. Also, the C’s that I did make were only in 2 courses, one being Calculus, which is not even useful for my major. As far as extracurriculars go, I have been playing piano for thirteen years and have made All-State for six years. I also have been involved in many clubs at school such as the French Club, Yoga Club, and a political club as well as leadership positions in Poetry Club and Chorus. Although I never was a very athletic kid, I also participated in tennis, volleyball, and yoga on a regular basis.
Just recently, I met up with the Tech Admissions officer to discuss my status and he told me that my essay, SAT score, course work, and extracurricular activities were strong; however, my GPA was just not good enough. I was made to believe that my B in an AP course would outweigh the A from an on-level course. Yet, after talking with admissions, they told me that I was being compared to students with an average of 2 AP courses during the junior year, and then based on my overall GPA, they would make their decision. But the fact is, I didn’t just take 2 AP courses. Although there were only 2 offered that year, my GPA had been affected by ALL the AP courses I had taken, not just the 2 I took that year. So really, I found out that in the end, the AP pressure became a hindrance rather than a boost to get into college because once you take a certain number of AP courses, admissions just categorizes you as a kid with “many APs.” Plus, the admissions does not give you the full quality point, so unless you are very interested in just learning the material for the sake of learning, the “AP” credit is really not that beneficial, contrary to what most counselors advise.

Former High school Student

April 4th, 2009
1:16 am

I would have to agree with the student regarding the GPA. High achieving schools put a lot of pressure on students to take honors or AP classes versus on-level classes, making students believe that colleges will “prefer” the student who took more rigorous courses. What is the point in a student taking AP courses, if other students in the same state won’t be taking these courses either because they don’t have the same work ethic, they opt to get an A instead of a B, academics aren’t a number one priority for the school, or simply because their school doesn’t offer these courses. How is it fair for the student that took the rigorous classes,but didn’t get accepted to colleges versus the student who opted to take on-level classes? I think there needs to be a change in the system, a way of standardizing AP points on a state-wide level into a student’s GPA or into the admission’s process. Otherwise, how can you compare students that go to a school where AP classes aren’t offered but got has a 4.0 GPA vs. a student that took mostly APs but got a 3.6? In my opinion, the student with the APs and the 3.6 is academically more impressive, but apparently that’s not the opinion of college admissions officers or at least the computers.

Student

April 4th, 2009
2:00 am

I would like to clarify a few misconceptions in regards to my qualifications. As far as AP scores go, I have not scored less than a 4 on the 11 AP exams I took. Therefore, if the schools were focusing on the scores more than the grades, my scores would have outweighed any doubt in my performance. Also, my grades did not mainly consist of C’s; I made two, one of which one was in math (which is not even significant for the major I am choosing). I also consider myself to be a pretty well rounded student; I have taken piano for thirteen years, have participated in All-State for six years, have been a member/ officer of many different clubs, have held a steady job, and have been actively involved in yoga and tennis. The question here is not about the strength of extracurriculars or about SAT scores (according to an admissions officers, I was strong in these areas), the main concern was the GPA. This is when I have to question whether the AP rigor was necessary for getting in to college. The fact is, I attend a high school that is nationally ranked and is extremely concerned about preserving their reputation as a high-achieving school in a state that is lagging behind on education. Because of this, the students are made to believe that an AP course is more impressive than an honors or on-level course. I took these courses because I thought the Bs from AP classes would be regarded in a higher esteem than As in honors classes; however, according to an admissions officer, AP courses are only distinguished to a point. Once the student has exceeded a number of AP courses, they are placed into a general category of kids with “many APs.” In this case, how is the GPA of a student with 11 or 12 AP courses comparable to a student with 6 or 7? This is taking into account the level of difficulty associated with AP classes and the effect that a couple of extra honors classes with As has on the cumulative GPA. In the end, the number of AP courses I took was more of a hindrance than a boost on my college application. Students do not need to be pressured to take AP classes for the “quality point” or the image of an AP on a college app. Instead, interest should be the main goal of taking a class, now that I understand the actual value of all my AP courses.

concerned student

April 4th, 2009
2:01 am

I would like to clarify a few misconceptions in regards to my qualifications. As far as AP scores go, I have not scored less than a 4 on the 11 AP exams I took. Therefore, if the schools were focusing on the scores more than the grades, my scores would have outweighed any doubt in my performance. Also, my grades did not mainly consist of C’s; I made two, one of which one was in math (which is not even significant for the major I am choosing). I also consider myself to be a pretty well rounded student; I have taken piano for thirteen years, have participated in All-State for six years, have been a member/ officer of many different clubs, have held a steady job, and have been actively involved in yoga and tennis. The question here is not about the strength of extracurriculars or about SAT scores (according to an admissions officers, I was strong in these areas), the main concern was the GPA. This is when I have to question whether the AP rigor was necessary for getting in to college. The fact is, I attend a high school that is nationally ranked and is extremely concerned about preserving their reputation as a high-achieving school in a state that is lagging behind on education. Because of this, the students are made to believe that an AP course is more impressive than an honors or on-level course. I took these courses because I thought the Bs from AP classes would be regarded in a higher esteem than As in honors classes; however, according to an admissions officer, AP courses are only distinguished to a point. Once the student has exceeded a number of AP courses, they are placed into a general category of kids with “many APs.” In this case, how is the GPA of a student with 11 or 12 AP courses comparable to a student with 6 or 7? This is taking into account the level of difficulty associated with AP classes and the effect that a couple of extra honors classes with As has on the cumulative GPA. In the end, the number of AP courses I took was more of a hindrance than a boost on my college application. Students do not need to be pressured to take AP classes for the “quality point” or the image of an AP on a college app. Instead, interest should be the main goal of taking a class, now that I understand the actual value of all my AP courses.

concerned student

April 4th, 2009
2:02 am

I would like to clarify a few misconceptions in regards to my qualifications. As far as AP scores go, I have not scored less than a 4 on the 11 AP exams I took. Therefore, if the schools were focusing on the scores more than the grades, my scores would have outweighed any doubt in my performance. Also, my grades did not mainly consist of C’s; I made two, one of which one was in math (which is not even significant for the major I am choosing). I also consider myself to be a pretty well rounded student; I have taken piano for thirteen years, have participated in All-State for six years, have been a member/ officer of many different clubs, have held a steady job, and have been actively involved in yoga and tennis. The question here is not about the strength of extracurriculars or about SAT scores (according to an admissions officers, I was strong in these areas), the main concern was the GPA. This is when I have to question whether the AP rigor was necessary for getting in to college. The fact is, I attend a high school that is nationally ranked and is extremely concerned about preserving their reputation as a high-achieving school in a state that is lagging behind on education.

A Student

April 4th, 2009
2:03 am

I would like to clarify a few misconceptions in regards to my qualifications. As far as AP scores go, I have not scored less than a 4 on the 11 AP exams I took. Therefore, if the schools were focusing on the scores more than the grades, my scores would have outweighed any doubt in my performance. Also, my grades did not mainly consist of C’s; I made two, one of which one was in math (which is not even significant for the major I am choosing). I also consider myself to be a pretty well rounded student; I have taken piano for thirteen years, have participated in All-State for six years, have been a member/ officer of many different clubs, have held a steady job, and have been actively involved in yoga and tennis. The question here is not about the strength of extracurriculars or about SAT scores (according to an admissions officers, I was strong in these areas), the main concern was the GPA. This is when I have to question whether the AP rigor was necessary for getting in to college.

A Student

April 4th, 2009
2:04 am

Continued… The fact is, I attend a high school that is nationally ranked and is extremely concerned about preserving their reputation as a high-achieving school in a state that is lagging behind on education. Because of this, the students are made to believe that an AP course is more impressive than an honors or on-level course. I took these courses because I thought the Bs from AP classes would be regarded in a higher esteem than As in honors classes; however, according to an admissions officer, AP courses are only distinguished to a point. Once the student has exceeded a number of AP courses, they are placed into a general category of kids with “many APs.” In this case, how is the GPA of a student with 11 or 12 AP courses comparable to a student with 6 or 7? This is taking into account the level of difficulty associated with AP classes and the effect that a couple of extra honors classes with As has on the cumulative GPA. In the end, the number of AP courses I took was more of a hindrance than a boost on my college application. Students do not need to be pressured to take AP classes for the “quality point” or the image of an AP on a college app. Instead, interest should be the main goal of taking a class, now that I understand the actual value of all my AP courses.

A Student

April 4th, 2009
2:04 am

Continued…The fact is, I attend a high school that is nationally ranked and is extremely concerned about preserving their reputation as a high-achieving school in a state that is lagging behind on education. Because of this, the students are made to believe that an AP course is more impressive than an honors or on-level course. I took these courses because I thought the Bs from AP classes would be regarded in a higher esteem than As in honors classes; however, according to an admissions officer, AP courses are only distinguished to a point. Once the student has exceeded a number of AP courses, they are placed into a general category of kids with “many APs.”

A Student

April 4th, 2009
2:05 am

The fact is, I attend a high school that is nationally ranked and is extremely concerned about preserving their reputation as a high-achieving school in a state that is lagging behind on education. Because of this, the students are made to believe that an AP course is more impressive than an honors or on-level course. I took these courses because I thought the Bs from AP classes would be regarded in a higher esteem than As in honors classes; however, according to an admissions officer, AP courses are only distinguished to a point. Once the student has exceeded a number of AP courses, they are placed into a general category of kids with “many APs.” In this case, how is the GPA of a student with 11 or 12 AP courses comparable to a student with 6 or 7? This is taking into account the level of difficulty associated with AP classes and the effect that a couple of extra honors classes with As has on the cumulative GPA. In the end, the number of AP courses I took was more of a hindrance than a boost on my college application. Students do not need to be pressured to take AP classes for the “quality point” or the image of an AP on a college app. Instead, interest should be the main goal of taking a class, now that I understand the actual value of all my AP courses.

A Student 2

April 4th, 2009
2:08 am

The fact is, I attend a high school that is nationally ranked and is extremely concerned about preserving their reputation as a high-achieving school in a state that is lagging behind on education. Because of this, the students are made to believe that an AP course is more impressive than an honors or on-level course. I took these courses because I thought the Bs from AP classes would be regarded in a higher esteem than As in honors classes; however, according to an admissions officer, AP courses are only distinguished to a point. Once the student has exceeded a number of AP courses, they are placed into a general category of kids with “many APs.”

A Student 2

April 4th, 2009
2:18 am

The reality is that I attend a high school that is nationally ranked and is extremely concerned about preserving their reputation as a high-achieving school in a state that is lagging behind on education. Because of this, the students are made to believe that an AP course is more impressive than an honors or on-level course. I took these courses because I thought the Bs from AP classes would be regarded in a higher esteem than As in honors classes; however, according to an admissions officer, AP courses are only distinguished to a point. Once the student has exceeded a number of AP courses, they are placed into a general category of kids with “many APs.” In this case, how is the GPA of a student with 11 or 12 AP courses comparable to a student with 6 or 7? This is taking into account the level of difficulty associated with AP classes and the effect that a couple of extra honors classes with As has on the cumulative GPA. In the end, the number of AP courses I took was more of a hindrance than a boost on my college application. Students do not need to be pressured to take AP classes for the “quality point” or the image of an AP on a college app. Instead, interest should be the main goal of taking a class, now that I understand the actual value of all my AP courses.

A Student 2

April 4th, 2009
2:19 am

I attend a high school that is nationally ranked and is extremely concerned about preserving their reputation as a high-achieving school in a state that is lagging behind on education. Because of this, the students are made to believe that an AP course is more impressive than an honors or on-level course. I took these courses because I thought the Bs from AP classes would be regarded in a higher esteem than As in honors classes; however, according to an admissions officer, AP courses are only distinguished to a point. Once the student has exceeded a number of AP courses, they are placed into a general category of kids with “many APs.” In this case, how is the GPA of a student with 11 or 12 AP courses comparable to a student with 6 or 7? This is taking into account the level of difficulty associated with AP classes and the effect that a couple of extra honors classes with As has on the cumulative GPA. In the end, the number of AP courses I took was more of a hindrance than a boost on my college application. Students do not need to be pressured to take AP classes for the “quality point” or the image of an AP on a college app. Instead, interest should be the main goal of taking a class, now that I understand the actual value of all my AP courses.