Want to get into UGA or Tech? Start planning in middle school.

The competition to get into Tech and UGA will not subside any time soon.  (AJC file)

The competition to get into Tech and UGA will not subside any time soon. (AJC file)

Parents of current high school students will not be surprised by today’s AJC story on the rising caliber of  students admitted to Georgia’s top public campuses. Most parents have a story about a great candidate from their local high school who was rejected by UGA or Tech. And there are many alums of both schools who admit they would never be admitted under today’s tougher standards.

Applications for UGA’s freshman class have increased by more than 50 percent since 2003. Tech’s applications have increased by 48 percent over the last four years.

As the competition for spots at the premier campuses has intensified, students are upping their academic games, enrolling in more AP classes. Parents of high school freshmen and sophomores ought to advise their children to read today’s AJC story so they better understand the risks of waiting until their junior year to get serious about their high school studies.

In fact, according to the story, middle school students ought to read the AJC  story as well.

College admission pressures will not subside in Georgia, which will continue to see an increase in high school applicants. According to AJC reporter Laura Diamond, undergraduate enrollment in Georgia grew by 77 percent from 1999 to 2009, compared to 38 percent nationally.  She reports that Georgia’s high school graduates are projected to increase by 22 percent over the next decade, compared to 10 percent for the nation.

She says: High-schoolers have to set goals and prepare earlier than ever if they are to have their choice. Some public and private middle school counselors begin talking with students and parents as early as sixth grade about what courses must be taken in high school to be attractive to competitive colleges.

According to the AJC:

This year’s freshmen at the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State and Georgia College & State universities shattered records for SAT scores and high school GPAs. That continued a steady rise that has altered the state’s higher education landscape, making a slot at Tech or UGA hotly competitive and fueling huge growth and higher standards at other public universities.

Georgia Tech’s freshmen earned an average 1378 on the math and verbal SAT — up almost 50 points from five years ago. They took more than three college-level Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses by the end of junior year in high school and three more during senior year.

“It’s getting a little ridiculous,” said Rick Clark, director of undergraduate admissions at Georgia Tech. “The caliber is going up but the number of students we admit isn’t.”

The rising quality at top colleges has caused a trickle down effect. Enrollment at Georgia Southern and Kennesaw State universities has increased and the student talent has improved. Kennesaw State freshmen earned an average 1,074 on the math and verbal SAT — a gain of 52 points over the last decade.

Joshua Beane graduated from Grayson High in Gwinnett County with strong enough marks to compete for a spot at UGA. Freshmen there scored an average 1,254 on the SAT and had an average GPA of almost 3.8. But Beane didn’t apply.

“I just didn’t want to deal with it when there are a bunch of other colleges,” Beane said. “Smart people are going to those other colleges, too.”

He focused on less expensive campuses and those where he was likely to get in. He’s now a freshman at Kennesaw State.

The state’s HOPE scholarship has caused much of the rise. Prior to this fall, the scholarship paid all tuition at public colleges if students maintained a 3.0 GPA. The rules changed this academic year and now 10 percent of recipients get a full tuition award. The rest get a scholarship that covers most of tuition.

Before HOPE started in 1993, less than one-quarter of students who scored 1,400 or higher on the SAT stayed in state for college, according to the University System of Georgia. After, about three-quarters did.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

111 comments Add your comment


August 28th, 2011
10:46 am

Parents beware — there is a difference in various high schools in how students ‘qualify’ for AP classes. There is also a difference in how the AP classes are handled. The differences vary tremendously between public and private schools (I have had kids in 3 high schools over the past 3 years — public and private — public in DCSS). At Lakeside, in DCSS, for example, my experience has been that there were 38 kids in the class, the national curriculum was not followed and in order to score a 3 or better (which is what is needed for college credit), the student needed to be “on top of things” and preparing a lot on their own (this is even with an A or a B in the class. In private schools, the class size drops to under 18 (sometimes as low as 5 or 6), the national curriculum is followed, there are weekend review sessions leading up to the exam so the likelihood of a score over a 3 increases. There are also “gatekeepers” at the private schools that don’t seem to exist at the public schools… at some it is based on PSAT scores in 9th and 10th grade; others it is based on grades and recommendations; at some it is based on the student’s interest and in others it may be based on SSAT scores. At Lakeside, once you signed up for the AP class, you are “committed” — you can not get out, even if you are so out of your league you can’t get out — even if you are failing by the 2nd week of the class. In many of the private schools, you can drop to honors level during much of the first semester… What I am saying, is that AP isn’t the same at all schools and it is worth doing some research on this front.

Megan Hayes-Golding

August 28th, 2011
11:57 am

Regarding Anonmom’s comments about how admission into and curriculum of AP courses varies — sure, there are differences in how schools handle AP. Admission into AP is the biggest difference I see.

The College Board (owner of the AP program) strongly encourages teachers admit anyone who wants into the course. Some schools enact “gatekeeping” protocols, including grade and aptitude requirements, which I think is a detriment to the program. Sure, class sizes are smaller and as a teacher, you up your AP pass rate, but who are we excluding in the process?

As for the public/private divide — it’s my belief that small class size is something you’re paying for. I’m not suggesting that 38 in a class is acceptable, just that fewer than 18 might be too expensive to justify at a public school.

Parents & HS Students considering AP should ask the school:
* to see the syllabus (compare to the College Board’s published curriculum),
* ask about the admission requirements (”interested students are welcome” is the right answer),
* data on the school, course, and teacher’s pass rate (cross reference that against admission reqts),

Regarding the article itself: WOW! I am a teacher with a child interested in Tech. Wise AP teachers I’ve spoken to suggest that she not attempt more than 2 AP classes concurrently. Tech’s *average* entering student this year took 3 as a senior. Tough parenting decision — do I prepare her for Tech’s admission standards or follow the advice of successful AP teachers?

Are admission requirements moving beyond what is reasonably achievable by our students?


August 28th, 2011
11:59 am

With grade inflation rampant in this state, GPA means NOTHING!!! SAT/ACT scores are the only real objective along with your resume of extracurriculars and admission interview performance.

Now let the howling about “standardized testing does not reflect intelligence…..” or “just because my little Johnny is not a good test taker….” begin: three, two, one…….

Sorry folks, life is fool of tests: bar exam, LCATS,MCATS, medical board exams, etc. Get used to it…sooner you start the better

33 year educator

August 28th, 2011
12:05 pm

Hopefully, parents and school counselors will be talking to middle school students and beginning high school students about the importance of grades on college entrance requirements. The thing I find so interesting is… if these requirements for getting into UGA/Tech are getting so much more difficult, do these students’ abilities match their GPAs and SAT scores once they begin their university classes? We hear so much about high school teachers being forced to change grades, give multiple chances, etc. and now remedial classes being offered in college as well. You have to wonder, are the students raising the bar for college entrance truly superior students?


August 28th, 2011
12:09 pm

Would be interesting to know what percentage of kids with high GPA AND high SAT scores keep their HOPE awards as compared to kids with high GPA and low/average SAT scores!!!

I have my hunch….


August 28th, 2011
12:09 pm

HOPE seems to have done its job! that’s awesome. Glad to hear it. I hope that all those good students who don’t qualify for HOPE don’t now go out of state to school. The point of HOPE was to keep the best students in GA…because once they left, they were mostly gone forever. (hint: the point wasn’t to pay for lower income students to go to college. there are plenty of other programs that do that).
It’s funny what you say, anonmom. I was in an AP math BC class in 12th grade (many years ago). There were over 20 of us. The teacher DID NOT WANT so many kids in the class, but since we all enrolled, we were allowed to take it (and no, they weren’t going to have two classes). I think the teacher had had fewer than 10 kids in previous years. So we were all told early on that he was going to make it VERY difficult in that class because he wanted some kids to go to the AB class. I don’t think any of us did! We were all quite stubborn.
I had NO idea what was going on in that class, I will tell you that. I cherish the two I got on the AP exam. It meant something got in there. And for several years in college, there were things I had seen before, in that class, so it was incredibly helpful in the end.


August 28th, 2011
12:14 pm

re: grade inflation.
Many years ago when they were first talking about how the HOPE might have to be changed because there isn’t enough money, I said to my legislator: hey, why don’t we just rank everyone’s GPA, figure out how many scholarships we have, and give it to the top ‘whatever’ number of students.
I was told this was an awful idea.
However, that is the only one that can work. Otherwise, we have one the one side, revenues, that don’t match the outflows, because they have made everything absolute. Which is a horrible way to run a program, but seems to be the way that all programs are run.
This would take care of grade inflation, a bit, since no one would really know what the cutoff was until everyone was ranked. And no, not all teachers could give 4.0 to all students, I don’t think it would be possible.
Perhaps some part in there about if more than XX% of your students get a 4.0 then none of your students are eligible…


August 28th, 2011
12:27 pm


Life is “fool” of tests, is it? Bet you aced them all. And I’ve never heard of “LCATS.” Are they anything like the LSAT?

Atlanta mom

August 28th, 2011
12:29 pm

If the HOPE was not orginally intended to help poor families, why was there a $60,000 cap on family income in order to receive it?


August 28th, 2011
12:32 pm

Atlanta mom: i was under the impression that the reason for the HOPE was to keep the best students in GA. Regardless of income. that is what I have always heard said about it.


August 28th, 2011
12:33 pm

Parents need to be more aware of the International Baccalaureate Program offered at selected area high schools. This program engages students in international education (needed in this global economy!) and provides quality high standards through a strong academic curriculum. My son attended North Atlanta High School and excelled. He was granted early acceptance to UNC-Chapel Hill when he also applied the principles and strategies gained from the IB Program and graduated with high honors! Of course he did not receive the HOPE Scholarship. We as parents planned and funded this ourselves!!


August 28th, 2011
12:45 pm

GPA will never work as a ranking system. An “A” at most Atlanta private schools is significantly different from an “A” at other schools. If your child doesn’t do well on standardized tests, you should know it by the 3rd grade. You then have the time to prepare your child for college entrance exams.


August 28th, 2011
12:59 pm

33 year educator: check the “drop” rate for classes since HOPE was instituted. It has gone through the roof. Check the 60%+ who lose HOPE. These should give you an idea. However, Gary Henry at Ga State did some crosstabs research for the state a while back. Bet you can get an idea from there.


August 28th, 2011
1:15 pm

I believe HOPE has exceeded expectations, especially when it was opened to all students regardless of family income. atlmom, you might want to searc Hope Scholarship History for background on this. One link to review is:


catlady, you bring up analysis that would be interesting to get more insight on. I also wonder of those that lost HOPE, how many stayed in school and still graduated? To me, that demonstrates another type of persistence that is worth considering, especially if you look at the ‘perceived’ quality of education at each college. How would you compare a student that lost HOPE at Tech yet still graduated to one that retained HOPE all four years at GA. Southern? Did both have the same job oppportunites after they graduated? I believe this is also a measurable that is worthy of consideration.


August 28th, 2011
1:18 pm

What about LEARNING??? Grades are subjective and to say otherwise is an expression of ignorance. Educators teaching the same course in the same school will have a difficult time defining “What is an A”. Public High School should not be a collegiate factory but rather a place where ALL student are given the opportunity to Quality in Equity. Grades should not be used to select, sort or compensate. They should not be used for entrance criteria either. They are to be used as form of communication with parents and student regarding the progress of the student toward mastery of the specific content. There was an earlier post regarding a student failing in the second week of school. This should never happen. If we as educators work at readiness level of the student and continue to instill high expectations, they should not be failing. It is about LEARNING FOR ALL! Let us not loose our focus because of extrinsic influences that are motivated by $$$$$. The price of college continues to rise faster than inflation and financial aid. This is broken and caters to a specific demographic. In a democracy, public educational institutions should not select and sort based on those who can afford vs those who can not afford but that is what is happening. SAT scores have increased because of the # of SAT prep courses being offered. Who can afford these courses? Once again segregated based on social class. This also defeats the entire purpose of the SAT, but you will not get ETS to admit this because they too are lining their pockets.


August 28th, 2011
1:22 pm

one of the ideas for HOPE was that the student pays for the semester and then at the end, when/if grades are up to snuff for keeping HOPE, that they then get reimbursed for the semester.
It seems like a good idea, but I’m not sure in implementation it would be wonderful. would it cost more to administer? would that administration cost be absorbed by not paying as much in scholarships? …because we all know that some students lose their HOPE at some point. Would some students – knowing that they would actually have to pay for the semester themselves, be more motivated to get the grades they need – since they know it’s not ‘hey, I get a free ride for a semester’?
Thanks ernest, i will look at that.


August 28th, 2011
1:27 pm

“Are admission requirements moving beyond what is reasonably achievable by our students?”

I have a sister- in-law that is currently homeschooling. It is amazing what our children are capable of learning if we would just expect it. As a retired teacher, I know young people can do a lot more. Maybe increasing the college standards eventually will increase lower level standards.


August 28th, 2011
1:30 pm

I graduated from Georgia State and started at GCSU. Unless you go to UGA or Tech, college doesn’t matter. And AP classes were a waste of time.

USG Prof

August 28th, 2011
1:31 pm

@ 33 year educator, 12:05 pm. “We hear so much about high school teachers being forced to change grades, give multiple chances, etc. and now remedial classes being offered in college as well. You have to wonder, are the students raising the bar for college entrance truly superior students?”

A plausible reading of the situation, but poor HS students aren’t causing this raising of the bar. USG research institutions have been seeking to raise their entrance standards for at least a decade….now they can do it because there is such a flood of student applicants, due in large part to the bad economy and job market. It’s not the inferior level of students applying or HS grade inflation. Schools are doing it because they CAN, and still have plenty of students filling their classrooms. (And it sure makes teaching the classes more rewarding.)


August 28th, 2011
1:32 pm

As a teacher who considered teaches IB history I must warn those who cherish the exceptionalism of the US to be careful. The US History course taught under that program is a Euro/World veiw of US history and thus reduces America down to the level of importance of most every other nation in the world. This will tend to have the student miss the factual greatness of this country in world history as well as water down the students understanding as to why they should look at America as worthy of sacrfice in their own lives.


August 28th, 2011
1:33 pm

jerry: um, it is about learning,b ut how else do you award scholarships?

The reality is that college *should* be about learning, but over the last 20 or 30 years, things have chnaged dramatically. There are pretty much the same number of slots for colleges (see, article above) so why wouldn’t tuitions increase? not everyone *is* college material, and not everyone *should* go to college. this has been distorted in the last 20+ years. it is a terrible place for our society to be, but here we are.
I’m really getting tired of everyone always saying: oh, but this isn’t *fair* and ‘oh, look who can afford it’ and ‘oh, no! it’s those rich kids who can afford the prep classes.’ So what? wow, what’s the big deal. Who cares??? Are you trying to take care of those who don’t have as much? that’s where one’s focus should be. Not taking away from those who have. Those who have will always have, there shouldn’t be a problem with it. (really what’s the alternative? telling people that no matter how hard they work, they can’t pass it on to their kids? they can’t give it to their family? watch as we become SO much less prosperous…oh, wait…we’ve tried it already and look where we are).
The reality is…what is the purpose of HOPE? I always thought it was to keep the best students IN GEORGIA. if so…then we have seen that it is working – beyond expectations. And, with the law of unintended consequences (but it should have been seen!) – the state schools are becoming incredible institutions because they are getting a wonderfully high caliber of students…because of the HOPE!!! because students are staying in GA. A great thing for all. It’s wonderful isn’t it?

Yes, Jerry, our schools have most definitely lost focus. to tell kids that the only way for them to succeed is with a college education is folly (and they are learning it now with the economy the way it is. it *matters* WHICH degree you get, too).


August 28th, 2011
1:37 pm

the wad: considering my child seems to have american history EVERY YEAR, I don’t see this as a large issue. It’s ONE class, one perspective. they can ALSO take american history, can’t they?
Hannah: really? Um, I would say look at a lot of job postings. even if a degree may not be necessary to DO a job, most of them say: four year degree needed. so I’d think twice if I were you.
And if one can go into college with a semester’s worth of credits because of AP courses, then one may be able to graduate a semester earlier…that’s a HUGE savings.


August 28th, 2011
1:45 pm

soccermom: you are doing the SAME THING now. They are looking at GPA for the HOPE now…what’s the difference? now it’s absolute, and we see how well that has worked out.
So you need what (I don’t know just throwing this out there) a 3.8 for the full ride, right? it’s different in all schools now, right? so how is that different the way I said it then?


August 28th, 2011
1:49 pm

Whoever said that test scores matter more than GPA does not understand entrance requirements for UGA and Tech. If you look carefully, once a certain level of test score is reached, GPA counts more than any increment in the test score.
Also, the gate keepers on AP courses are hurting students by not letting them take more courses since they are competing for entrance with students who had no gatekeepers and even Tech and UGA don’t care how you score on the AP exam – just how many courses you took.
Several years ago, a kid needed to make a choice in sixth grade if s/he wanted to take calculus in high school. I don’t know where it is with the crazy new math curriculum – all I know is that kids who move into GA from a state that has been following the standard math curriculum are hosed.


August 28th, 2011
1:51 pm

Atlmom-No one’s hiring, so it doesn’t seem to matter, now does it? I graduated a year early thanks to joint enrollment as well, but again, that just put me into the real world a year earlier. Yaaaaaay.


August 28th, 2011
1:56 pm

And also I got a full ride thanks to the HOPE so technically I didn’t save any money. Although I did save about $40,000, so that’s pretty great.


August 28th, 2011
1:59 pm

ernest: You are completely right, as usual.

I admire kids who have the gumption to stick with it after they hit the rude awakening of losing HOPE. I am sure the data is out there, but our legislature required very little evaluation of the HOPE program, and in the past there has been a strict guarding of the data so that private (unbiased) researchers could not parse out some really meaningful info based on more sophisticated statistical programs. Not sure if that has changed.


August 28th, 2011
1:59 pm

SAT,ACT, AP, etc., etc…have sold us a bill of goods and guess, we bought it! Do colleges and universities around the world have prospective students purchase these testing goods?

College Prof

August 28th, 2011
2:18 pm

First of all, to address DUH, many college admissions have found that students’ GPAs are more important at predicting college success than their SAT scores in the long run. They are saying that it comes from their work ethic. A student who scores high on the SAT, but has a lower GPA obviously has the ability to do better, but just doesn’t care enough to do his/her best. Colleges don’t want those students as much. UGA, as well as some other Georgia schools, will tell you that in their admissions visits. To answer your question about higher GPAs vs. SATs maintaining the HOPE, my daughter is a junior at UGA and has still maintained her HOPE Scholarship for all three years and she scored what you would probably consider a low SAT. She did have a high GPA.

As for Atlanta Mom, there is not a $60,000 cap on who receives the HOPE. If there is, they will come looking for us to pay it back very soon. It is completely merit based at this time and not based on income. You are not required to fill out any form which states your income. Many people THINK you have to fill out the FAFSA form to get HOPE, but you do not. FAFSA requires income information and is a federal aid form. If you only are applying for HOPE, you just have to fill out the Georgia HOPE form and if you meet the merit requirements you quailify.

bootney farnsworth

August 28th, 2011
2:23 pm

not at all bothered by this.
Tech & UGA are the flagships of the USG, and entry into them
should be a prize worth working for.

life is competitive, and its good for kids to learn – even
in middle school – that they’ve got to work hard for the
things they want

and that life is not always fair.

bootney farnsworth

August 28th, 2011
2:25 pm

GPC, GGC, Ga. State, West Georgia, Atl. Metro, Clayton and others are glad to have students who didn’t qualify for UGA/Tech.

and they are cheaper, too


August 28th, 2011
2:31 pm

Please keep in mind that The College Board is a FOR-PROFIT business, not an educational institution.

Of course, they encourage that every student be able to take an AP class that’s more money in their pockets for the actual test, study materials, etc.!!! Schools have a vested interest in keeping the unqualified OUT because schools and teachers are often ranked on the basis of how many students pass.

Also, colleges and universities don’t have to accept any AP scores (including 5s). When there is a tough economy (y’know like now?!?) and schools need money they can just choose not to accept AP scores and students and/or parents will have to pay full tuition.

bootney farnsworth

August 28th, 2011
2:32 pm

‘course, all this goes out the window if
you can play football.

then you can have an SAT in negative numbers
and both places will open the doors wide for you

bootney farnsworth

August 28th, 2011
2:34 pm

@ Beck

in this economy, UGA & Tech are in the drivers seat.

students & parents need to start making better market
choices based on price and education – and less on marketing
and football

bootney farnsworth

August 28th, 2011
2:36 pm

there are also several good technical colleges which can give a student a good start in their higher education

bootney farnsworth

August 28th, 2011
2:39 pm

and for the really motivated student, On Line education is available to nearly everyone by nearly everyone

Ole Guy

August 28th, 2011
2:41 pm

While these are most note-worthy considerations: early counseling, taking the right courses in order to gain “competitive attractiveness” to the right colleges, etc, I am awaiting AJC’s (ie Maureen’s) report on rates of graduation. Does counseling, during the middle school years, and taking the “right” courses in high school, necessarily translate into success (in terms of simply gaining admission to your favorite institution)? If…as I have understood from previous GET SCHOOLED articles…rates of graduation are at a low, than perhaps early counseling and taking the right courses, in themselves, are not the answer to REAL success…gaining that college diploma.

Perhaps the real issues should be explored: Grade inflation, AP enrollment for students who are not, academically, AP material, and more importantly, A COMPLETE REMOVAL OF PARENTAL INFLUENCE/MEDDLING IN THE TEACHER EVALUATION PROCESS. The kids’ teacher(s) are (or SHOULD be) the ONLY source of this determination. What with (supposedly) A/B students, on HOPE, having to take remedials during their first years of the collegiate pressure cooker, it would seem that all this concern toward getting into college should be directed, instead, toward the end game; what it takes to win that pot of gold and get OUT of college. That, young ones, is when the REAL challenges start…Godspeed!


August 28th, 2011
2:50 pm

@Megan Hayes-Golding
The amount of AP courses depends on the student and school. If a lot of AP courses are provided at the school it looks better to take more. However, more should only be taken if the student is able to handle it. Better to have an A in a regular class than a C or failing in AP. If you believe your child is able to do well and if he/she is okay with it I encourage more AP courses. I am a current high school senior and I am taking 4 AP classes currently and hopefully by the end of high school I will have successfully completed 8 AP courses.


August 28th, 2011
3:03 pm

My son is now a senior @ Tech – we started planning BEFORE middle school (i.e. what courses he would take in 6th grade to be on the right path). He had good grades and good test scores in HS – took 7 AP courses and they translated into 21 semester hours’ credit. That is nice but what was more important is that those courses prepared him for the more rigorous academics – and he has been able to keep HOPE.

The planning was key – (that was back in Spring of 2001) – his friends who did not plan ahead or did not apply themselves did not gain entrance to the school of their choice.

There is a moral here.


August 28th, 2011
3:05 pm

Sounds like HOPE is serving its intended purpose – keep the best, brightest GA students in GA. A natural by-product of this is that getting into the top-tier GA schools is going to be that much harder. It is not totally fair, but everyone knows the rules of the game going in. I don’t think its fair that at GT, in order to maintain HOPE, you have to average out making Dean’s List. When I was at GT, Dean’s List was 3.0. One of the reasons why a whole lot of GT kids lose HOPE early on. Other kids at other schools don’t have similar standards. But, again.. everyone knows that going in.


August 28th, 2011
3:08 pm

I’ve actually spoken out about the need to “cull” the AP offerings at Lakeside. hello.life is right — the colleges look at the numbers of APs taken versus the numbers offered — they want to see that the kid has challenged themselves and have done well with the challenging scheule. Thus the kid is penalized in an environment with 28 AP offerings — when kids can take 8-10 APs a year (full disclosure my younger 2 sons will probably be in a classification whereby they will take 8 or 9 AP classes and do well with them). If you are in a school with 28 offereings and half of them are “mediocre” (not taught based on national curriculum or with a disconnect between grades and pass rates on the AP exam) then the students may be better off with fewer offerings so that they are not “dinged” for failing to take the bad AP classes. Also, schools can “game” the “gifted” offerings by offering an AP class for the “gifted” kid — if the class is “gifted” then the class limite is 25 but as an AP class — enrollment can go up to 38 — kid is burnt with 38 and better off with 25.


August 28th, 2011
3:09 pm

I didn’t mean 8-10 per year, I meant total. At some high schools, Lakeside included, kids can take as many as 6 AP classes a year if they are highly motivated…. (valedictorian status is won by maxing out on AP classes and getting As in them because of weighting).


August 28th, 2011
3:12 pm

@Megan H-G
As also stated by hello.life just above, the right number of AP courses depends on the school and student. My child took two APs as a sophomore and five as a junior and scored 4s and 5s on all the AP exams. Taking five AP courses would likely be too much for many students, but works for some.

If the AP teachers know your child and advised that more than two AP courses at once would be too much for her, then that’s probably useful advice. However, if they were suggesting that two should be the limit for all students, I’d have to disagree.


August 28th, 2011
3:14 pm

@bootney: More than one admissions office has told me the following: If you have a successful freshman year at almost any college (including college courses at a technical school), the high school transcript no longer matters. SAT scores and high school GPA’s become irrelevant.


August 28th, 2011
3:16 pm

In my home we’ve learned a valuable lesson about admittance to the expensive flagship and upper tier universities…..wait until AFTER your freshmen/sophomore year to transfer.

Save money by starting at a smaller school that offers smaller classes and more support for freshmen classes. There are technical colleges in GA that articulate with larger the universities….including GA Tech.

If a college degree with little to no debt is your goal, this is a great alternative.

Megan Hayes-Golding

August 28th, 2011
3:32 pm


Great advice from the trenches! Thank you for your thoughtful response.

You mention an important fact that shouldn’t be lost on parents: “If a lot of AP courses are provided at the school it looks better to take more.”

Dekalb taxpayer

August 28th, 2011
3:32 pm

A poster (don’t remember who it was) implied that well-to-do kids have an advantage because they can afford SAT prep courses. All three of my decidedly middle-class children did extremely well on their SATS and not one of them took a prep course. They were surrounded by books and reading from an early age. So you might make the case that they had the advantage of educated parents, but not that they succeeded due to their parents’ ability to pay for academic “extras.”

bootney farnsworth

August 28th, 2011
3:33 pm

@ A&M

I’ve heard that too, but don’t put that much faith in it.
after one year you (the student) is still in a very competitive
and nasty pool of 4 year wannabes.

completing two years at a two year school makes a person a near lock
to get into the 4 year of their reasonable choice.

plus, it saves the parent a load of cash to boot

bootney farnsworth

August 28th, 2011
3:36 pm

I’m hihgly unimpressed with AP offerings in High Schools.
its just another form of grade inflation.

school X or district Y want to be able to toot their own horn
relating to how many kids are in AP classes – regardless of
suitablilty of the kids to be in them.

its all educational ponzi

Megan Hayes-Golding

August 28th, 2011
3:37 pm

@AJinCobb The “take 2 AP” advice was a general suggestion. Again, this is excellent advice. Thanks!

@teacher&mom I regularly advise the HS students I teach (@Clarkston in DeKalb) to transfer after the freshman or sophomore year to avoid the shock of the pressure cookers that are UGA and Tech.