AO Advice: APs and IBs: Planning Your High School Courses for College Admissions
Not sure how many APs, IBs, or honors courses to take? What if your school doesn’t offer many advanced courses? Get answers to these questions and learn how to strategically plan your high schools courses in order to standout during the college admissions process. CollegeAdvisor Admissions Expert and former Admissions Officer Rachael Moore will share her insider knowledge for college applications success during a 60-minute webinar and Q&A session.
2022-03-02 AO Advice: APs and IBs: Selecting Your High School Courses
Hi everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s AO Advice: APS and IBs: Planning Your High School Courses for Admissions. Uh, to orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation, then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting questions in the Q and a tab.
Now let’s meet our panelists.
Hi everyone. My name’s Rachel Moore. I am an AO here at CollegeAdvisor.com. I’ve been working here for almost a year, um coming up in a couple of months, but have actually been working in higher education for over 20 years now, um, before coming full time with CollegeAdvisor, um, several months ago, and really excited to be here today.
And just [00:01:00] educate you a little bit more on what the most appropriate path might be for you with college or course selection. Um, when you’re considering your competitiveness for college. All right. So moving on to our first poll of the night, what grade are you in? So we’ll go ahead and start collecting those responses at this time.
And in the meantime, Rachel, I have a question for you. Um, now you are a very talented woman. You’ve worked at many, uh, universities within the admissions office. Um, is there a particular university that you’ve worked at this far that when it comes to college culture, uh, you felt kind of stood out to you and for what reasons?
Oh my gosh. Um, they, I mean, truly there’s something about every single one of them. Um, I can’t work [00:02:00] anywhere that I don’t really believe in the mission of the place. And I’ve been so fortunate for, you know, kind of a depth and breadth of types of places that I’ve been in. Um, I’m going to give you two polar opposites and what I loved about them for two different reasons.
Um, I worked at Providence college in Rhode Island. Uh, that was where I started my career. And I’m continuously thankful for the foundation that I received there. I loved the intimate community that was there. And, um, just the, you know, to this day, you can talk to a provenance alum and really know the, and see the pride that they have and the experience they had there.
A wonderful liberal arts. Foundation their, their core curriculum, um, and just really stay S remembers their roots, always [00:03:00] where they came from, even as they evolve over time, what the needs are first for students when they graduate and then, or the real world, um, the other one Carnegie Mellon university, completely different search university.
What I would say I love so much about that place is the students they’re just owned who they are so beautifully. And, you know, they, the faculty, there were just so enthusiastic and wonderful. Be with, because I think they knew they were able to pursue work that you don’t get to do. And so many parts of the world, um, and in their field.
And the other piece to that is the interdisciplinary approach. [00:04:00] Um, you know, I, and this was like 15 years ago now, but I still use the example of you have some of the best in the world at, you know, robotics and computer science, but then you have some of the best in the world for their theater and perform forming arts programs and anything that they can do to integrate those different fields and individuals from those fields to foster creativity.
Um, it, they did. I mean, you would have. Theater majors go to the robotics lab, where they were creating these robots to work in hospitals with patients and the performers. They would study them to see how they could mirror some of their facial expressions. Um, so, you know, that’s. You know, and that’s taking [00:05:00] talents from such a broad spectrum and being able to just bring it to the greater good and such a really cool way.
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for that response, Rachel. Um, and so we have our responses that have rolled in from our first poll question, which is what grade are you in? And we have 1% from eighth grade, 11% of you from ninth grade, 42%, and then 43% from 10th and 11th, respectively. Um, 1% from 12th and 2% from other so vast majority of you tonight, 10th and 11th graders, but everyone welcome.
Um, and I’m sure all of you will get something meaningful from this session and let’s continue on. Okay.
All right. I feel like I just did a short promo for two of the colleges I worked at to see if [00:06:00] there are websites go up tonight. Yeah, no, but you did great though. All the students, you know, will now put Providence and Carnegie Mellon on their list and come work with us and we’ll give you a lot more other insight.
Another other too, by Friday, tonight, we’re going to focus on, you know, what you can control as students into really formulating. How you want to present yourself as a competitive academic applicant and the college admissions process. Um, so we’re going to touch upon the AP and IB programs and really what they are, because I think there’s a lot of pressure students feel to, you know, take AP or, you know, what’s the side B am I missing out on it?
If my school [00:07:00] doesn’t offer it, um, is that going to hurt me and the college admissions process? So, you know, hopefully by the end of this. It can clarify a lot of, from an admissions officer perspective, competitiveness of an applicant pool perspective, um, how, how we perceive that and how you can leverage that, um, is you figure out, you know, your goals and how to best prepare yourself to be a competitive applicant.
Um, For the places where you feel that you’d really thrive in your efforts to achieve those professional goals that you may have later on. Although I will say that at 16, 17 years old, I don’t necessarily want you to know what you want to do with the rest of what you want to do with the rest of your life.
Um, so, you know, well, again, that could be a coaching session at another [00:08:00] time, but the, this this’ll help give you the foundation you need as to what courses you should select in the coming months. So what our AP courses, um, put it simply, they are college level courses and exams that you can take in high school.
AP courses are, you know, more of the college level type of coursework that you can do it in the United States. This is where it’s most popular. Um, one piece that I would strongly encourage you to think about is if you are taking an AP course to ensure that you are presenting yourself as really taking this coursework seriously, and that you aren’t just putting the AP course there to, you know, make it look like you’re really competitive because you took the AP class.
It adds a whole nother level [00:09:00] of seriousness when you also intend and take the exam, that’s affiliated with the course that you’re taking. So for example, if you’re taking AP us history or AP biology, uh, we’re going to look to see, did you actually take the exam? Um, and it, you know, your admission is not going to be based on your score on the AP exam by any means.
Um, but we look to see that you did take it, um, because the hope is that you’re taking it so that you, you know, want to master that, that college level type of competitiveness and do well on the exam. Um, so it really comes down to being able to show your motivation and interest in challenging yourself.
Um, a lot of people ask, you know, should I take it to get credits in college? And I, every college is going to be different to [00:10:00] be completely candid. Um, Usually they’ll take some, you know, a couple of courses, depending on how many take, but depending on the academic program, that’s you are going to be pursuing when you’re a college student.
And, um, there are still certain majors that they’re going to want you to. Learn their way. They’re going to want you to have the foundation at that college. For example, if you want to go into pre-med, um, you may very well, even though you took AP bio or AP chem in high school and done well on that class, they may still require you to take AP.
Chemistry or biology and your freshman year, because the way that they teach in those programs, they build on each other from semester to semester. So a lot of [00:11:00] times when we coach students about whether to take the AP courses or not, I at least I’ll say in my frame of thinking, it’s more a matter of wanting to show that motivation that you are up for taking on that challenge, as opposed to using it, to gain advanced standing when you are in college.
As I said earlier, that is really unique to each college or university as to how many credits they may grant a student. Um, so I would never speak generally about that, but I think that is helpful context to have. One item I do want to mention is that because we’re going to talk about the international baccalaureate diploma program in a moment, um, which is an actual diploma program.
The AP, um, curriculum does have an option for an AP diploma. Um, [00:12:00] in order to achieve that, you have to take at least four AP exams and receive a score of three or higher. Um, and in addition, there are two additional classes, not every high school offers some do. Um, it’s not going to penalize you if they don’t.
If they, if you are going for the diploma, you have to take an AP capstone experience. Um, course that includes AP seminar and AP research, which culminates in a 4,000, so 5,000 word essay, an oral defense presentation. So, you know, again, thinking about it as they in college level coursework that AP courses provide, you know, that’s a very, you know, when you look at that AP diploma qualifications, that is a really good, you know, insight into the depth that that requires, um, [00:13:00] for achievement, as opposed to maybe a more typical say honors high school class.
So what are IB courses? Um, so I, B program is an internationally recognized diploma. Um, over 150 countries, um, may have, or do have an international baccalaureate program available in some of their schools. It is a full it where as an AP, you can take, you know, an AP course in any subject. Um, and it’s really just dependent on you and what’s available to you at your high school.
Um, for IB, you are choosing your curriculum based on the requirements for that diploma. Um, that helps to add validity [00:14:00] to, you know, no matter where you are in the world. Going to high school. If you are pursuing this diploma, we know that the standards are the same, um, no matter where you took it. So what it does is it’s much more about emphasizing skill sets, I would say, as opposed to specific content, um, like it’s more common in AP or United.
A lot of our classrooms. So by skillsets, I’m talking about, you know, really being able to think critically thinking independently, um, it is recognized internationally. And so many countries will accept this program. It has a real global citizenship type of emphasis. So it’s a very discussion-based type of curriculum.
What the [00:15:00] classes are like. So a lot of discussion, but also a lot of listening and considering unique ideas and perspectives, you know, there’s a real environment. You know, encouraging sharing and respecting those opinions and an openness to informing, using those experiences to inform your own unique point of view as well.
And it could change, you know, we hope that it does in some ways, um, as you learn more and more as time goes on, There are a lot of course offerings, um, amongst six subject groups. So like in high school where we tend to think of students having four subject or five core subject areas, which are English history, foreign language science [00:16:00] mathematics in the IB curriculum, the sixth subject groups are language and literature, language acquisition, individuals, and societies sciences mathematics, and the arts.
Um, and there are a lot of courses under each of those different, um, subjects that you can take. There is also a real experiential component to it. In addition to like the discussion based learning. It’s the, a lot of the work that you do outside of the classroom projects that you pursue clubs you’re involved in community service that you perform in your sports and co-curricular activities there.
Look, what you’re looking to do is connect the dots between what you’re learning in the classroom and how it presents itself in your co-curricular or your daily life. Another piece of it is that research is a [00:17:00] required component of the experience. Um, you are required to perform or to submit an extended, I say, which requires a lot of independent research.
Um, to be completed and just thinking about the maturity that’s required to perform, you know, at that level, the organizational skills, the time management, um, again, really being able to think in question, um, so that you’re presenting the best possible argument in that essay to really develop a unique point of view that that’s core sort of combination that they’re hoping for as a result of the experience that you’ll show through your research.
Um, and also, um, in preparation, um, or in tandem with the extended essay or performing that research is the theory of knowledge course.[00:18:00]
So, what is the difference between an AP and an IB program? Um, talked a little bit about this, um, when I was going through what each of these programs entail, but kind of the recap APS are definitely more popular than IVs in the United States. They teach specific content. So again, you know, if you’re really a history, social science type person, you know, you can choose to just take AP courses in those areas or on the other side of the spectrum, if you’re more of a science, quantitative type of thinker, um, then you can choose to take AP courses in those areas.
Um, it’s not a requirement to take all of them. They test your knowledge via their exams. So there’s much more [00:19:00] greater emphasis on meeting certain content goals, as opposed to in the IB curriculum where it’s more about connecting the dots between these different subject areas, um, and different ideas. One.
I w I don’t know if it’s an advantage or not, but one thing about the APS is you can take an exam without taking courses. So for example, there are students who may speak two or three languages who choose to take, you know, a French or a Spanish AP exam, even though they’ve not taken the, you know, full curriculum in their high school or the AP course, um, and get a five on it, which is the highest number that you can get, and that will be accepted.
So it is the, your exam performance is reviewed independently of your course work performance on your transfer. [00:20:00] And I did talk about their version of a diploma program as well, which again is much less integrated than the IB diploma program. Um, much more based on kind of what a typical American high school experiences with, you know, taking four courses performing at a three or four AP courses, taking the exam, receiving a three, four or five, um, score.
And then there’s two additional courses in research in essay as well for the IDs. Again, it’s more emphasis on depth and breadth of knowledge. Um, the writing, the critical thinking really great communicators come out of this program, um, which is such a important skill, um, for us in college and just in life as well.
Uh, so that, that’s something that, you know, is a real. You know, kind of value add for [00:21:00] students as well. Taking the IB program, experiential learning is an integral part of the experience and to receive the IB diploma, you’re required to enroll in specific like the six core subject areas in the classes within those subject areas.
You can’t, you cannot pick and choose, you know, what you would want to focus all on the humanities, sort of focus on all of the sciences. Instead. It is across all six subjects.
Okay. When should I start taking AP and IB courses? There’s not going to be a right or wrong answer to this necessarily. There’s definitely not going to be one answer to this, which I know a lot of times we want to just be able to check things off the list and say, okay, here’s my plan of action. I know what to do.
Um, there’s a lot of [00:22:00] variability based on what your goals are based on what’s available to you in your school as well. Um, some schools don’t offer anything beyond a straight curriculum. Um, and maybe it’s all at an honors level. Maybe it’s all AP, um, or maybe it’s an international baccalaureate school. Um, I think the most important thing to remember when we’re talking about what types of curriculums are out there for students is that students are reviewed within the context of what is available to you.
So, you know what I would say to simply answer, when should I start taking API B courses, once you feel ready and if your school offers them jump in, um, I would recommend, you know, not necessarily jumping [00:23:00] into a full AP curriculum and the United States, um, sophomore year, um, Just because if you haven’t tested yourself with that level of challenge, yet, you want to be sure that you’re setting yourself up for success.
If you don’t know how well you’re going to do taking five core subject areas and AP, and then you’re so stressed out all the time, trying to do well in your classes and your life balance starts to fall off. Um, you’re not having time for fun. You’re not getting the rest. You need the social time activities or hobbies that you enjoy, then something’s not quite right.
Um, yes, it’s important to be really, you know, focused on your studies, but that’s one component of it. Um, so I often say, you know, [00:24:00] once you have those courses available to you. Start taking them where you really feel you’re going to do well in them. And then each year keep adding them. Um, once you’ve proven to yourself that you can handle that level of challenge.
Now, I will say that when you’re looking at some of the most selective schools that, you know, they are going to look to see how, you know, how competitive were you able to be throughout your experience. But that doesn’t mean, you know, that you jump in and then get into deep and maybe not do as well as you normally could.
If there was a little bit more balanced, maybe a couple more honors courses and a couple of AP courses, as opposed to all AP for the IB courses, it’s a lot more straight forward because if you’re going for the IB diploma, um, that’s pretty much going to be set for you [00:25:00] as to when you would start taking those courses.
What I will say is that in the IB curriculum, Unless you’re going for the diploma there as college is not going to look at the fact that you took that IB course as an equivalent is the AP, because the IB course, the value of taking that IB curriculum, it is as a curriculum, not just a single course here and there.
All right. So we’re on to our second poll question of the night, which is where are you in the college application process? So we will go ahead and begin collecting those responses and Rachel. In the meantime, um, short promo version this time.
Uh, [00:26:00] can you tell us what was maybe your, they read they beverage edition, uh, at your undergraduate institution? Ooh, that’s a fun question. To be honest, this doesn’t speak well for my Alma mater and I loved my Alma mater, but they weren’t tradition oriented. Oh no. They had this amazing. So I went to Valparaiso university, which is a faith-based school, more of a liberal arts school.
And they had this amazing Christmas concert every year. Um, in this, I think it’s the largest chapel on our college campus, in the U S there. Oh wow. And it was there and you would have dancers and the choir’s and it was different every year, but very, just beautifully [00:27:00] artistic and spiritual. And I would say that was my favorite tradition.
Nice. Very nice. I also went to a faith-based school, so I am totally in the same bandwagon. All right, great. Thank you for sharing. All right. So the responses have come in, uh, 23% have, have not started. Uh, 64% are currently researching schools, uh, 5% working on essays and another 5% getting application materials together, and 3% saying almost done.
All right. So a wide range response, high majority are still in the beginning stages of the process. That’s great. Hopefully this will be helpful then. Yes, it is. All right. Well, we’ll continue on. Okay. Okay. So what if my high school doesn’t offer AP or IB [00:28:00] courses? How can you stand out and college admissions?
Is the prompt here. So I think I said this earlier on, and you’re probably going to see this on every slide moving forward to the end of the presentation, because I think it is so important to understand that every student is reviewed within the opportunities available to you, whether that’s honors courses, AP courses, whether they have an I B diploma program.
Yes. You will be competing against students who do have all those opportunities available, but. You are reviewed within how well you challenged yourself and made the most of your experience based on your personal circumstances. And I just feel like I can’t emphasize that enough because there is so much [00:29:00] information out there.
And you know, when you’re applying to competitive school or just applying to school as a competitive process, it’s really easy to get overwhelmed and, you know, think of all the reasons why you might not stack up. And that’s truly not a, I having worked in admissions for, you know, whether it was an officer or working in higher education.
I’ve never truly met anyone who looked at it as. Something other than looking at a student at, and the talents that you bring to the table and you’re fit to the school and why you could be a really great match. Um, so you’ll hear that again and again, but I, you know, I just think that context is really important for you to have.
Um, what I would say is how do [00:30:00] you stand out, you know, demonstrate your passion for growing and learning through other opportunities. So independently taking classes at your local community college, um, taking them virtually going into pre college or summer programs that are out there. And college advisor has tons of information out there about how you could spend your summers, whether it’s through internships or finding a place to do research or shadowing in a field that you’re interested in.
You know, pursuing a passion project or research on your own doing internships. And I feel like this is not talked about enough, but reading, um, you know, I did a short stint in corporate America working at a early career talent development program. And it always grew when I was interviewing candidates [00:31:00] for that program.
Um, it threw them for a loop when I would ask them as part of the interview. Tell me, what’s your reading? Or what has been most influential in what you’ve read. Um, but I can tell you that tells me so much about what interests you, what lights your fire, you know, how you think. Cause we can talk about, you know, that book or that journal or that article that you read, um, it shows your passion to learn and to think outside of maybe the environment that you have in school.
Okay. What’s the difference between honors courses and AP or IB courses? Honors courses basically are taken at a higher level of depth. Uh, the requirements for [00:32:00] completion, um, are going to be a little bit higher than your standard curriculum for the AP IB courses. Those are considered college level work.
So an even greater depth of detail within the subjects, the requirements for your assignments that you’re graded on are going to be heavier as well. You know, maybe more papers, different type of testing. Um, it’s going to be more intensive.
Um, and again, we’re looking to see that you challenged yourself. It not only within the context of what’s available to you. Um, but what the highest level of challenge is appropriate for you specifically. So for example, if your school honor offers, you know, APS in the sciences and you’ve [00:33:00] done really well in your math classes and your, you know, science classes, then I’m going to want to see, did you take honors courses?
When were you able to take the AP courses? You know, and did you want to fact take those? And if you took the AP course, did you take the test as well? Um, so that would be appropriate for you to take the AP courses in those areas. On the flip side, if you are a total humanity, social sciences type of person, you do taking the math classes does not come nearly as easily to you.
You know, you’re doing your best, but you know, the AP level is going to push you over the top. And maybe it’s going to take away from how you’re able to perform a focus in some of your other classes, because you’re working so hard to keep up in that one math [00:34:00] class. I’m not expecting to see an AP course for you in that instance in math or in science, if that’s not what lights your fire or where you’re really doing so well.
And the goal is to set you up for success. So that balance is really important.
Okay. So thanks to consider when thinking about the quantity of APS or Ivies one should take, um, I think a really helpful exercise would be to think about your high school transcript over the course of four years. And while you may not know for sure what’s going to be available, or if you’re going to be eligible to take certain courses, really take some time to think about.
Y you might want to be studying or the type of career you’re looking for. And again, 16, 17. I [00:35:00] don’t expect you to know that for sure. I’m 44 and I still don’t necessarily know that for sure. Um, it evolves, but you do at this point, have an idea of what some of your strengths are. Um, and so what we’re looking to see is, again, that level of challenge, where does it make sense for you to take honors or APS where.
You know, it’s, it fits with the type of career that you’re looking for and where your strengths are as well. Now that doesn’t mean just because you don’t want to take history because it doesn’t excite you as much, but she could do really well on it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the AP history course.
You know? So it’s about the balance. It’s more about how well you feel you could do within that competitive curriculum. But if you can do well in that competitive curriculum, still gonna want to see it. Um, if it’s available to you. [00:36:00] Thinking too about, I mentioned earlier sophomore year, maybe it’s you take a couple of, you know, maybe it’s a couple honors courses and an AP course, then sophomore year, maybe it’s two to three AP courses and two honors courses.
And then maybe senior year, it is going to be five AP courses. That’s not the case for anyone by any means. But what I’m trying to demonstrate is that’s progression and the level of challenge from year to year, um, continuing to, you know, build off how well you did the year before demonstrating that you can handle that competitive curriculum and keep being motivated to keep challenging yourself each year.
Again, school, life balance. It’s really important to understand that, yes, your academics are critically important part of your application, but it is not the only part of the [00:37:00] application. So when, you know, if all you’re doing is studying all of the time to do well in your classes, something’s not quite right.
Um, because in order for you to do your best, you have to be able to have fun. You have to be able to pursue other interests outside of the academics in the classroom as well. And some students have to work or support family members. Um, while you know, other members of the family are working, you know, those are all things that have to be considered.
When you think about the level of challenge that you’re going to take as well, so that you can balance your working life appropriately. Again, um, are there experiences that maybe aren’t offered in your high school, um, that you want to explore, take, you know, you could make up for the fact that if you’re really [00:38:00] motivated to, if there aren’t APS in your high school, um, take a look at the local community college or, you know, any local school and see what classes they have to offer.
It’s more about being willing to put yourself out there and challenge yourself, um, as opposed to just what’s available with anger.
To that end. Um, whether the, what other course types as you consider, um, some high schools, do you have dual enrollment or college courses, um, as part of their curriculum, whether it’s that they don’t have the APS or it’s an addition to APS. Some really large high schools in particular might have everything under the sun and, you know, a dual enrollment program at a local college.
Every school is different. [00:39:00] Some have just one curriculum. Everyone takes the same thing and that’s fine too. Um, sometimes those students who feel they need to be stretched a little bit further, might also look at summer programs that, that are available from everything, from writing to the performing arts, to the sciences, to the medical field.
Anything you can imagine, um, there are programs out there I’m going to do, um, a shameless pitch for college advisor has a lot of resources for you to take a look at that as well, to see what might be available, um, that you hadn’t thought of before. Uh, think about taking courses that your high school doesn’t offer as something that you’re really intrigued about.
Um, There’s always certificate programs out there. You know, maybe it’s coding. Maybe you want to get your EMT certification. Some students who, especially if they’re interested in the [00:40:00] medical fields or public service, might be interested in going that route as well. It’s really, you know, up to you as to what you think you might be interested in.
Take some time to think about that and then look to see what opportunities are out there for yourself.
Okay. Final tips and best practices when planning your AP or IB curriculum, as I’ve said, I hope it’s been pretty clear throughout this balance is key. Um, you ha yes. You want to challenge yourself and so how motivated you are. Okay. Thrive in a curriculum that you’re continuously learning, but not to the point that you’re overextending yourself, where then you’re not necessarily taking everything in that you’re learning as well either.
Um, balance is so important. [00:41:00] Taking the level of challenge that’s appropriate for you. College admissions, there is no one size fits. All. Students are reviewed on an individual basis. Something that we do when we’re selecting candidates is for shaping a class. And what that means is we’re, we’re really looking to see here’s who we are as, as college here’s, what’s important to us.
These are the types of programs and opportunities or culture that we have where, you know, they make us who we are. We know the types of students who are really going to add to that culture here or that community, and be able to really benefit from we have the offer. That’s what we’re looking at. We’re looking for that match between students who are really going to thrive and be a good fit there and help the, that college to continue [00:42:00] to be the place that they’re proud of being too.
So, like I said, there’s never one magic formula. Um, each student is really reviewed on that individual basis. We’re looking at the entirety of your academic experience, not just one subject, not just one class here. I am going to take a note. I might actually say this again later in the presentation, but you know, a lot of students think that junior year is that most important year for you.
And then you could take it easier in the senior year. I can tell you that is a myth. Um, we’re truly looking for progression over the course of four years.
Okay. All right. So at this time we have now made it to the live Q [00:43:00] and a session. This is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful. And remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab. Now moving onto this live Q and a I’ll read through the questions you submitted in the Q and a tab, paste them into the public chat.
So you can see and then read them aloud so that our panelists can provide you an answer, uh, as a heads up, if your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, just double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page. So let’s go ahead.
Started. All right. The first question of the night, Rachel, um, is there a way to know what I be score would be good to remain competitive at schools that you want to go to? So they’re looking for their scale is honest gala one. I think it’s one to seven. The highest is seven and the competitive scores are in the five to [00:44:00] seven range.
Okay. Um, all right. If you’re on an I, if you’re in an IB program, does it make sense to take AP courses, especially if they are not offered. I don’t think it truly, I’m just going to give you Rachel’s opinion here. They are so different. Um, and that I be correct. Like, so that’s a diploma program. Just like if you’re taking AP courses, that’s a specific program to achieve a high school diploma, but they’re so different.
Um, I would say immerse yourself in whichever experience you are pursuing. So if your IB go full on IB, if you’re what most students probably on this call are, you [00:45:00] know, AP honors go full on, um, in a way that makes sense to you in that avenue. All right. Um, now are there any scholarships. For taking AP classes.
I don’t know that there are an, I’ll be the first to tell you that scholarship financial aid, while I can always point you in directions to find more, it’s not my best area of expertise, but I don’t believe there are a lot of scholarships just based on a specific AP course. That being said, if there’s an area that you’re really interested in.
So for example, I met with a student tonight, who’s a woman in stem. You know, there are a lot of scholarships to apply to for students who fit that category. And there are [00:46:00] just as many for writers or nears for performers. Anything you can imagine, um, they’re out there. So I wouldn’t think about it so much.
The AP courses. I think about it more as how you prepared yourself and challenge yourself in those areas that you’re interested in pursuing. All right. Um, now what if my school doesn’t offer AP courses? Like, can I enroll outside and with which institutions I would argue that it really doesn’t matter what institution you would, you know, go and take extra coursework at the fact that you’re challenging yourself from an accredit.
I would just say that it be an accredited program, um, would be the one key piece, but again, you know, some schools don’t offer them and that’s [00:47:00] okay. Um, you’re going to be reviewed with the context of what, how they do offer their curriculum. Absolutely though. Um, you know, even you don’t have to take a specific class to take the exam.
I would just say though, familiarize yourself with the exam to make sure that you’re knowledgeable enough, um, to take that exam. And maybe it is through taking a course in that subject area to what will school or virtually. Now there are so many options as well. All right. Um, now, which would help more with acceptance into a selective college AP versus dual enrollment in a private university with associate degree?
Huh? Trying to make sure I understand that. So I wonder if, is the question like a community [00:48:00] call, like a junior college.
Yeah. Argue, like it’s not about the college where you took the extra coursework at again, as long as it’s an accredited program. Um, and you can find that very easily, um, on the college’s website, but it’s in terms of, you know, just taking another course so that you can take an AP exam. It’s not going to matter where you took that course.
It’s about learning the content. Okay. Now I will say, cause I’m, there’s so many ways you can take this question that if you are looking for, you know, a really competitive, you know, highly selective school, we are going to look to see, you [00:49:00] know, how. Where’s that thirst for knowledge. How are you demonstrating that?
Like, did you pursue maybe some summer programs, you know, whether it was at a local college or, you know, something closer to home, I wouldn’t worry so much about the name of where you took that summer program, although certainly go for it. Um, it’s more about the depth of the experience. You know, you could do research with a local professor and you know, that recommendation and what you’ve learned from that professor is going to be so impactful.
You know, if, if you have grown from that experience and it has helped us shape where you want to take that moving forward, that becomes part of your story. And the more you can define that in your application, That’s what’s going to stand out so much more than just the [00:50:00] name of where you took a summer course.
All right. Um, now how many APS would be, what is the magic number of APS, Rachael for a highly selective college? You know, maybe something like an Ivy league or MIT or Stanford or something like that. What would you say is the magic number? Is there a magic number? I know I get asked that
and you know what I almost, and I should have put it on a sticky note on my computer because Princeton’s website says it’s so wow. Like is the, and by all means go to Princeton’s admissions page where they talk about curriculum. It’s there’s not, I mean, I would say if your school has an abundance of honors and APS [00:51:00] to be competitive at those really selective schools, you’ve got to take predominantly honors and AP.
Um, so you do have to wait again, though, if it doesn’t. And you’ve taken say you only offer like three, eight PS and five honors courses and you’ve taken all of them or you’ve taken three APS and four honors courses, whatever that may look like, you know, you’ve taken the highest level of challenge, you know, that’s what they’re looking for now.
A follow-up question. I mean, you can you get into a highly selective college without any AP? Yes. Again, students are going to be reviewed within what’s available. That being said, it’s not just about how many APS you’ve taken. It’s also about who you [00:52:00] are. The. You know, who you present yourself, how you present yourself in your application, what are your goals?
Why do you want to go to that school? Um, that’s a huge part of it. That’s a whole hundred other types of presentation topics that we can explore and that you can find on our website, um, the Hitman covered, but you know, it, when it comes down to making a decision, it’s not going to be, this took, the student, took seven APS and this one took six.
It’s going to be because once that admissions committee knows that you can do the work and that you have that thirst for challenge and are highly motivated and your talent is evident. It’s much more about. You’re fit to that school. Um, you know, that’s, [00:53:00] that’s the challenge of those really selective Atmos or, you know, colleges that there’s never going to be one single factor that you can pinpoint.
That’s gonna make a group of students get in versus not all right. Well, at this time, um, for those in the room who aren’t already working with this, we know that the college admissions process is overwhelming for parents and students alike our team of over 300 more admissions officers and admissions experts are ready to help you and your family navigate at all in one-on-one advising session.
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Don’t forget to also register for our free web [email protected] advisor.com where students and their families can explore webinars, keep track of application deadlines, research schools, and so much more. All right on our website. Now back to the Q and a, um, the next question for you, Rachel, is, um, can the score you receive on an AP exam negatively impact your acceptance at a school?
So it’s not going to factor into your acceptance. That’s a really broad question. I know what you’re asking. Don’t want to get tripped up on it.
Here’s what I, I’m going to talk about it more from the perspective of can, will it factor into whether you can earn college credit or not? [00:55:00] Um, because a lot of colleges don’t take fours and fives. You can get anywhere from a one to a five, um, they’ll take fours and fives, or some will take three fours and fives to get credit for a class.
Um, I will say that, you know, a lot of, they don’t even require some schools like that. You submit the tests and their scores. So it’s gonna be, I can’t say that your AP score is going to be what. Makes the decision by any means, we’re looking to see that you took the test so that we, you know, it sort of validate your desire to really master that college level content to really challenge yourself at that level.
So we hope that the score would present that, but [00:56:00] I can’t sit here and say that most colleges are going to say, oh, that, no, one’s going to say that class doesn’t count because they didn’t do really well on the exam because it’s also variable. Okay. Um, now let’s see if you don’t take AP classes in high school, will you be prepared for college?
Yes. Okay. Yes, it is, like I said, this is about building your foundation. It’s about challenging yourself with the environments that you are a part of it’s one component. Um, yes, you, there are so many wonderful options that are out there and there is no there’s no one size fits all answer to any of these questions.[00:57:00]
all right. Well, I have a, I feel like it’s, this question is pretty solid. Um, is it better to have a higher grade in a standard class or a lower grade in an honors or AP? And you know what my answer’s going to be and say, you do your best in that class. They get the higher grade and the higher class.
I mean, truly if it’s a matter of, you know, how do you know how well you’re going to do in that higher class? Unless, till you try, here’s what I’m going to tell you. It, if I know that you could have taken that higher class and you didn’t for no other reason, then you knew you’d get the a and the regular class that’s going to negatively impact you.[00:58:00]
Because my question is, why did you not challenge yourself? Right? Because in a competitive class, that is, you know, you are competing against many who did challenge themselves. Okay now, uh, I think this is the last question of the night and I think this is a good one. I think this kind of goes back to the very first question, but it’s more clearly stated.
Um, so I think it will, I think it will, um, require a different answer. Is it more appealing to highly selective colleges? If I self study for APS as my school does not offer them or get an associates degree from my local community college during high school,
I’m thinking that’s my pause. [00:59:00] I was just trying to make sure that I understood the question. Um,
I can’t say that there’s a, yeah. Or a no again, because circumstances are also unique. Um, you know, even from what can students afford to do, you know, some could afford to take those courses. Others can not, you know, so there are so many variables. Um, the, you just don’t know until you read the full application.
I would say, I can’t say like, oh, because the student went and got their associates that they’re more qualified than the one who went and figured out how to do it. You know, how to prepare for that test and scored just as well on the APS. Right. Um, yeah. I know everyone’s probably [01:00:00] like going nuts saying there’s nothing concrete, but I can promise you there’s nothing concrete.
Um, both circumstances are incredibly, highly motivated students that I would love to get to know better and see, you know, offer an opportunity to if they were the right fit. So, you know, I can’t, I can’t say one’s better than the other because at the end of the day, if, what if we were looking at how the students did on the exam and they both did great.
There’s a lot of motivation that was demonstrated for both. All right. Well, that concludes our questions, uh, for this evening. Um, at this time I would like to go ahead and thank you. Thank everyone for coming out tonight and thank you to our highly engaging panelists, Rachel [01:01:00] Moore. Um, so continuing on, uh, as you look at your screen, you will see, um, the rest of our March series.
Uh, so please be sure to go ahead and mark these dates in your calendar. We look forward to seeing you in future sessions. Uh, we had a really great time telling you about planning your high school courses for admissions. Um, we definitely look forward to seeing you the next time around. Have a good evening, everyone.