Jump to content

Menu

How do you decide how many and which courses to AP?


Recommended Posts

My DD is starting 9th grade this year. In planning for her high school years, I've been reading books on college admissions, and while taking AP courses (and doing well on the tests) is obviously advantageous in the admissions process, I've read that taking more than about 5 doesn't necessarily boost an applicant's admissions chances. Of course, that's for traditional applicants with traditional transcripts and grades, so who knows what the "magic number" is for homeschoolers? One of the biggest reasons I want to utilize AP courses/tests is because they're one of the few objective measures homeschoolers have to prove their academic chops, especially with more and more colleges deciding not to consider SAT/ACT scores. 

So I guess these are my questions for homeschoolers aiming for selective universities:

1) How many AP courses should we aim for overall?

2) How do we choose which courses to AP? She is interested in studying marine biology, so we'll definitely focus on AP science courses. Apart from that, part of me feels like, if our state requires a year of geography, then we might as well just do AP Human Geography, right? What would be the argument against that? 

I really appreciate all you veteran homeschoolers who have been down this road and are willing to share your wisdom!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing to keep in mind is that not all APs have "equal" weight in terms of the academics they represent.  Human geography is considered the weakest AP course and not worth much in terms of demonstrating academic rigor.  (It is a very common AP for 9th graders.) 

FWIW, I don't think most universities are going test optional for homeschoolers.  Typically, you'll see that homeschoolers are stilyl required to submit test scores (ignoring covid complications).  CA doesn't represent most states or most selective Us.  I would expect standardized testing to be part of the application unless things drastically change over the next few yrs.

I am not sure my perspective is helpful, but I don't design my kids' courses around college admissions.  I design their courses around them and then select colleges based on how the colleges fit my kids.  If they are naturally inclined toward high achieving academics, then as they progress the high school sequence, advanced coursework is natural choices.  If they have exemplary ECs to combine with the high achieving academics, then competitive schools would be worth pursuing if we could afford them.  (We can't, so we pursue competitive scholarships instead.)

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My older son did 11 DE courses rather than AP.  The younger one did 8 AP courses at the public high school and one DE course.  I don't know if that was just enough or too much, but it got the job done.

We chose the courses based on interest, what would move their learning forward, our homeschool graduation requirements, and in the case of the younger one, who the teacher was.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will give you two answers.

1. In my capacity as a homeschool mom: none of my kids did any APs. I prefer for my kids to take dual enrollment college courses where the grade and credit is earned through cumulative performance over the course of the semester and does not rest on one single high-stakes exam. DD graduated homeschool highschool with 32 college credits. She ended up going to a college with an 8% acceptance rate.
I also prefer the freedom to structure our coursework so that it does not have to be confined by the narrow focus of what is on a standardized test.

2. In my professional capacity as academic advisor, I often make recommendations to prospective students for suitable choices of AP exams. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Does the student have a rough idea what college they want to attend? If so, what are the APs that give the best return in terms of credits at that school? At my college, a 5 on AP Chem gets my students out of 9 credit hours and thus is by far the most valuable AP.
  • Does the AP exam give credit for a prerequisite course so they can start coursework on their major earlier? For my physics majors, AP Calculus is beneficial because if they have calc 1, they can begin taking physics courses right away.
  • Do the APs get required gen ed courses out of the way? We have a state requirement of a US government or history course. Great to get that out of the way.
  • Do two APs give only credit for the same course? At my institution, AP Lang and AP Lit give credit for the same class. So I wouldn't do both and rather construct my own lit class.
  • Does the AP exam contribute to credit for the major? Except for biologists, no STEM majors get credit for AP Physics 1/2. Still a good course to take as foundation, but not with the intent of transferring. 
  • Is AP the only way for the student to take rigorous coursework? What provider choices do you have? Does DE offer learning experiences the AP class wouldn't? Would DE be more rigorous/enjoyable?
  • Does the student test well?
Edited by regentrude
  • Like 14
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My oldest (just graduated) did 7 AP classes/exams. I think @regentrude’s questions to think about are excellent.

For us, I liked the DE option but my son is young so couldn’t have driven himself to DE classes until senior year. With two other kids and a work schedule, that made AP classes at home better for us. Also, we didn’t like being tied to the Community College schedule, we travel a lot during the school year and it seemed to take away the flexible lifestyle we liked. My son is a very good test taker, which we had seen with other exams, so we figured it would be a good option for him. 

I wanted him to have some handful of AP scores to have an outside source that showed his academic abilities but I didn’t want to limit ourselves or “teach to the test”. I sat down with him every year and we talked about the options for classes. Two of his classes were not official AP classes but were ones where he took the test after either taking a co-op class or self-studying (Chemistry and Calculus). He really wanted to do the AP Calc exam as a probably Math major as he knew it would put him into higher levels of Math in college. We elected not to do AP for English or History as we wanted to explore interests rather than have to follow a set curriculum

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all so, so much. This is all super helpful. We are definitely considering some DE classes along the way as well. I like that the grade/credit depends on more than a single test, and that it shows the student can function in a classroom environment. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

34 minutes ago, regentrude said:

I will give you two answers.

1. In my capacity as a homeschool mom: none of my kids did any APs. I prefer for my kids to take dual enrollment college courses where the grade and credit is earned through cumulative performance over the course of the semester and does not rest on one single high-stakes exam. DD graduated homeschool highschool with 32 college credits. She ended up going to a college with an 8% acceptance rate.
I also prefer the freedom to structure our coursework so that it does not have to be confined by the narrow focus of what is on a standardized test.

2. In my professional capacity as academic advisor, I often make recommendations to prospective students for suitable choices of AP exams. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Does the student have a rough idea what college they want to attend? If so, what are the APs that give the best return in terms of credits at that school? At my college, a 5 on AP Chem gets my students out of 9 credit hours and thus is by far the most valuable AP.
  • Does the AP exam give credit for a prerequisite course so they can start coursework on their major earlier? For my physics majors, AP Calculus is beneficial because if they have calc 1, they can begin taking physics courses right away.
  • Do the APs get required gen ed courses out of the way? We have a state requirement of a US government or history course. Great to get that out of the way.
  • Do two APs give only credit for the same course? At my institution, AP Lang and AP Lit give credit for the same class. So I wouldn't do both and rather construct my own lit class.
  • Does the AP exam contribute to credit for the major? Except for biologists, no STEM majors get credit for AP Physics 1/2. Still a good course to take as foundation, but not with the intent of transferring. 
  • Is AP the only way for the student to take rigorous coursework? What provider choices do you have? Does DE offer learning experiences the AP class wouldn't? Would DE be more rigorous/enjoyable?
  • Does the student test well?

Wow. Thank you for this insight. Lots of helpful questions to think about. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, 8filltheheart said:

FWIW, I don't think most universities are going test optional for homeschoolers.  Typically, you'll see that homeschoolers are stilyl required to submit test scores (ignoring covid complications).  CA doesn't represent most states or most selective Us.  I would expect standardized testing to be part of the application unless things drastically change over the next few yrs.

I was surprised to see this trend include homeschoolers, but actually, yes. The majority of schools are test optional for homeschoolers right now. And the vast majority of universities that are keeping their test optional policies include homeschoolers in them. I know this is really hard for people to accept as true. But it really is. There are schools that are test optional where homeschoolers are still required to submit scores, but of test optional schools, those are the exception, and not the rule. Now, a few years down the line, once practices around Covid are set, will schools go back? Some definitely will or already have, like Georgia publics. But there are a ton of test optional options and I would say it is likely to still be the majority of schools, even if it's a slimmer majority.

Of course, submitting tests may still be strongly in a student's best interest. Homeschoolers with zero outside verification are typically at a disadvantage and taking a single SAT/ACT test is one of the most straightforward and simple ways to get that type of verification.

ETA: I'll just use my own kid's list as an example since my rising senior is going test optional. Of the dozens of schools we looked at of all sorts - big, small, public, private, more and less selective... we needed to remove three from the potentials for requiring test scores of homeschoolers. One is requiring test scores from everyone. Now that he has his chosen list - about ten schools right now - they are all fine. Of those, all but one will still be test optional, including for homeschoolers, in five years unless current policies change.

 

Edited by Farrar
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are big fans of AP classes.  My kids love 'em, and the exams at the end aren't a big deal if you've been studying all year and keeping up with the work.  

However.  

Even before the pandemic, depending on your location, it may or may not have been easy to find a place to take the test.  Enrolling in an online class typically does not provide your student with a seat in a testing location. 

Now with the pandemic, high schools (which is where homeschoolers typically take their AP exams) have even more reason to exclude students who are not full time enrolled there.  

IMO your first step in your decision tree of AP versus something else is to determine if you can identify a location where your student can test: check local private and public middle and high schools or after schooling centers or Chinese schools.  You should do this early in the school year, like September.  If you can not guarantee a seat for your student in May, then I recommend looking at alternative ways to show mastery of the material.    

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like Regentrude's questions a lot and I'll chip in with a couple of other thoughts.

Ask yourself if it's a worthy course apart from being AP. If you're outsourcing, some providers lean toward AP courses because it brings in students, but sometimes those are just the best quality courses. Many providers that do AP Lang and Lit - those are just their best, top courses in general. And for a course like calculus, why would you not seek to get college credit when a student will need it?

Think through AP vs. DE - there's not a single correct answer if you're considering both. I'd just say that if you're outsourcing, some humanities and social science AP classes will likely just be more satisfying if you have a provider with great discussion and materials. Or could just be made more in depth and rigorous at home by adding additional materials to your syllabus. Sometimes the problem sets, support, or pacing in an AP math or science class will work much better for a high school student. But sometimes the expediency, community, professors, or other elements of a DE course would be better.

You can choose different avenues for different subjects. You can do DE for some things, AP for others, neither for others.

You can use AP to check boxes so a student won't have to deal with them later and then use other, home-designed courses for a student's real interest. Or you can go the other way and use AP courses for a student's interest in addition to some extra home-designed or unique courses.

Remember that AP courses in and of themselves can be used to show rigor of curriculum, even if your student doesn't take the AP exams. Admissions likes them even without the exam. That can be a reason to do an AP course even if the credit that it might give a student later won't matter or be useful for their major. A student taking AP physics planning on a university that doesn't give credit for AP Physics 1&2 for physics majors can still use the fact that they took AP physics to look good to admissions. A student who takes both AP Lit and Lang who can't get credit for both can still look good to admissions for having taken both and have a better shot at getting in - if the school is really selective.

I really agree that you don't have to do AP (or DE!) at all. There are a lot of ways to approach it.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had no intention of going the AP route yet ended up with dd taking 8 exams (I facilitated the courses save for Stats). Dd chose AP after taking a few CLEP exams and not feeling satisfied with the rigor/content, so she went through the same classes again (much faster) and took AP exams. Once she realized how much she enjoyed the work load/content at the AP level she decided for herself which courses she wanted to tackle. For that particular dc it was the right course of action as her plans post-high school were achieved in great part by her academic record. Even had she not gotten into the school she wanted, she had no regrets with AP level work save for that there were more classes she wanted to take but not enough time. For dd, the APs were done from sheer love of learning and wanting the higher challenge. She didn't set a number or have any goal save for jumping full force into each class and doing her best. I personally love the AP rigor and challenge now (I balked at first when dd asked if she could take her first class/exam).

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For us, there have been a couple of different things to consider.  First, what level of class is appropriate for the student?  The level of content in AP Chem seemed right for my student, so we decided to try it and take the test if we felt prepared.  Also, what would you need to do to prepare for an AP?  For Chem, the AP exam didn't change the content of the class.  However, we may not do AP for some of the social science classes because the content on the test may not be the content that we want to learn about.  My kid with an interest in martial arts may focus on Asian history, for instance, which is a valid class but not what is on the test.  The other thing that we consider is what benefit are we looking for?  A few more points in a competitive process?  Not needing to take certain courses?  For instance, a non-language-loving kid going into STEM might benefit from APing out of a foreign language requirement.  That same STEM  major may benefit from skipping prereqs for upper level classes, or they may find that the college intro class covers far more material than AP and they may miss something that will help later (my roommate APd out of a class that I took in college, but had never seen some of what we learned).  Based on our experiences, we would be more likely to encourage a biochem major to AP out of the physics requirement but go ahead and take the college bio class even if they could exempt part of it through AP, unless they could skip it completely (not just 1 semester of a 2-semester sequence).  But, that advice would vary depending on the school, the field and how the pre-reqs fit with the upper level courses.  The calculus series, or the way that physics is divided, seems a better fit for skipping the first part of a series than some other other classes because the content seems to better align with how the college classes are divided into semesters.  

My older doesn't mind taking tests, so we've settled on planning what we want to do and then seeing if the courses that we're intending to do fit with any AP tests, and then seeing if there is any benefit to taking those tests based on the kid's potential majors. We may do some DE, but again it depends on what the goals are.  One of my kids is likely to choose whatever will get them to their career goals the quickest.  The other, who loves learning for the sake of learning, is dubious about jumping into DE classes if they will be..limiting?  I'm not sure how to phrase it, but they want to be able to either move through content quickly if it's easy, or dig into something more interesting, for as long as they can before they have to take more regimented classes.  

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's funny; I was just googling "how many AP classes should I take" today--just out of curiosity as to what kinds of answers people give, particularly after seeing that the middle 50% range of AP/DE/IB classes taken by incoming first year's at our state flagship is 7-12. But I guess my own answer is pretty much....it depends. On what kinds of colleges your kid will be applying to, what their goals and plans and interests are, how much DE you're planning, etc. etc. etc. So far my kids have/are targeting schools that meet demonstrated need, which means they're looking at schools that are very selective. So my oldest took 5 APs but also took 11 (I think) DE courses at a university. We knew he'd largely be competing against kids who had high test scores and had taken very rigorous high school schedules. And, for him, academics were definitely the strongest and most stand-out part of his application; he had solid enough but unremarkable extracurriculars, but a very strong transcript and test scores. We weren't worried about what would get him college credit nearly as much as what would make him a strong candidate at the schools he was targeting. Most of those schools had limits on how much credit they would give for work done before college. 

My current senior doesn't have nearly as much DE; he'll graduate with 3 DE classes and 8 APs. There are a few reasons for that: covid was part of it; the original plan was that he'd take more DE last year than he ended up with. He's also applying as a music performance major and needs both a lot of time to practice and will need to travel to auditions, so APs leave his schedule a lot more flexible than DE. His auditions will be the most important part of college admissions for him, but he's still looking at some very selective schools. I actually have no idea if he "needs" so many APs given the music school thing, but there's always a chance he'll change his mind late in the game and want to go the selective LAC route like his brother.

Other thoughts: like @daijobu, I actually like doing AP classes (I think I'm a bit of an outlier on this board in that we do all of them ourselves; I've never outsourced an AP class; I handle humanities, and my husband is, conveniently, an AP calc teacher. My senior did do a self paced online physics course last year that I had very little to do with, but they've never done one with a live teacher). I certainly have my issues with the college board, but I've found AP courses to be pretty solid overall and to give me a useful framework as an instructor. Along with the schedule flexibility, I've done more AP and less DE with my current senior because he's more interested in the things I feel comfortable teaching (my oldest took physics and math past calc DE--not stuff we could have done as well at home). 

Oh, and just to add to the data, of the schools my current senior is applying to 3 are still requiring test scores for all applicants as far as I can tell, two are test optional for all applicants including homeschoolers, and one is test optional for most but still requires them for homeschoolers. He was planning to submit test scores anyway, so it shouldn't affect him. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

50 minutes ago, 8filltheheart said:

I think whether or not test scores are required should be investigated by individual school vs any assumptions one way or the other.  FWIW, test scores are often directly connected to automatic scholarships/scholarship consideration at many public Us.

In this last wave of test optional admissions though, a lot more schools than not made merit aid and scholarships also test optional. I was actually surprised by how many changed gears with how they gave out money.

I totally agree that you really have to investigate each school. But that's why the whole "schools aren't usually test optional for homeschoolers" line simply is not a good base assumption to make anymore. Now, whether that will include the specific schools a student wants to go to or the publics in their state... that's going to depend. But the whole landscape is pretty irrevocably changed in general. It's more complex now - which is definitely why you have to look at each school individually.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interest driven. 
No point of piling up APs if they aren’t interested in them.

Also not all AP courses are rigorous. While math and science APs can be tough, some are ridiculously on the light side. My DS is taking AP Human Geo at PS and he could probably learn that material in under 2 months. It’s a stupid idea to spend a year on that class if you ask me, but that’s all his school offers to 9th graders. There are many others like that - easy introductory semester long college courses that are painfully stretched over a year.

Having said that if you want to sample bunch of different areas of study and have a standardized grade, APs could be great for that.

I think how many APs you decide to do should be the result of the larger context. At least that is the story I am telling myself and the advice I am giving my kid, who will have some APs,  but not in the double digits as some PS kids we know. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Farrar said:

I was surprised to see this trend include homeschoolers, but actually, yes. The majority of schools are test optional for homeschoolers right now. And the vast majority of universities that are keeping their test optional policies include homeschoolers in them. I know this is really hard for people to accept as true. But it really is. There are schools that are test optional where homeschoolers are still required to submit scores, but of test optional schools, those are the exception, and not the rule. Now, a few years down the line, once practices around Covid are set, will schools go back? Some definitely will or already have, like Georgia publics. But there are a ton of test optional options and I would say it is likely to still be the majority of schools, even if it's a slimmer majority.

Of course, submitting tests may still be strongly in a student's best interest. Homeschoolers with zero outside verification are typically at a disadvantage and taking a single SAT/ACT test is one of the most straightforward and simple ways to get that type of verification.

ETA: I'll just use my own kid's list as an example since my rising senior is going test optional. Of the dozens of schools we looked at of all sorts - big, small, public, private, more and less selective... we needed to remove three from the potentials for requiring test scores of homeschoolers. One is requiring test scores from everyone. Now that he has his chosen list - about ten schools right now - they are all fine. Of those, all but one will still be test optional, including for homeschoolers, in five years unless current policies change.

 

Interesting. Just last year everywhere that my son applied was test optional, but  required SAT scores for homeschoolers. I wonder if we just had a different list (pretty much all small private schools) or if it just took a year for policies to catch up. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Copy-pasting below some excerpts from a past post on AP tests. (This is from a thread that is linked on PAGE 2 of the big pinned thread "Homeschool High School Motherlode #1", at the top of the High School Board. While Covid has meant changes in details in testing policies, so that some of the info in some of the threads is now outdated, many of the threads still have valuable information.)

AP TESTS
cost
 = $96/test (for 2022) -- some schools may add on a facility fee (note: AP financial aid available for low income families)
length = varies on the subject (1.5 to 3 hours, approx.)
when given = two weeks in May; not every test is given at every location each year
when to take it = 10th & 12th grades are typical, but earlier if the student is ready and would do well with AP testing (NOTE: scores from 12th grade will NOT assist with college admissions, as the student will have already applied/been accepted long before the May-testing date at the end of 12th grade)
where given = at some local high schools 
purposes =
* shows advanced & college level of work while still a high school student
* validation of grades and higher level of work on homeschool transcript

pros =
* helps with admission to top tier & competitive schools
* can earn college credit
* can allow college freshmen into honors programs

cons =
* tests only scheduled once a year
* tests can not be re-taken
* not a good option for students who don't test well
* often very difficult to find a test location -- must find/secure a location 9-12 months in advance of the test

miscellaneous info =
- you do Not need to take an official AP class in order to take the AP test
- you MAY self-study with your choice of materials and sign up to test
- if wanting to list a class (or self-study) as an "AP" course on the transcript, you MUST have you course material and syllabus first approved by College Board's AP division

- without approval, you may NOT list "AP" in the course name, but you could list the course, followed by a comma and the phrase "with AP exam"

____________________________

As a side note: for those with new 9th graders, you may want to browse the threads linked in the pinned "Motherlode" threads the top of the High School and College boards. Below are the topics covered in those pinned threads. Happy researching! Warmest regards, Lori D.

HIGH SCHOOL MOTHERLODE #1:

page 1 topics:
High School Time Table (what to do/when for each year of high school)
Teaching Executive Function Skills
Preparing for High School
Addressing Fears
Getting Started
Books & Resources
Making a High School Plan
Time Management
High School on a Budget
Expectations/Attitudes
Accreditation / Cover Schools

page 2 topics:
tests -- info and comparisons on:
- PSAT  (National Merit Scholarship qualifying test)
- ACT / SAT  (frequent college entrance requirement)
- SAT Subject  (also called SAT II) -- NOTE: College Board discontinued offering the SAT Subject tests as of Jan. 2021
- AP  (Advanced Placement courses & tests)
- CLEP  (college credit by exam)
- GED  (high school diploma equivalency test)
- ASVAB  (military entrance exam)
- Compass/Accuplacer  (college placement test)
- IB (International Baccalaureatte program / diploma), and comparison with AP

========================

High School Motherlode #2 --  pinned thread at top of high school board
page 1 topics
- transcripts / credits / grading & GPA
- honors designation
- record keeping / course description / letter of recommendation
- graduation / diploma
page 5 topics
- homeschool subjects (English, Math, Science, Foreign Language, Electives)
- making your own courses
- extracurricular activities
- outsourcing / online classes / dual enrollment

Going to College Motherlode  --  pinned thread at top of college board
page 1 = college search / college visits / online college
page 2 = college applications / Common App (including more on transcripts, course descriptions, etc.)
page 3 = financial aid / scholarships / FAFSA and CSS Profile
page 4 = Honors Programs / Internships / NCAA
page 5 = heading to college / at college / overseas studies
page 6 = alternatives to college / gap year / military / career exploration

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can only tell you what we did. My DD has taken/is taking 7 AP classes/exams— both English + Calc AB, Bio, Art History, Psychology, and Stats. Our goal was to have a test score in roughly all the core subject areas to objectively demonstrate proficiency and ‘validate’ her transcript (I realize this isn’t strictly necessary, but it was what we felt comfortable with). All of her classes have been excellent and would have been great courses even without the AP label. She is a good  test taker and achieved passing scores on all. 
 

Incidentally, each of my older DD’s took about the same number of AP courses in their public high school. It seemed to be pretty standard for high-achieving students to take at least 6-8 AP’s. Taking much more than that seems a little like overkill, IMHO. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One other comment to expand on @8filltheheart's first post above...

If working on course work for APs is stifling your student's interest in the subject, or is taking away time where the student could be deep-diving into coursework of high interest that will really set the student apart (and above) in the application process -- not to mention, prep for life/career -- then I'd drop the APs in a heartbeat. Students get into top tier schools, and average schools, and land scholarships, with NO APs WHATSOEVER, all the time. So if APs help and your student excels at testing, sure, go for multiple APs. But there is no requirement for APs for ANY college. And many colleges are jumping for students who spent their time exploring (and excelling at) something *different* than the usual 4-6 AP tests. 😉 

  • Like 8
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Lori D. said:

One other comment to expand on @8filltheheart's first post above...

If working on course work for APs is stifling your student's interest in the subject, or is taking away time where the student could be deep-diving into coursework of high interest that will really set the student apart (and above) in the application process -- not to mention, prep for life/career -- then I'd drop the APs in a heartbeat. Students get into top tier schools, and average schools, and land scholarships, with NO APs WHATSOEVER, all the time. So if APs help and your student excels at testing, sure, go for multiple APs. But there is no requirement for APs for ANY college. And many colleges are jumping for students who spent their time exploring (and excelling at) something *different* than the usual 4-6 AP tests. 😉 

@Aspasia As a counter data pt to all the posts about kids taking APs and even DE, my kids only do either if those fit their personal goals. I have one ds who took APs and DEed at our local universities for math and physics bc that was the step that fit his goals and abilities. My last 2 homeschool grads didn't take any APs or DE (except 1 dd took stats 2nd semester of 12th bc it knocked off a required class at her destination U, not for application purposes.)  That dd was selected as one of the OOS students to receive her U's highest scholarship award.  She had only 1 outsourced subject with a teacher, Russian.  She had a local Francophone friend who conversed with her.  All her other subjects were at home.  She was selected precisely bc, as Lori stated, she was "deep-diving into coursework of high interest that will really set the student apart (and above) in the application process -- not to mention, prep for life/career."   She had numerous academic honors that were not related to standard high school scores/awards. 

My college sophomore applied to a U that bases scholarships on GPA and SAT/ACT scores.  Nothing else on her transcript mattered.  Hers was a completely different application process than her next 2 older siblings.  

But, like I mentioned before, my kids don't attend meet-need competitive schools bc we can't afford them.  THey attend on scholarship so what we look for when they apply is different.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have only graduated two kids so far. The eldest, now a junior math major on a full scholarship,  did just one AP class (no test)-- AP Calc. She had zero interest in taking the test and finding a location for her to test would have been tough.

My second took zero AP classes but is starting college with 20 credits. She didn't start taking DE until the summer before her senior year because she wasn't ready before that. She is not a superstar student academically but tries hard. 

My third kid is starting her sophomore year in high school. No idea what her transcript will look like in three years but hoghly unlikely it will be full of APs.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, my oldest is only in 11th, but she will take a couple AP’s that suit her interests and timeline: AB calc and music theory. She’ll do two, maybe three classes of DE. She a solid student, but not a superstar. She doesn’t work fast and wants to save time for extra curriculars that she loves: AHG, piano, and musical theater. Not sure where the college process will lead us! 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, Alice said:

Interesting. Just last year everywhere that my son applied was test optional, but  required SAT scores for homeschoolers. I wonder if we just had a different list (pretty much all small private schools) or if it just took a year for policies to catch up. 

A lot of things have changed in the last year. Between the admissions scandals and covid cancellations making testing near impossible for some students. My state Us (Colorado) went test optional and SATs were the standard 11th grade standardized test in my state before that. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My older boy took 2 DE (math), and 3 AP equivalent (Chem, Physics, English - the NZ national exams). Everything else we did was interest driven. I know it depends on the child and the homeschooling parent, but we *loved* (and still do) interest driven classes. My older boy could really expand into all sorts of maths, and focus in on social science topics that he was keen to know. He preferred deep dives to survey classes, so that ruled out taking more of the AP type classes. We just liked doing our own thing and not feeling our educational choices and approaches were being controlled by a curriculum/test designer. 

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/22/2021 at 8:38 PM, Lori D. said:

...

pros =
* helps with admission to top tier & competitive schools
* can earn college credit
* can allow college freshmen into honors programs

cons =
* tests only scheduled once a year
* tests can not be re-taken
* not a good option for students who don't test well
* often very difficult to find a test location -- must find/secure a location 9-12 months in advance of the test

miscellaneous info =
- you do Not need to take an official AP class in order to take the AP test
- you MAY self-study with your choice of materials and sign up to test
- if wanting to list a class (or self-study) as an "AP" course on the transcript, you MUST have you course material and syllabus first approved by College Board's AP division

- without approval, you may NOT list "AP" in the course name, but you could list the course, followed by a comma and the phrase "with AP exam"

...

<lots of good info clipped out above and below the elipses>

One major correction to the above: you absolutely CAN retake an AP exam in a subsequent year. The information listed above about that is incorrect.

 

  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, NittanyJen said:

<lots of good info clipped out above and below the elipses>

One major correction to the above: you absolutely CAN retake an AP exam in a subsequent year. The information listed above about that is incorrect.

 

Thanks -- I meant AP could not be re-taken that same year (and most people do not want to spent *another* year on the same material for the same test), but I appreciate the clarification. 😄 According to College Board, both scores will be reported, unless one is requested to be withheld or cancelled.

Edited by Lori D.
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, NittanyJen said:

<lots of good info clipped out above and below the elipses>

One major correction to the above: you absolutely CAN retake an AP exam in a subsequent year. The information listed above about that is incorrect.

 

ah, thanks--I was wondering! I'm thinking of having my 10th grader take the AP lit exam this year because his brother is, and he's doing all the same stuff. But it's one of the toughest exams based on scores, so I was thinking I'd only do it assuming he could take it again in 12th if he's not happy with his score. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...