Folks, it is time to discuss Course Selection. This really ties into our theme for the year really well. A lot of the stress is caused by pressure from “outside forces” to take as many AP classes as you can or just throw in that extra year of foreign languages because it “looks better”.
Let’s get into how you can make course selection a breeze. Hopefully, this will also make your life a breeze.
Rule #1: Only take a class if you know you’ll get an A in it.
No, not an A-. An A, which is 95 percent or better. If you don’t know for sure that you’ll get an A, you are letting yourself think that the worst you’ll get is a B. This is the exact kind of mindset that leads to B’s, C’s, and even worse.
This is especially relevant to weighted and honors coursework. Remember, it’s not about getting B’s in an Honors or AP class. It’s about getting A’s because that’s what the top colleges, like the UC’s and the Ivies, are looking for. It is a MYTH that getting a B in an Honors or AP class is like getting an A in a Regular class. This is pure fiction when it concerns college admissions, where getting an A is an A, and is B is a B. Period. Believe us: we’d rather see A’s than B’s.
So… how am I supposed to know if I can get an A in this class?
There are a few things that you can base your predictions on. The first one (and probably most obvious one) is historical coursework. If you’ve gotten B’s in non-weighted math coursework, DO NOT take advanced math coursework. That’s just setting yourself up for failure!
Next, is your understanding of the teachers teaching the class. If you’ve heard that the teacher is notorious for losing graded work or handing out only 2 A’s per class per year, it’s probably not a good idea to take the class. Even if it demonstrates interest towards a major. A pro-tip is to not base your predictions on how someone else did in the class. A lot of students like to say, “well, my friend told me the class was easy.” Well, you are not your friend. Ironically, I also find that students too often compare themselves with “friends” who are more academically capable than themselves. Stop comparing yourself with someone who’s completely different from you in terms of intelligence, study habits, interests and background.
Rule #2: Only take a class if you’re genuinely interested in it
Of course, this is aside from required coursework. What you decide to take should be inline with what you’re most interested in learning. This is especially true for weighted honors and AP coursework.
Another pro tip is if you take an AP course in a subject you have no interest in, chances are you won’t get an A in the class and will have less time on all your other classes. Too often students end up taking 3x longer than an average class just to get a B, sometimes even a C just to pass. Take this into account, especially when some of your other classes are more relevant to your major anyway.
- Don’t take a class unless you know you’ll get an A in it.
- Take a weighted class only if you’re genuinely interested in it.
Colleges are looking for genuine learners who have challenged themselves based on available weighted coursework. However, top colleges dislike students over-challenge themselves – getting mostly B’s and some C’s, who are not genuine in learning but rather fell for the trap of taking more AP’s rather than less.
We hope that this provides some valuable insight into how to release some of the stress you may have while making your college application profile even stronger.
We specialize in youth mentorship and college counseling. From 8th grade to 12th, we have you covered for any stage in your high school career. Schedule a free consultation with us here.
See you soon!