Dear Estelle. It’s course selection time now for senior year and I’m in a quandary about what to do about my classes. I have a packed schedule because I always take a full load of classes every semester, mostly AP, and I’m involved in numerous extracurricular activities. One of my required classes, AP US History, is taught by a teacher who has not earned “high marks” from students who are currently enrolled in her classes. I do not perform well with teachers who don’t challenge me or who are rigid so I’m considering taking my full load of classes and enrolling in AP US History either online or at the community college. My counselor has approved this strategy. Your thoughts? ER, Highlands Ranch HS
Since this is an important decision time for most juniors planning their senior schedules, I will answer your question first and then add a few comments about senior course selection, in general. Both the online and the community college options are good choices. Frequently you can receive dual credit (both high school and college) if you enroll at the college. There are many online providers; some offer the AP version of your required class and there are even those that offer the “face to face” option by using SKYPE. Both good possibilities. Since your schedule sounds so full, however, my first recommendation would be to meet with your high school AP US History teacher and let her know you’re considering her class next year. Get to know her and then take the class at school. This would be a sign of maturity and an important step in meeting life’s challenges as you proceed on to college.
A few words about course selection for all juniors. Is it better to take a course senior year where you know you can get an “A” or should you take a harder course and risk getting a lower grade? The more selective a college the greater the likelihood that Admissions Committees will be looking to see if you’re stretching yourself. The strength of your academic coursework is the most important competitive credential. The academic bar at these schools will be higher. Most students will have received “A’s and B’s” in all their AP (advanced placement) classes. If you are planning to compete at that level, then reach as high as you can without stressing yourself too much but don’t overreach.
Your senior year should prepare you for college. Conversely, at all times look for colleges that value your achievement.