When it comes to picking classes for junior year (and all years, really) it’s important to keep in mind that you’re positioning yourself to apply to college. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for an admissions counselor to discern what you want to major in and what your academic interests are. You’re painting a picture of who you are, and your class list is one of the ways to showcase your talents and interests.
If you want to get into a top tier school, you need to take the most challenging classes that your school offers. But that’s not it. You also need to be getting good grades in those classes. We’re often asked if it’s better to get an A in a regular course or a B in an honors course. The short answer is that you need to be getting A’s in all of your classes if you want to get into a top tier school.
Taking an AP class is a way of emphasizing your interest in that field. If you’re going to write about your plans to become a lawyer, you’ll want to take the hardest version of English, history, and AP humanities courses. This isn’t to say that if you don’t take these classes you won’t become a lawyer. But if challenging humanities courses are offered at your school and you elect not to take them, the admissions committee might have some questions. Likewise, if you want to be an engineer, you should take AP physics if it is offered.
Look for advanced classes that align with your interests and focus on those if you don’t think you’ll be able to handle an all honors course load. Ask yourself why you’re taking what you’re taking. You’re better off taking AP courses in areas you want to focus on while in college.
We work with students throughout high school and help them find the best courses. Contact us here.