3 Answers

David Wagner Points320

It depends. For some colleges, it matters quite a lot. For others, it may not matter at all. The more selective the college is, the more important it is that their applicants have chosen to challenge themselves in high school.

While students should not live their lives for the sole purpose of getting into college, the decision to take advance coursework should have to do with the intrinsic desire to learn and be academically challenged. The desire to go to college should be based on students' intrinsic motivation. Students who are academically engaged and intellectually curious generally want to take the most rigorous academic program available to them. These are the same students that tend to be admissible to the most selective colleges and universities.

The question colleges have when reviewing the transcripts of their applicants is, did they take the classes offering the most rigor? Whether those classes were AP or part of an IB program is not that important rather, that a student has taken the most challenging classes is higher in regard to importance. Keep in mind that counselors are asked to check a box on the school form from, the common application which, breaks down the level of rigor into three areas: Somewhat, Very or Most Demanding. Counselors are also asked to check a box designating how each student's coursework compares to that of their peers. As to your question overall, AP and IB classes do matter because they show colleges that you are up to the challenge of engaging in advanced classes, of keeping up with the work load that you are in other words, ready for college so in short - go for it or in this case, go for them - take the AP classes or enroll in the IB program just be sure you are ready for the quantity of work and give it your all. Good Luck!
Jon Semcer Points3610
Everything on your transcript matters-- grades, courses , grade point average and rank in class ( if your school ranks). The question is what is the academic environment that you, the student, are coming from? Is it a very competitive high school where over 90 % of the seniors go on to four year schools or is it a high school that sends a little over 50 % or less of its seniors to four years schools. Are AP offered and how many? Can a student enroll in the IB program? For example, a student going to high school in rural Utah where the most advanced course work is honors level is not going to be " punished' for not having AP course work. If the student has scored well on the SAT and was enrolled in several honors and earned very good grades, they took advantage of what was offered to them. If on the other hand, a student earned very good grades , had a very high GPA ( above 3.8) and their rank was in the top 10 -12% and the high school offered AP courses; the question might be why didn't the student select some AP courses? Admissions is not an exact science and admission officers make decisions based on how they view a student and the student's academic as well as their family background ( that is why you asked about your parents, their education and their job and how many brothers and sisters you have living at home) so AP would matter when applying to very selective schools because that is the norm ( there are exceptions -- the kid form rural Utah). Schedule what you can handle, do not over schedule yourself with AP courses and drown in homework every night. IB is not for everyone -- it very demanding and time consuming. Always look before you leap and ask questions. There are so many college choices -- many where AP or IB would be nice but it is not the norm.

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