How Many AP Courses Are Too Many?

Stressful AP courses – a push for a cap
By Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle
Perfect isn’t good enough when it comes to getting into some of the country’s top colleges. Last year, the average grade point average of an accepted freshman applicant at UCLA was 4.34 – well above the former gold-standard 4.0 for straight A’s. The only way to push past a 4.0 and compete for a spot at Harvard, Yale, UC Berkeley or UCLA is to take Advanced Placement courses, college-level classes that offer a grade-point premium, which typically increases a grade by an entire point, making, say, a B look like an A on a transcript. Over the past decade, students increasingly have loaded up on those classes, sometimes juggling so many that they have little time for anything besides academics. With four or more hours a day of homework, even sleep is often an afterthought.


2 comments on “How Many AP Courses Are Too Many?”

  1. If I could talk to these students, I would caution them to not worry about taking so many AP courses. If there are students with a fixation on AP courses, I would encourage them to challenge the necessity for that fixation. I didn’t take too many AP classes in high school. I probably took 1 or 2 during my entire time in high school. However, I didn’t go straight from high school to university. I went to community college first. I graduated with a 3.22 GPA. I applied for UCI, UCLA, UC Riverside, and UC Berkeley. I was accepted into all four universities. I ended up going to UC Berkeley.

    I don’t know exactly why I was accepted. I still wonder myself, but I can speculate a bit. I speculate that they didn’t focus strictly on my GPA. They also focused on what I was doing outside of school. For my case, while going to community college, I was working 32 hours a week. Also, I was paying for my own education. Also, I hear that universities also put a lot of emphasis on the personal statement that a student submits to them. Ethnicity might have played a factor as well. My parents are from Pakistan. So, I am a minority. I should add that from high school to the end of community college, I did very few extracurricular activities. I offered about 50 hours of tutoring in English. That’s about it.

    Long story short, universities have a lot more to consider about an applicant than just GPA. If all they would look at was GPA, then admission applications would be processed damn fast. My assumption is that they attempt to construct a context around an applicant with the information beyond GPA that is submitted. And, perhaps that context that is constructed is relied on to some extent to determine whether that applicant would be compatible with X, Y, or Z university.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *