Preparing for College

A.P. Class or Electives?

Question: I am in 10th grade. We recently began course selection at my school for next year. This year I took AP U.S. History and am doing quite well in it, but I had to sacrifice some electives to take it. Should I take A.P. World History next year and give up electives like psychology, journalism, and photography, or should I take the electives?

You don’t say what your long-term goals are, but we think the subtext of your question is “How will admission officials view my transcript? Which classes ‘look better’?”

There’s no gray area here. Admission committees give far greater value to A.P. classes than they do to those electives you name. It seems like you can probably sneak in at least one of the “fun” classes in addition to A.P. World History, but—at least for admission purposes—the A.P. option beats the others by a country mile (and maybe you'll have some fun there, too!).

Adcoms also appreciate students who seek enrichment opportunities beyond their high schools. so if you can't fit electives into your schedule. perhaps you can seek out a photography class (or psych, journalism, etc.) at a local community college or through a nearby adult-ed program.