Preparing for College

A-'s/B's in AP's vs. All A's in Standard Classes

Question:My son just completed his sophomore year of high school, taking 2 honors classes (pre-calc and English), 1 AP class (US History), German 3, Chem 1,and Debate. His cumulative GPA is 3.68, which puts his class rank in the top 25%. Many students with only standard classes have a higher GPA and a higher rank, but obviously a weaker rigor of coursework. He would like to study engineering, and I am concerned that with a GPA below a 3.8, he may not be accepted. Does it look better on an application for engineering to earn a B+/A- in an AP/honors class, or an A/A+ in a standard class? BTW, he does have activities, volunteering, and a varsity sport under his belt already. Thanks for your help!

Admission officials are always more impressed with students who have elected the more rigorous classes, especially when the student is doing as well as B+/A-. (A low C or D would suggest that the student was mismatched, but that's a whole different story.)

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