Preparing for College

Berkeley and UCLA Without Top Frosh and Soph Classes?

Question: I wasn't encouraged to take Honors Classes when I was a freshman even though I was getting straight A's. I wasn't encouraged to take AP Classes this year (10th grade) and I didn't know about them until recently. But I have taken lots of honors classes this year, including English, science, and history, plus Spanish I and Algebra II. I wasn't informed about school clubs either, though I do volunteer at my church and local library and take social dance at a community college. I'm afraid I'm not "well-rounded" enough. Do you think I could still be accepted by the tough schools? My top choices are Berkeley and UCLA, but I'm very worried that I might end up attending our community college.

I'm not sure what you mean by a lack of well-roundedness. You seem to have elected a good balance of classes and have made a commitment to worthwhile extracurricular activities. (Colleges aren't all that impressed by students who join a wide array of school clubs. They tend to be more interested in candidates who are genuinely involved with WHATEVER activities they choose. This can even include paid employment. Frankly, admission officials actually get a bit bored when reading the same predictable list of school clubs on thousands of applications.) The fact that you didn't take honors in Grade 9 or APs in Grade 10 should not have a big impact on your admissibility (more on that in a minute) but I hope that you are now enrolling in the toughest courses you can handle, since you are clearly aware of the options.

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