Preparing for College

Effect of Dropping AP Class for Psych?

Question: I am a junior in high school and I chose to take AP Environmental Science this year. However, midway through the year, I discovered psychology and I was immediately enthralled by the subject. So second semester, I dropped AP Environmental (which I got a B in) and switched into psychology, which is a one-semester class, and not an AP. I was given permission to do independent study and take the AP test for AP Environmental. Our school will not be offering psychology next year due to budget cuts.

Will changing from an AP class first semester to a non AP second semester hurt my chances at the top Ivy colleges I plan to apply to? What if I explain my interest in psychology and my transcript shows I took the AP Environmental test and did well?

You have already answered your own question very well. :) Use the "additional information" section of applications (or a separate letter) to explain your passion for psychology and thus your decision to drop the AP Environmental class this year and study independently. However, if you are aiming for the Ivies or other uber-competitive colleges, you should also:

-Provide additional evidence of your passion for psychology (research project, summer/evening courses, internship, etc.)

-Be sure to take AP classes that admission officials view as the heavy hitters (calculus, chem., physics, etc.) Fair or not, Environmental Science can sometimes be regarded in elite admission offices as a lightweight alternative to some of its AP brethren.

Good luck with your exams.

(posted 4/4/2011)