Preparing for College

How Do Guidance Counselors Decide Which Course Loads are "Most Demanding"?

Question:Can you explain how the school guidance counselor decides whether a student's course load is "Most Demanding" or not? Is it based on just the courses taken junior year, or does the counselor look at all the courses from grades 9-12? For instance, I'm taking 6 courses: 4 are AP and 2 are regular. Is that sufficient or must every course be the hardest level offered?

This is a good question, but--as with many good questions--there are no good answers, only speculative and perhaps confusing ones. The Common Application provides no official guidelines to school counselors to help them classify course rigor. So, inevitably, such determinations will vary from high school to high school and probably, in some cases, even within a high school since each counselor must decide whether an advisee's course load is "Most Demanding," "Very Demanding," etc., and multiple counselors may have multiple perspectives.

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