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Next Steps When Student is Barred From Taking AP Class

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My daughter has to register for next year's classes soon. She had a meeting with her counselor where she was told she can't take AP Physics next year because she didn't get an A or B in her previous physics class. This is a new rule the school says it's putting into place for next year (it wasn't the case this year). But the kids she's going to be competing against to apply to college from neighboring schools aren't under this restrictive rule and will have taken the AP Physics class. We realize this creates an unlevel playing field (which is already not level because the other schools offer more AP art classes than we do). What are our options? Appeal the refusal to put her in AP Physics next year? Try and transfer to another high school for senior year? I don't want her applying to college with 11 APs when students from nearby schools will have more.

Colleges do not compare students at one high school — and the number of AP classes they've taken — head to head with students from other schools. Admission officials evaluate candidates in the context of the courses offerings at their own schools, and they consider the curriculum policies as well. The college folks typically know whether a high school restricts the AP or other advanced classes that a student can take. Such policies are spelled out in the “School Profile" that accompanies each transcript sent to admission offices. You can look at your daughter's School Profile to see if the AP policy is included. (The Profile may be online; if not, ask the guidance staff.) Since the AP policy is new, it may not be. And if that's the case, you should suggest to the guidance director that the Profile is revised, and also request that your daughter's counselor explain this new protocol in her recommendation later.

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