Question: Is it better to get an A in an easier course, or risk getting a lower grade in an advanced course? I've got a 4.0 now, and I'm interested in schools like Columbia and Yale. There are some math and science courses at my high school that I can probably get through but I'm not sure I can ace them.
The thing to remember about Ivy League and elite admissions in general is that the admissions people look first at how well you've done in what level of course challenge in your school. Specifically, it's better to get a high B or low A in an AP than it is to get an A+ in a lesser course.