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Admissions 101: A Class Quandry

Jay posted a true quandry in Admissions 101: Is it better for students to get good grades in easy classes, or mediocre grades in tough ones? Jay is specifically talking about AP and IB classes and how top tier schools view mediocre grades in these classes.

Jay's take:

"My view is that a student wanting to attend any school that accepts less than half of applicants should take at last two AP courses and tests, since not to do so would make them look weak and since they are going to need that experience to adjust to such colleges' standards."

Reader eloquensa had some additional ideas:

From my experience with IB, and my friends' experiences with both IB and AP, all IB/AP courses are not equal; some have far more work than others. This may be the inherent nature of the subject, due to the teacher or maybe just the students' preparation level. But they all have the AP/IB label. If one genuinely cannot cope with the heavy AP/IB courses but still wants the resume boost, then pick the easier courses with lighter workloads which are still branded AP/IB. Alternatively, when there is more than one teacher teaching the course, cross a lot of fingers to get the easier teacher(s). I know last year my English teacher offered far more extra credit and a much more relaxed policy on late work than the other two English teachers, and many of my friends at other schools say they have observed the same trends. It takes a bit of talking-to-seniors and may seem unorthodox but is a pretty good last resort if need be. I only discovered I had the easy teachers after conferring with my friends about our comparative workloads, but after that they were banging down their GCs's doors to switch.

Join the discussion.

By Washington Post Editors  | June 23, 2009; 3:02 PM ET
Categories:  Admissions 101  | Tags:  AP, IB, college admissions  
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Next: Jay on the Web: Is AP the Only Way to Challenge Students?

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