During this time of year, my meetings with juniors often begin with questions about next year’s coursework. Families worry both about how much their student can handle and how colleges will view their curricular choices during the college selection process. Jimmy can take 4 APs, but his Eagle Scout project will take up so much time after school. He also wants to take the philosophy and world religion electives. What should he pick? Sarah wants to get into the State Engineering College, so should she take a lighter course load outside of math and physics to boost her GPA?
Most families understand the numeric output of the GPA. But what really matters to colleges is what those little numbers represent—how much a student challenges herself, and the success she earns through those challenges. So yes, colleges do care whether students take AP, IB, and honors courses.