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Are unrelated AP classes worth it?

  1. Aug 13, 2011 #1
    Hey, I'm a high school student going into my junior year and I've been wondering whether it's in my best interest to take AP courses unrelated to the major I want to go into.

    Basically, at this point I'm quite sure that I want to major in either Electrical Engineering or Computer Science, and I'd like to get into a nice college. My school doesn't offer a whole lot of choice when it comes to AP classes related to math and science. In fact, the only math/science AP classes my school currently offers are AP Calc AB and AP Stats. I'm definitely going to be taking AP Calc AB this year and I'm sure I will enjoy it. I only wish my school offered AP Physics and the likes...

    The issue I'm having is that I'm trying to decide whether or not it's worth it for me to take classes like AP English Literature & AP US History. I already took AP World History my sophomore year. Will these classes affect my chances much of getting into a good school for EE or CS? I know quite well that I can take these classes and get relatively good grades, but I also know quite well that I will hate myself for it because I really won't enjoy it. I'd much rather be able to enjoy the year rather then dread it, if it's possible.

    Taking AP English Lit & AP US will definitely take up a lot of the free time that I spend working on stuff like programming and toying with electronics and what not. The kind of stuff that I enjoy more than anything else.

    Also, my school is a "magnet" school and I'm in the magnet known as "ECC" (Electronics and Computer Circuitry) which is basically a mash up of some EE, some CS, and other computer related topics. I get high grades in just about all of my classes, especially those math/science related.

    Is it worth it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 13, 2011 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    In college / university, you'll probably have to take non-science courses like English and history as part of general degree requirements. You can often use AP courses to satisfy those requirements. Some people argue that it's better to use AP courses to skip non-major courses, than to skip intro courses in your major.
  4. Aug 13, 2011 #3
    Like jtbell says, you'll need to take the classes eventually. Whether you want to get them over with or procrastinate until later is up to you.
  5. Aug 13, 2011 #4
    You guys do make a good point - Although I was more curious about how it would affect my admission to colleges.
  6. Aug 13, 2011 #5
    Probably minimally. No one cares either way whether you took AP English or AP US History, or any other AP, provided you've demonstrated an interest in some field of study. However, if this is your first US history course in high school, you might be missing some basic requirements for some college applications. I can't imagine that you haven't taken a previous English course in high school.
  7. Aug 13, 2011 #6
    Oh of course I've been taking English and History classes. I'm required to take both subjects for all four years. I took AP World History last year, and while I did well, it wasn't very enjoyable for me haha. I'm just trying to decide if it's worth it to take AP English classes and another AP History course, rather then the usual honors classes. I like to use every last ounce of my free time to the fullest extent, and classes like those take a lot of it away :uhh: (Note: I do understand that when I'm in college I probably won't have any free time at all - But, since I'll actually be spending that time learning stuff rather then preparing for standardized tests - which is about all high school really is - I'm sure I'll enjoy it.)
  8. Aug 13, 2011 #7


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    Science Advisor

    Yeah I had a similar question. Do I still have to take liberal arts courses in college even if I know that my major is going to be in the theoretical physics area going into college? It seems like my finishing of APUSH and AP World has gone to waste then.
  9. Aug 13, 2011 #8
    Learning how to read, analyze large amounts of information, and write is never a waste unless you plan on financing all of your academic research by yourself, in which case it probably wouldn't matter.
  10. Aug 13, 2011 #9
    I disagree. It looks good on application when you mention that you have attempted AP classes. In my experience, it is better to have had a 3.5 with AP credits than a 4.0 without it. It can demonstrate that the student in question is capable of buckling down under an college level academic workload and get it done. However, this is just my perspective as a student.

    I had to sign-up just to answer this question. It would serve you well to take a look at potential school catalogs to see what the required classes are to graduate in, presumably, a B.S. in physics. I considered a B.S. in physics, however switched to engineering upon seeing the requirements. Since its a degree from the school of arts and sciences of many schools, you'll have to complete their requirements for the school of A&S that includes liberal arts classes and languages.

    I would recommend taking AP classes. It feels good to have extra credit, also it will save you money. Why pay later what you can do now for free?
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