General FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

College Admissions
Financial Aid
Entrance Exams

High School – What should you be doing right now?

How early should I start preparing for college?

The road to a college or university can begin as early as junior high school. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t find your way to the right path later. Just remember that the later you start the harder you’ll have to work and the more limited your options may be. Ninth grade is generally the best time to start thinking about what colleges to which you may want to apply. You need to start early in order to make sure that you have time not only to take the A-G courses and the other requirements, but that you may also do more than what is simply required.

How many AP classes should I take?

There is no exact amount. However, you should only take as many classes as you feel comfortable taking. Don’t overload yourself! Remember, a person who gets an A in two AP classes looks better than a person who gets C’s in five AP classes. Just remember that thousands of students apply to the UC each year. When you apply, you will be competing against all these people. AP classes look good, but doing well in these classes looks even better.

I really don’t want to take a third year of Spanish. If the UC only asks for two years, why should I take more?

There are two very important reasons. The first one has to do with making yourself into the competitive applicant. If you want to impress colleges, then you need to take more classes than the bare minimum. If everyone else takes two years while you take four, you automatically look better. But don’t take a third and fourth year and get D’s in them. That doesn’t help. But if you feel that you absolutely cannot suffer through another language course and pass with at least a B, then use that extra spot in your schedule to take another science or math class. Basically, take as many advanced UC-approved courses as you can – but especially take the classes in which you will get the highest grades.

Secondly, (this is just a tid-bit coming from a person who knows) once you get to college you’re still going to have a foreign language requirement. Yet, the more classes you take in high school, the less you have to take in college. And if you take four years in high school, you may actually satisfy the requirement for college. Moreover, if you take an AP language exam, you may actually get some college credit.