My HS Class Load is too intense... what do I drop?

Joined
May 22, 2020
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17
I second with @SuperFalcon68. You're not alone. I've made a couple posts questioning whether or not I've put to much of a workload on myself, or if I'm not challenging myself enough. If you need someone to talk to about that just PM me! I've gotten a lot of well thought out advice from many members of the SAF.
Third this - last week was my first full week of classes and I honestly questioned what on earth I had gotten myself into. It's a terrible feeling.

That said, if you're going to drop something, I would recommend waiting until the last possible time to do so without it showing up on your transcript to see if you can get a feasible schedule figured out.
Also, obviously I don't know what your study schedule looks like right now, but I think the more detailed of a schedule you have for it the better, i.e. x hours of calc, y hours of history, z minutes break...you get the idea. I started doing that recently and it helped far more than I expected it to, so I figured I'd share.
 

MichaelT2022

2026 Applicant
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
Messages
392
I was in this same situation, but rather since my school participates in IB, I have all IB Courses, and nothing else in my schedule so imagine that....

I was previously taking AP Physics 1 as one of my courses, in which I was given the opportunity to drop it, and replace if I chose to do so/or take a Study Hall...

I took my chance while I had, because 1 I was too stressed in that class. On my first test I got a 14/41. I just simply didn't have enough adequate time to balance that specific class, with all of my other difficult IB Course Load.

Now that 2 weeks have passed since I made my schedule change, and switched to a study hall... I literally have no regrets. The study hall gives me the time to balance out my classes, and literally I don't have to work on homework from like 6 PM to 12 AM, every night... This helps me focus more on my other classes, and I can improve my other course grades, that have been dropping recently.

I know what it feels like, when you feel like you're overloaded! Just PM me if you need anything or if you want any advice!
 

bopper

Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2016
Messages
410
What other classes have you taken? Especially in Math? What you would you take instead of Calc now?
What other classes are you taking now?
Would you go from Honors to regular English?
 

Heatherg21

USNA mom Bacon Lover Dog Lover
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Jun 26, 2019
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2,611
You didn't mention work, or hours invested in clubs, extracurriculars etc. Again, I would say DO NOT drop the calc, unless you don't think you are strong enough to validate and can drop it to Honors Calc.

As for a social life, our DS didn't have one his junior year. He doesn't regret it. Giving that up for one year, to maximize his options for SA's and other colleges was worth it to him in hindsight. At the time, it sucked, no question.

I would also say a review of how efficiently you spend your time studying, organizing your day/week, etc can play a huge role. Lots of time spinning wheels won't pay dividends. Not saying that's the case, but most students have room for improvement there.

And, plebe year for our DS was an exercise in there NEVER being enough minutes in a 24 hour period to get everything done. Yet the successful plebes managed to do it. It's by design.
 

TLR2025

Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2020
Messages
56
It’s so interesting to read all the posts about “don’t drop the calculus”. My son only took as high as Pre-calculus in high school, scored over a 700 in math on the SAT, and is a Doolie at USAFA. He is not a recruited athlete. He was top 3% of his class (557 graduates) and managed to do just fine. He was well-rounded, played varsity sports, had a job, was a community leader, and excelled in academics.
You need to do what’s right for you.

BTW- so far this semester he has a 98 in calculus so he isn’t struggling for not taking it in high school. My husband and I supported his decision to drop calculus and take pre-calculus in high school. My son’s take on it was: if I get into USAFA, I’d rather learn it on USAFA’s terms and by USAFA.
 
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Heatherg21

USNA mom Bacon Lover Dog Lover
Joined
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
2,611
It’s so interesting to read all the posts about “don’t drop the calculus”. My son only took as high as Pre-calculus in high school, scored over a 700 in math on the SAT, and is a Doolie at USAFA. He is not a recruited athlete. He was top 3% of his class (557 graduates) and managed to do just fine. He was well-rounded, played varsity sports, had a job, was a community leader, and excelled in academics.
You need to do what’s right for you.

BTW- so far this semester he has a 98 in calculus so he isn’t struggling for not taking it in high school. My husband and I supported his decision to drop calculus and take pre-calculus in high school. My son’s take on it was: if I get into USAFA, I’d rather learn it on USAFA’s terms and by USAFA.
This is a great example of how none of us or anyone for that matter can predict outcomes. Every congressional district is different. Every year the competition a candidate faces is different.

Make yourself the best well rounded candidate you can and compete within your district to the best of your ability.
 

FiddleSticks

Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Messages
37
Hello,

I am a Junior in High School and in an attempt to make myself look as good as possible on Service Academy (specifically USAFA) applications, packed my schedule full of APs and Honors classes. If an AP or Honors was offered, I took it. However, as we reach three weeks in, I realize that this was a huge mistake. With extracurriculars, other responsibilities, CAP, and a half-hearted attempt to maintain a social life, it has become wildly apparent that I have bitten off more than I can chew and there's not enough time in a day to complete all I would like to. Thus, I have decided that something needed to change. I was hoping I could hear what would be most beneficial for me to keep in terms of classes, and which ones it may be okay to let go. Listed below are the heavy-intensity classes that I'm considering dropping.
  • AP United States History
  • Honors Critical Reading and Writing (English)
  • AP Calculus AB
The other Honors classes I have taken are appearing to be of little workload and relatively easy, so I plan to keep those on no matter what. Is there anything I could stand to lose, rather, anything I should definitely NOT drop? Thank you for your help, I truly appreciate it.

Respectfully,

Conflicted Cadet
2 APs per year is reasonable. Drop the English. You will need AP calc to get by and also preserve options for a technical major at USAFA. AP US History will teach you the why of defending our country. It also teaches you research skills.
 
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Third this - last week was my first full week of classes and I honestly questioned what on earth I had gotten myself into. It's a terrible feeling.

That said, if you're going to drop something, I would recommend waiting until the last possible time to do so without it showing up on your transcript to see if you can get a feasible schedule figured out.
Also, obviously I don't know what your study schedule looks like right now, but I think the more detailed of a schedule you have for it the better, i.e. x hours of calc, y hours of history, z minutes break...you get the idea. I started doing that recently and it helped far more than I expected it to, so I figured I'd share.
Do not drop. Change the level of difficulty.
AP—> Honors.
Honors —> Basic
 

justdoit19

Proud parent of an ANG, USNA X2, and a MidSib
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Messages
4,849
There is no “one size fits all” answer. I have two Mids: one took all the classes you mentioned, the other didn’t (no AP history or critical reading). Both got in. Both are doing well.

My Mom advice would be to find your balance. You could take all those classes, and still NOT receive an appointment. Would you have regreats? Are you taking them solely for an appointment? Or overall excellence for whatever route you end up going?

Im team ‘senior year is a special year’. You also want to be able to enjoy it. There is nothing wrong, IMO, with a social life. But it’s all about balance.

I would recommend sitting down with your academic advisor and having an honest convo. USNA officially recommends what they do on their website. People here recommend taking the hardest classes offered and doing well. What that looks like for each person is different.
 
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