The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

College admissions

November 6, 2021

One of students’ main concerns about an AP cap is that it would harm their college applications, as they wouldn’t have the availability to demonstrate their course rigor. In terms of an AP cap’s effect on college applications, 68% responded that they felt it would have an impact according to a survey conducted through The Talon’s Instagram, with 379 respondents. 

However, any proposed AP cap would have limited effect on college admissions.

“There’s a box that you can mark on student transcripts that says the district limits APs,” Walter said. “You can say what that restriction is, or whatever is unique about your district.”

Instead of colleges evaluating solely on the actual number of APs a student took, Walter said the focus is on whether students chose as much rigor as possible given school constraints.

“Colleges will look at whether a student took advantage of the opportunities in front of them,” Walter said. “They could take three APs at any given time, and they did. Or they didn’t.”

College counselor Laura Duran also supported this point, explaining the viewpoints colleges take when evaluating applications.

“You’re not penalized for a school policy,” Duran said. “Colleges wouldn’t expect that students go out and take additional APs through online courses or outside of school.… It wouldn’t reflect poorly on the student. But when it’s uncapped, and colleges know all the APs that we offer, they know how many periods that we have classes…”

As a result, uncapped AP classes can lead to students feeling pressured to overload themselves with AP classes, according to Duran. She also pointed out that capping APs could help students have a more well-rounded college application by freeing up time for extracurricular activities.

“We have noticed, especially with colleges going more test optional, or with the inaccessibility of testing, that colleges are looking at this character component,” Duran said. “And if students have no time to do anything but academics, it doesn’t benefit their real world experience or opportunities to build your self-esteem or to connect with different people or to demonstrate that you’ve explored something outside of the classroom.”

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