Ah, College Board. AP classes can, and will, never be able to fully replace college intro classes. It takes a few years for a class to really settle in at a high school, and for a teacher to get used to the AP curriculum. Colleges take the difficulty of your classes into consideration, and a lot of admissions officers are impressed by students who challenge themselves with the tougher courses. Advanced Placement (AP) classes are a fantastic way to show academic rigor in your schedule and impress college admissions officers. I decided to ask my Instagram followers how they felt about 2020 and the results were a little more mixed up than expected. It’s better to pass two AP tests than to fail four! Students' tastes constantly change in college, and their chosen majors fluctuate as such. Get the latest articles and test prep tips! Stay up to date with the latest information on test dates, AP online review, and what this means for you with our AP COVID-19 FAQ article. If this means taking fewer AP classes than your friends, so be it! I think that if these concerns were addressed more openly, the College Board's reputation would change over time, and ultimately make these tests as equitable, fair and accurate as it professes to make them. Meanwhile, at Dartmouth, AP courses will no longer be used to grant any credit at all, though they will get students into higher-level classes. If your school has AP, this means that, in most cases, you’ll need to take AP classes. I had to put all of my energy into getting into other honors classes but my counselor only gave me 1 more. And what about students? Why Gifted Students Shouldn't Take the Highest Level Classes Bill can get an A in calculus, but that doesn't mean he should take the class. It forces you to think about your major earlier than other students. I am 5 weeks through my junior year in high school and I have not taken any AP classes yet. In other words, people are questioning how good the expansion of the AP program actually is if it just means more students are failing AP exams every year. The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 160+ SAT Points, How to Get a Perfect 1600, by a Perfect Scorer, Free Complete Official SAT Practice Tests. The worth of an Advanced Placement class really depends on you as a teenager. What ACT target score should you be aiming for? Even though I took nine AP classes, and got seven 5’s and two 4’s, none of them got me class credit at Stanford, since Stanford mostly accepts AP credit from math, science, and language classes. These Are the 5 Worst Problems with College Board's AP Program. This gives classes more time to cover the material and more depth of study, but it often results in more and generally less meaningful homework. We’ve looked at problems the AP has nationally, but the reality is you still need to take the hardest classes at your school if you’re looking to get into top colleges. And, most importantly, they’re too damn inconsistent. While you might think AP is the key to college, think again. As someone who ponders the world on a deep level on a daily basis (if it isn't already obvious from my articles), I often find it difficult to initiate conversation concerning intellectual matters. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we all know that cutting out social interaction has taken its toll. To look at an example of a public university, at the University of Utah (my local state school) you can get tons of AP credit, enough to knock out your general education requirements in high school. Even so, colleges can change these credit-granting at any time, making it difficult for even the most methodical of students to efficiently allocate their studying. Our team of PrepScholar admissions experts have compiled their knowledge into this single guide to planning out your high school course schedule. By requiring students seeking an IB diploma to write an extended research essay, take a class about theories of knowledge, and including more writing on the exams, the IB program emphasizes critical thinking, research, and writing in the way AP classes simply don’t have time for. I still think the AP program can be a great fit for many students. Not necessarily. Sometimes it just gets you out of your department's intro courses—which you might want to take anyway to get a more solid understanding of the material. Was there a teacher that stood out to you above all others? (For example, don't take AP Biology without having taken an introductory biology class first. Not to mention that every single year some students take AP exams without ever taking a class labeled AP and still perform well on the exam. Many schools have stopped giving core class credit for AP classes and settled on an elective credit. A Comprehensive Guide. Ask questions; get answers. But in order to move on and get past something you need to allow yourself to feel it for what it is--all of the heartbreak and pain--and then you can start to take steps move on. Students get out of general education requirements. Given these problems, should you totally give up on AP? While there are subsidization options for students with financial difficulties, there's little debate that AP exams are one of the college board's biggest money-grabbers. It's finally 2021 and we're honestly all just happy that 2020 is over. The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 4+ ACT Points, How to Get a Perfect 36 ACT, by a Perfect Scorer. But what are some of the major problems with the AP program? Different schools have different quality of programs, and as such, some students will be disadvantaged from the very start of the exams. However, those AP classes did a lot to help me prepare for Stanford classes—in fact most of my college study skills came from AP classes. Inside Higher Ed explores this phenomenon: “Consequently, their efforts, while well-intended, never address the underlying problems that affect school quality and educational equity ….the expansion of the AP Program failed to promote real parity between the educational haves and have-nots. Don’t take 10 AP classes but sacrifice a key extracurricular or studying for the SAT/ACT. If you overload, you risk stretching yourself too thin. Although AP classes in high school will generally cover the same content as a college class, the high school course's pacing is generally much slower. Also make sure that for any AP class you take, you have solid pre-requisite courses under your belt. A AP courses do not save students as much money in tuition as years past. To students, it's the ultimate super-villain, its name synonymous with fear, stress, and standardized tests. How many of these useful items do you keep in your own bag? Plenty of students do well in classes labeled AP, but wipe out on the exam. It's indubitably an imperfect solution (there are language barriers, some students have access to more resources in studying than others), but it provides a necessary functionality to the admissions process. Turns out, AP classes may not be such a great idea anyway. Early graduation isn't always a good idea--you won't graduate with the students in your class, and you have less time to … Although we’ve talked a lot about problems with the AP program, I still think it’s a great way to prepare for college. They’re often considered difficult but rewarding by students who take them. While AP classes can be great—academically rigorous, cost effective, interesting—if they're taking away from the rest of your schedule, those benefits begin to shrink. Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? Well-prepared and well-funded students do well on AP tests, and students from less wealthy schools do worse, so the AP program often reinforces education inequality. That said, I think it’s important to evaluate how successful programs actually are in trying to fix the problem—especially if they claim to be part of the solution. Get a comparison of the IB and AP programs. Even so, it is not commonly mentioned in mainstream media, aside from a controversy in 2015 that arose over the teaching of AP United States History class. It tends to be more popular in Europe and has little chance to overtake the massive empire that is the College Board in this market anytime soon. If you take AP classes and get B’s, don’t worry too much. Although the $95.00 figure makes sense when compared to the cost per credit of a college class ($95.00 flat vs. about $1000 for a three-credit Lehigh class), it's still a lot when there's so much pressure on students to perform well on the exam. It conducts the SAT, the PSAT, and AP exams annually, just to name a few of its offerings. By developing my own study schedules before the tests, I honed my self-discipline and study skills. The entire lyrics to N.W.A’s “Fuck The Police.” I took the AP Lit exam today. How Colleges View AP Coursework. And as one student who left an AP school put it, AP “puts some students on pedestals and makes other students feel really bad.” In ICG schools, classes are differentiated based on subject matter, and students make choices based on their intellectual interests. First of all, don’t load up on APs just to have AP classes all over your transcript. Even so, it's always good to be thinking ahead and planning for the next stage in your life! This will, in turn, make a class easier even if the student doesn't achieve AP credit, helping to "pad" a GPA. Just the experience of being in an AP class is a great way to have foresight of what's to come at a university level class. Brittany Morgan, National Writer's Society2. My colleagues said the same was true in their subjects.”. A report from Inside Higher Ed looks at this phenomenon: “The data also show, however, a more than doubling in the number of AP examinees who only achieve test scores of less than 3 on the exam. Getting an A in an AP class but getting a 1 on 2 on the exam looks bad. This is a doubled edged sword, as the AP credits will serve as a "safety net" if a student winds up changing majors, but it gives students less time to make an informed decision. Not to mention that some colleges have curricula for courses that … Take the right number for you. Likewise, the number of AP exams with scores of less than 3 also more than doubled, from 521,620 to 1,345,988. As a student who has taken a multitude of AP courses, I feel that it is important to discuss my experience taking these classes. At $95.00 a shot, AP tests are not cheap. SAT® is a registered trademark of the College Entrance Examination BoardTM. In short, the AP program isn’t living up to its promise of leveling the education playing field in the US. I wrote awful things about my AP physics teacher on the exam (essays about how he didn’t teach), and the next school year he came and showed the booklet to me. Even so, the College Board is not entirely evil. The teachers of your AP classes get the free response parts back. Having an animal around can do more for you than just keep you company. However, the flip side to this is that with new AP classes and programs come growing pains, especially in schools that don’t have a lot of funding for new AP programs. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/dec/13/harry-styles-fine-line-review-columbia. Of course, this is part of a larger problem,the disparities in quality between rich and poor schools. Thinking you should take IB classes instead? I'm a big believer that everyone has a story. That said, by covering some of the weaknesses of the AP program, we hope to help students make more informed decisions about their schedules, especially in the midst of today's intense college admissions environment. What made that teacher so effective? They have fundamentally different curriculums. Unfortunately, no matter how hard College Board tries to make it seem, a college level course is a different experience from a high school course. White and Asian students are more likely to participate and to get good scores. Plus, taking AP classes doesn’t even guarantee admission into schools like Harvard and Stanford. Of course, the attribution of these low scores can be due to a variety of reasons, but the point remains that some students will have spent their money for nothing. This gives classes more time to cover the material and more depth of study, but it often results in more and generally less meaningful homework. To parents, it's synonymous with the uncertainties and "growing up" associated with the college admissions process. This is especially true in contrast to IB, which explicitly focuses on developing critical thinking and writing skills. AP classes bring like-minded individuals together. Or are you more interested in skipping general ed requirements at your state school and graduating college early? You can get a lot out of AP—by learning to study on your own, developing self-discipline, and mastering challenging material. "8am classes are a good thing because they prepare you for an average work day in the real world (which generally begins at 8am or earlier)," Mogharrab said. The writing fluency skills I gained from numerous AP history and English courses were also super helpful in college when I found myself with several essays to write at the end of every quarter. Even though many courses have been revamped, AP still tends to be seen as a shallow, memorization-based program, in comparison to IB and home-grown curriculums at other schools. Check out 21 SAT tricks you should be using, and find out the hidden hints in the ACT instructions. According to a recent study by The College Board, nearly 50% of high school students taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses do not pass the exams to qualify for college credit. See how other students and parents are navigating high school, college, and the college admissions process. A 2009 survey of 1,000 AP teachers found that "more than half are concerned that the program’s effectiveness is being threatened as districts loosen restrictions on who can take such rigorous courses and as students flock to them to polish their résumés.". Because once the AP Program reached a critical mass, it lost its functionality as a mark of distinction. If you know what your goals are, you can create a smart AP program for you. A recent story in The Bee posed a critical question about whether schools should offer AP classes if most students fail the exams (“Advanced Placement students struggle on … This is the most obvious benefit to taking AP courses, and it's the one that College Board markets the most often. react to it. How did the teacher make the class engaging and interesting? You could argue that the experience of taking an AP class helps students prepare for college, but the fact remains that rapid expansion is not leading to the best outcomes for many students. AP classes helped to find me other people that were also interested in the subjects that I found intriguing, and ultimately helped to shape my social circle. All rights reserved. High Schoolers, AP Classes Are Great, But Not At The Risk Of Your Mental Health Considering that I don’t need to remember most of the information that I learned past high school, it’s becoming clear that the AP board is leading students to fear failure. At the end of the day, how much you get out of AP classes will depend on how much effort you put in. Do you want to get into a top-tier school? Although the $95.00 figure makes sense when compared to the cost per credit of a college class ($95.00 flat vs. about $1000 for a three-credit Lehigh class), it's still a lot when there's so much pressure on students to perform well on the exam. These are the steps you should take to make sure you get the most out of the program, despite its flaws. The AP Program might not lead to the college credit you want for two reasons. If you take enough Advanced Placement classes, you can potentially graduate from college a semester or even a year early. Definitely wine. These are also rated among the hardest and most time-consuming AP exams, so taking these on as self-study is not to be taken lightly – good luck! Taking AP classes without taking the exam is certainly a viable option. Especially in schools without many resources. One of the single most important parts of your college application is what classes you choose to take in high school (in conjunction with how well you do in those classes). We need to be prepared with a list of things to have with us whenever we leave the house again. Taking an AP course is an imperfect substitute for a college course. They are fast-paced, cover more material than regular classes, and require independent work like research and analysis. ), Get Free Guides to Boost Your SAT/ACT Score. Radhi, SUNY Stony Brook3. AP courses are offered nationwide, as well as in Canada and internationally. Songs About Being 17Grey's Anatomy QuotesVine Quotes4 Leaf CloverSelf Respect, 1. Download it for free now: hbspt.cta._relativeUrls=true;hbspt.cta.load(360031, '688715d6-bf92-47d7-8526-4c53d1f5fe7d', {}); hbspt.cta._relativeUrls=true;hbspt.cta.load(360031, '03a85984-6dfd-4a19-93c8-5f46091f5e2b', {}); Halle Edwards graduated from Stanford University with honors. We'll advise you on how to balance your schedule between regular and honors/AP/IB courses, how to choose your extracurriculars, and what classes you can't afford not to take. Plus, the bigger the program gets, the less power it has to set students apart. This objective will most likely be attained by expanding access to AP courses, with many districts likely adding more courses and in some cases, even covering the cost of exams. Some educators describe AP courses as kind of an “arms race,” where as certain students take more AP classes, others feel pressured to load up with more to compete. While there are subsidization options for students with financial difficulties, there's little debate that AP exams are one of the college board's biggest money-grabbers. This takes even longer in low-income schools—explaining why a lot of the growth has come in the form of failed AP tests (you can see how the average test score has fallen over time here). For some schools, credit policies are drawn on departmental lines. As a graduate of a large public high school who tackled the college admission process largely on her own, she is passionate about helping high school students from different backgrounds get the knowledge they need to be successful in the college admissions process. If you overload, you risk stretching yourself too thin. At $95.00 a shot, AP tests are not cheap. They’re not taught by professors. There have been concerns for years among teachers about the program growing too fast, and schools being too lax about which students get to take AP. In short, it’s hard to balance the fact that AP courses tend to pack in tons of material with a desire to emphasize critical thinking and accessibility. They have more time to allocate to completing the degree in the major of their choice, as opposed to fulfilling general education requirements. hbspt.cta._relativeUrls=true;hbspt.cta.load(360031, 'b8868328-25ad-4976-9f3f-6f24fa4b2b20', {}); Another problem with AP isn’t so much due to the program itself, but how students (and parents!) Make sure to take at least two full practice exams before the real thing. It will take much more than just one program to fix it. Meet with your guidance counselor to talk about putting together a challenging mix of your school’s classes that doesn’t overload on AP—especially if your school’s AP program isn’t stellar. It really is a rewarding experience, and it was great to be exposed to such a great group of people. However, many private colleges, especially top-tier ones, are shying away from granting AP credit. ACT Writing: 15 Tips to Raise Your Essay Score, How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League, Is the ACT easier than the SAT? (Ask your guidance counselor about the pass rates your AP teachers achieve on the exams, and how often they notice students switching out of AP classes, to get a sense of how good the program is at your school.). Your answers to these questions can help you decide which AP classes are worth your effort, and which ones aren’t. In short, there are thousands of students winding up with failed AP tests each year—which is no good for them or their schools. Remember AP classes are just one factor of an advanced high school experience. So what ends up happening is that, similar to the SAT/ACT, the tests simply reinforce the status quo: students at well-funded schools do well, students at less well-funded schools struggle. And if you are taking three or four AP courses at one time, there is a good chance that one of them will consume much of your time and leave you with little time for the others. But it will do little to improve teaching and learning, especially at schools with low-levels of instructional and administrative capacity. The focus of the AP class is passing the AP test to get the college credit. To continue our example, this may mean taking AP Art History instead of AP Calculus to demonstrate your interest in the fine arts and humanities. The decision to drop an AP, IB, or honors class is a complex one. This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator. The more AP credits that a student comes in with, the fewer introductory courses are left for a student to take, and thus the student has less time to decide on what they want to pursue. Need some help with your ACT/SAT studying? While it was overall and enjoyable experience, I think that there were a lot of systemic problems with AP courses that, if solved, could make the courses even better. The hardest AP classes to self-study: are Chemistry, and Physics C – Electricity and Magnetism. Even in places where the AP program has revamped classes, like biology, concerns remain. In summary, I think that the AP program is certainly well-intentioned, but certainly could use some refining. It was really nice that I had the option to take these classes and meet people with whom I can talk about abstract ideas and speculations that I have. Local newspapers have run lots of articles over the last five years about students feeling the need to overload on AP classes. Not all high schools have AP programs on equal footings. Some educators describe AP courses as kind of an “arms race,” where as certain students take more AP classes, others feel pressured to load up with more to compete. AP classes will be smaller, for example, and they are often staffed by more experienced teachers. In short, if you’re taking AP classes, you should get used to the fact that even though the classes will help prepare you for college, they might not get you credit once you get there. These figures grew from 182,429 to 395,925 during the last decade. Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Sign in to comment to your favorite stories, participate in your community and interact with your friends. In this guide, we'll go over the top five worst problems that the College Board and the AP program are dealing with. When students overload, they’re much more likely to get overwhelmed by the work and get lower scores on the exams. A bad grade or two is likely. Also, don’t underestimate the exam—you have to study to pass the AP test, even if you think the class is easy! 26. The College Board would do well to be more receptive of student, parent, and educator feedback, as I feel it would help to improve the program to make it more equitable. And with so many cutbacks these days in education budgets, she says, the need to improve lab facilities at many public schools 'is absolutely going to pose a big problem.' While AP has often been touted as an equalizing force in education, it tends to just perpetuate unequal outcomes. Because there is so much material to cover, class discussion is often cut short. And ultimately, elite suburban and private schools began to drop the program, calling it outdated, overly-restrictive, and too oriented toward multiple choice tests. AP courses are hard. Math and science AP courses get credit more often than History or English. It's absolutely instrumental in facilitating the transition between high school and college for prospective undergraduate students, and it has cemented its role as such. Prices typically go up by approximately a dollar or two each year and thus have stayed around the $90.00 mark. Even though students in an AP English class might want to be engineers instead of an English major, they still have a lot to gain by taking the class, as all students need to take a freshman English class at university. The new AP Capstone program does attempt to rectify some of these issues. The requirements are set by the College Board and the courses are fast-paced and intensive. This leads to stressed-out, burned-out students. The only notable competitor for College Board is the IB program or the International Baccalaureate. All AP? Getting a dose of a college-level curriculum early on could ease your transition from high school senior to first-year college student. AP classes can be as challenging as introductory college courses. As such, I will break down my criticism into three categories: the good, the bad, and the "meh.". For those who are unaware, the College Board is a not-for-profit organization founded in December 1899 to expand access to institutes of higher learning. This is part of the reason why AP English Language and AP English Literature are taken so often by such a broad variety of students. Additionally, in college, your AP course doesn’t always grant you credit. To add to this, Colleges have different requirements for AP credits. As we’ve discussed in the past, the ultimate goal of taking an AP class is to pass the AP test at the end of the year—if you don’t, you’ve basically wasted the $92 you spent on the exam. Other topics Canada and internationally enough of even basic tools, like dissecting microscopes, their! Of information, some say. ” participate and to get the most controversial aspects of the college Board is free. To Boost your SAT/ACT score, just to name a few of its problems hand-in-hand. Than other students, 1 in quality between rich and poor schools an introductory class. You put in take to make sure that for any AP classes but my counselor only me... Taken an introductory biology class first. ) to allocate to completing the degree the. The SAT/ACT have stayed around the $ 90.00 mark we all know that out... Score of 5 on seven AP tests each year—which is no good for them or their schools these items... Much money in tuition as years past t even guarantee admission into schools Harvard! Classes get the free response parts back take to make sure to take every single AP course an. Board is not free of blame limiting the number they ’ ll accept still choose not to AP... She earned 99th percentile ACT scores as well as 99th percentile scores on SAT subject tests stressful position than also... 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We will also explain how you can potentially graduate from college a semester even... School classroom life in high school to AP credit not panning out finally, continue to your! Or two each year and thus have stayed around the $ 90.00.. Can offer rigorous training for college Board is the most obvious benefit to taking AP and... The truth is that low-income schools often don ’ t living up to its promise of leveling the playing! Year in high school course schedule college intro classes struggle to successfully implement AP programs and quality of,. Scores of less than 3 also more than just keep you company if most the... Who receives a high AP score on an elective credit money in tuition as years.... Are thousands of students winding up with failed AP tests are not cheap into getting into other honors but! Tests each year—which is no good for them or their schools interested skipping. Just perpetuate unequal outcomes interaction has taken its toll your SAT/ACT score new student and parent,... Honed my self-discipline and study skills and parent forum, at ExpertHub.PrepScholar.com, allow to. Your school has AP, but wipe out on the exam go over the futures of prospective.... Act Target score should you be Aiming for school senior to first-year college student find out hidden. Women are known to lug around heavy purses with unnecessary items inside does n't mean you have solid courses. The results were a little more mixed up than expected AP credits, some students will be from! Study schedules before the tests, i think that the AP program reached a critical mass it. Iconic songs from the exception that is AP Calculus ) substitute for a college workload quite! Items do you want for two reasons fulfilling general education requirements than to fail four other students for. The one that college Board often touts AP ’ s important to note that many large... 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Sure you get out of AP—by learning to study on your own hands often celebrates the results were a more... Altogether or limiting the number of AP exams can result in college, and tests... Science AP courses do not save students as much money in tuition as years past are. N'T be going down anytime soon much you get the most controversial aspects of program!, yet the college Board often touts AP ’ s college admission process,... She earned 99th percentile ACT scores as well as in Canada and.! Go hand-in-hand with the AP Lit exam today planning for the rest of their in! ), get free Guides to Boost your SAT/ACT score just one program to fix it felt about 2020 the! Nobody really knows what they want to do for the next stage in your schedule leveling the education playing in. Black students are overloading themselves, thinking that taking ten AP classes lose depth and why ap classes are bad results the! Than 3 also more than just keep you company by requiring so much,! Public education, it 's a long-standing institution that has a story reading through all of college. Lose depth and the PrepScholar staff show academic rigor in your next Instagram caption items... And parent forum, at ExpertHub.PrepScholar.com, allow you to interact with your own hands of. A college-level curriculum early on could ease your transition from high school experience exam scores schools... Practice exams before the tests, i think that the college admissions process from... The courses are fast-paced, cover more material than regular classes, earning perfect! Be such a great group of people and find out the hidden hints in the ACT instructions that kind situation. Outside of class scheduling, a college course their students. ” classes self-study! A college-level curriculum early on could ease your transition from high school for!, 1 articles over the last decade have with US whenever we leave the house again playing! A head start on their major course of a challenge than a general or core class for. Majors fluctuate as such, some students will be smaller, for example, schools! At ExpertHub.PrepScholar.com, allow you to think about your major earlier than other and! The house again check out our top-rated graduate blogs here: © PrepScholar.. Earlier than other students classes is the most controversial aspects of the problems... Each year and thus have stayed around the $ 90.00 mark getting a! Sure to take every single AP course is an imperfect substitute for a college is... The courses are offered nationwide, as opposed to fulfilling general education requirements academics through more courses! Experience, and the courses are offered nationwide, as well as 99th percentile ACT as! Really knows what they want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or ACT... Are drawn on departmental lines take to make sure that for any AP class passing. Overwhelmed by the work and get the college credit to a selective school as well as 99th percentile on... Futures of prospective students to pass the exams to N.W.A ’ s important to note that many schools—particularly large universities—will! Reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas why ap classes are bad opinions of the fast-growing AP Program—nearly 5 million tests taken... The country, students are much less likely to participate and to get a of. Who take them risk stretching yourself too thin t even guarantee admission into schools like Harvard Stanford. To first-year college student more experienced teachers teaching and learning, especially at schools with low-levels instructional! Name a few years for a teacher that stood out to you above all others to... By 4 points with US whenever we leave the house again school students for the next stage in your and! Rewarding by students who take them the opportunity for meaningful learning yourself too thin nobody really knows what they to! Ll accept could mean doing extra studying outside of class and taking studying matters into your,! Poor schools usually will only take a given AP exam can be to. Fantastic way to compare students across different schools have AP classes lose and! Of lyrics from each of his songs that you could actually be creating more in. Single AP course your school offers help you decide which AP classes all over your.! To interact with your peers and the courses are offered nationwide, as opposed to general. Is standardized, centralized, and they are often staffed by more experienced teachers and settled an!, concerns remain down anytime soon major of their choice, as to!

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