How hard is it to get into a top college without having taken any AP classes?
I'm a High school junior who hasn't taken any AP classes but I'm planning on taking them as a senior.
It's great that you're considering these factors for getting into top schools. Before we get into an actual answer, keep in mind that getting into good programs often has a big component of luck beyond your immediate control, and will be difficult no matter what.
At top schools, most people will have taken at least some AP courses. This can be seen as being almost as much correlation as it is causation, since people who have the opportunity to take many AP courses tend to also be from well-off backgrounds and have a higher all-around chance of getting in. Admissions committees may take into account the opportunities available to you in your school, neighborhood, city, and even state. For reference, I attended and was comfortably in the middle of the pack at two of the best engineering schools for undergraduate and then graduate studies, so I'll provide a glimpse of what I saw in my classmates (as an undergraduate myself) and in my undergraduate students (as a graduate teaching assistant, or basically another lecturer). Some incoming freshmen represented the US in the International Mathematics Olympiad, yet I had friends and students who came in without AP calculus or not knowing trigonometry because their schools didn't offer or teach the subjects well, and/or were from states that by some popular metrics lagged behind the country in education. Of course those examples aren't the norm, but as others have also hinted at, my friends and students without AP calculus or trigonometry still had good grades, interesting extracurricular and life experiences, and an inner drive. These all made for compelling stories that they told well in their applications.
Good luck with school and the application process!
Is it Ivy League schools?
Whether it is an Ivy League or State Universities- it matters how well you have challenged yourselves?
If you have not taken AP courses, have you done well with high GPA by taking high level courses?
What have you done in extracurricular activities since your Freshman year?
Have you made a difference in the community by helping or tutoring or other volunteering activities?
Have you played sports? Did you play competitive sports to do well?
Taking AP courses is just one criteria amongst many.
Recommendation letters, SAT score, how well you write an essay and the subject along with what is mentioned above makes a whole application eye-catching to get an admission.
FYI - my son was offered admission at a premier private university in PA but $0 in scholarships so he took the scholarship from the state university and finished his engineering to get a job that paid in six figures salary plus signing bonus plus stock options in WA more than 6 years ago.
He has no regrets not going to famous (prestigious) school.
It is not the school but what you do and how well you do makes the difference.
AP classes are bonuses. They can boost your portfolio. However, if you don't do well in them, then there is no point in showcasing badly done AP classes for your college admission. Essentially, doing well in normal classes even without AP ones can give a very good chance to get into top college.
Top colleges also look at students' traits other than grades. They see what you have done outside of school: volunteering or internships, they see what you do in school: clubs and activities, leadership positions.
Consider all these and you will be good to go!
I also only had 7 AP classes and got into good schools. Personally, I believe that there are otrher factors that contribute to an outstanding application such as internbship and research experience, volunteer work, and recommendation letters.
Do not worry about your academics too much-. Colleges look for a person that is passionate in a specific area. Taking AP levels is just one possibility to prove your interest in your future career path.