AP classes offer exciting academic challenges, chances for deep discussion, and college benefits. Deciding whether to enroll in AP classes and how many to take is a big decision for high school students. When deciding, it’s important for students to remain honest about what they can and can’t handle.
What are Advanced Placement Classes?
Advanced Placement classes, commonly shortened to AP classes, are college-level classes offered to high school students. These courses help students prepare for, and adjust to, the rigors of higher education prior to graduating high school. Upon completion, students typically sit for the AP exam in their chosen subject to earn college credits and advanced placement.
AP classes are administered by The College Board and cover various subject areas. Students have the option to take courses based on personal interests or to fulfill college prerequisite requirements. While these courses are free for high school students, they must pay to take the corresponding AP exam.
Who Can Take AP Classes?
Any high school or high school aged student interested in AP classes can take them. However, each high school has different requirements for when students can enroll in AP classes. Some high schools allow students to take AP classes as early as 9th grade.
Others may have recommended prerequisites students must complete, or rules students must meet prior to enrolling in AP classes.
AP classes and coursework can be accessed online for homeschooled, independent study, or online learners. These options make AP classes accessible to high school aged virtual or homeschooled students. They may also provide access to more program options beyond what’s offered to traditional high school students.
Homeschooled students can self-study for most AP Exams. However, we highly recommend taking the corresponding course before taking the exam. Independent study or online students interested in taking an AP Exam must find a local high school or testing center.
Students can ask a counselor if their school or center administers the corresponding AP Exam.
2 Things to Consider Regarding AP Classes
Deciding if, how many, and when to take AP classes are huge decisions for high school students. Like all choices, deciding to take AP classes has pros and cons. Understanding each allows students to make an informed decision related to their academic career.
When making a choice, it’s important for students to remain honest about what they can and cannot handle. AP classes come with time constraints which may conflict with extracurriculars. This could lead to burnout and stress which may negatively impact focus and performance.
Some students may want to take more than one AP class to maximize the number of college credits earned. Keep in mind, AP classes are typically weighted which could raise or lower a student’s current high school GPA. This impact could be worsened if a student struggles with AP workloads.
We recommend starting with one AP class to experience and adjust to the demands of AP courses. If students believe they can handle multiple AP classes the following year, we encourage them to try. As wonderful as AP scores can be for college applications, academics are not the only aspect colleges consider.
Colleges consider extracurriculars, clubs, volunteer opportunities, and other application aspects alongside academics. Having a well-rounded application with positive scores in regular classes is preferred to academic heavy applications with low scores.
4 Benefits of AP Classes
AP classes come with a variety of benefits in high school and college. They can help students discover new passions, test out of introductory level college courses, and increase high school GPAs.
Exposure to Higher-Level Learning
AP classes let students experience college-level education prior to enrolling. This exposure helps students adjust to the pacing, workload, and expectations of college courses. It also helps students strengthen existing critical thinking, research, academic writing, and time management skills.
These courses provide an academic challenge for students and an opportunity to deepen their connection with the material.
Discover Your Academic Passions
The College Board offers 38 AP courses across disciplines such as Arts, World Languages and Culture, and History. Students can choose courses to complete prerequisite classes prior to starting college or based on personal interests. AP courses expose students to more subject matter and learning opportunities than high school curriculums.
This exposure simulates the variety of majors and fields of studies available to college students. It can allow students to discover new fields of interests or delve deeper into existing interests. Regardless of why students choose specific courses, each course provides invaluable student experience, discussion, and skills.
Earn College Credits & Advanced Placement
Course credits are a recognition of a student’s academic accomplishment. Advanced placement shows a student’s mastery over elementary topics and concepts related to a specific subject. Earning advanced placement for college allows students to test out of introductory level courses.
To earn advanced placement or college credits, students must take and pass the corresponding AP Exam. AP exams are graded on a scale of 1 to 5, with scores 3 and above being preferred results. AP exam scores indicate to colleges how qualified a test taker is to receive college credit.
Each college or university has its own policies regarding AP credit. Most colleges and universities use qualifying AP Exam scores to grant course credit, advanced placement, or both. Earning a qualifying AP exam score can help save time, money, and get a head start on college credits.
Stand Out from Other Applicants
High school students who passed their AP classes have demonstrated their ability to excel in and adjust to rigorous courseloads. Research shows students with AP experience have an increased probability of college success and completion on time. Even students with low AP Exam scores are predicted to have better college outcomes than freshman peers without AP experience.
Taking an AP class increases a student’s chances of being accepted into their dream college. Completing AP courses and earning high AP exam scores can qualify students for additional scholarships.
Prepare AP Exams with C2
At C2 Education, we understand the difference having high AP Exam scores can make. We also understand how overwhelming it can feel when preparing for multiple AP Exams at the same time. Our AP Exam Experts as well as customized Exam Prep and AP Bootcamp curriculums can help ease this strain.
We create customized plans for each student based on their individual strengths and weaknesses. Students can work through practice exams to build their confidence and familiarity with each exam. We help students focus on one subject at a time and develop healthy study habits for balancing multiple subjects.
Our AP Boot Camps offer 50-hour and 80-hour customized programs designed to help maximize a student’s AP scores. We know how hard every student has worked in their AP classes. Let us help make sure this effort counts.
AP classes can be beneficial for students interested in preparing for college workloads prior to high school graduation. They strengthen existing technical skills, pose an academic challenge, and expose students to more topics offered to high school students. They also help students to understand the expectations of college-level education.
We believe every student in AP classes deserves to make the most of their AP exam scores. Our Exam Experts are ready to provide support, tips and tricks for success, and individualized attention.
Ready to help your student ace their AP exam? Call us at (888) 312-3814 or submit this form to learn more.