Are you a student wondering whether you should take the Advanced Placement class or how many courses it entails? Here’s a detailed article highlighting all the facts you need to know about the AP program, including recommended AP classes for different people. The last thing you may want to do is take more course load than you can handle, and that’s why we’ve prepared this guide to help. Read on to find out everything you should know about the AP program and the right amount of classes for you.
What are AP Classes in High School?
AP stands for “advance placement,” It is a program organized by the college board to introduce young high school students to the basic curriculum they are expected to offer in college. The courses offered in the advanced placement program are often more complicated than the regular courses offered in high school, but students can also get real college credits from this program even before graduating high school.
A panel of expert educators first accredits courses before they are introduced into this program. The curriculums created by the College Board are also subject to approval from this panel. Also, there are specific standards that these curricula must meet before the course is even considered for designation into the AP program. And if the course is seen fit for the program, it gains a public listing into the program ledger. An Examination is often organized for the students to test their knowledge of what they have learned during the program. They are given credits accordingly afterward.
The College Board oversees the AP program, and they have been in charge since 1955. Their main aim is to develop high school students and give them a peep of what to expect in college. They also help to influence their choices of where and what to study in college. Many high schools in the United States have adopted this initiative for their students, and they have made the program available for all interested students. However, the board has made the exams open, and any student can take the AP examination regardless of whether they participated in the program or not.
Why You Should Take AP Classes in High School?
The benefits of AP classes are pretty numerous, to begin with, which is why over 60% of eligible institutions have already registered for the program. And while it can easily be taken for granted by some schools that are not fully aware of how much this program can help their students, other high schools who are enlightened enough have quickly made this program available for their students to benefit from. As a student, taking AP classes offers you more than just the immediate, obvious benefits that include extra knowledge and understanding of college courses and ideal universities. But it also provides you with future opportunities that can have significant bearings on your time in college. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most significant things you stand to gain from taking AP classes, among others.
- College Credits: Yes, it is possible to accumulate college credits while still in high school. And of the numerous options that offer this opportunity, the AP program is considered one of the best because it allows students to start earning college credits right from their junior high school year. Imagine how much college credit you would have acquired by the time you are due for college.
- Saves Time: AP classes are taken concurrently along with high school classes, which means that you do not have to set aside a different time for it. But it even gets better because the program serves as an introduction to college courses. And if you are successful in these courses, you can skip introductory classes once you get into college and save up the time it takes to go through them for something else.
- Financial Benefits: The economic benefit of taking AP classes is very significant as you can save up thousands of dollars in the process. It is pretty straightforward; the more college credits you accumulate, the fewer courses you have to offer when you get to college. This automatically translates to a lesser tuition fee than you would have been expected to pay.
How Many AP Classes Does the Average Student Take?
The benefits of taking AP classes have never been a reason for doubt. Moreover, these benefits make the classes more fun and enticing. But it is crucial to note that AP classes are a lot more complex than the regular high school classes, which means that there are only so many that you can take at a time to prevent it from affecting your present school work. Taking too many AP classes along with your high school curriculum is generally not a healthy practice, as the stress involved can affect your mental and physical health significantly. The extra time it takes up can also affect your high school work, resulting in a drastic decline in your GPA. Therefore, here is an analysis of how many AP classes are too many and how many are too few.
While you are in high school, your priorities should circle around doing well in your current classes before you start to consider taking up any additional classes. On that note, you should not attempt to take up to 8 AP classes unless you are applying for a highly selective university, as it may prove to be too much workload to handle in high school. In fact, most students aiming to get admitted into an average college often only take between 4 to 6 AP classes, which has proved to be sufficient most times.
What is the Recommended Number of Classes to Take Per Year?
AP classes are often split between each high school year to make them as convenient as they can be for any student. And since AP classes are always more difficult than the regular high school coursework, it wouldn’t be advisable to take too many in any of your high school years. But you are to distribute them as evenly as possible and make sure you are not overloading the AP courses for one or two years alone. The less work will give you more time to study each course and prepare adequately for the examination while still having enough time to focus on your high school curriculum.
Knowing how many AP classes are too much in one year can help you figure out how to distribute your classes evenly through your high school years. While 8 – 12 AP classes are often required of students applying for selective colleges, it would be way too difficult to take up five classes per year. For such students, 3 – 4 classes per year are the most ideal. But for students applying for average universities, two classes per year and three at most will be sufficient to cover up all your AP courses.
5 Key Factors to Consider when Choosing AP Classes
One frequently recurring question among high school students and college aspirants is, “how do I choose my AP classes?” There are 38 AP courses available for selection in total. It is often tricky deciding which AP classes to choose when the time comes, especially among students who are not too conversant with the idea. Here are some factors to consider to help ease the selection process for you.
1. Past Scores
Because the grades you acquire from the AP examination have a massive significance on the amount of credit you can accumulate, it would be best to select courses that you will perform best at. You can check your previous high school scores to see which courses your strong subjects fit into.
2. Future Plans
This factor is significant and is a bigger determinant. The AP classes you choose to participate in can significantly affect what you will major in once you get to college. Therefore, if you already have a dream career in mind, you must choose the recommended AP classes that relate to your dream career.
3. AP Policies and your School
Some high schools do not offer all the courses in the AP program for one reason or the other. And because you have a lot to learn before taking the AP exams, you are advised to select your courses from the list of courses available in your school.
4. College Preference
The specific classes colleges look for while checking the qualifications of prospective students are primary requirements, and it would be best for you to consider the course preferences of your desired institution before registering for AP classes.
5. Maintain a Balance
Experts often recommend balance in the way you spread your AP classes throughout the year and in the courses you choose. While colleges may be looking out to see how well you’ll excel in your chosen field, they’ll also like to know what skills you possess in other areas. There’s probably no better way to demonstrate this than through success in your AP exams. For example, students looking to major in history need to do well in AP World History and AP US History. However, it won’t be a bad idea to also take AP Calculus or AP Physics to prove your versatility in other fields to the college.
How to Get into AP Classes in High School?
AP classes are often very challenging, and the exams even more difficult. But getting into an AP class is considerably straightforward as long as you go about it the right way. Firstly, registration for the AP program is done through your school rather than the AP website. The registration should be done at the beginning of the school year, and you are expected to join the online classes after completing the registration.
You can refer to the AP counselor in your school if you experience difficulty in the registration process. Your counselor is also equipped to help you with your AP course selection process and any other inquiry you wish to make.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Get into AP Classes in High School?
That’s it, a detailed look at vital information that will help you successfully get into AP classes. As seen in the article, AP classes have so many benefits for aspiring college students. Beyond boosting your high school GPA, it also improves your chances of getting into college. However, we typically recommend that you limit the number of advanced courses you choose to suit your academic interests and current schedule. Getting into AP classes shouldn’t be too difficult for you if you know what it entails. Knowing facts like how many AP classes are too much in one year would help you understand the proper steps to mitigate the process. You can also enquire from your school counselor to be sure about what applies in your district.
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