Are you a high school student wondering if AP classes are truly worth it in your pursuit of college admissions? If yes, this article answers all your questions on this. AP classes have become so popular over the years, yet not many people know whether it’s right for them. Despite the hype, it all boils down to what you want and how you intend to pursue it. However, with more and more colleges looking at the possibility of using programs like AP classes and IB as additional criteria to determine students’ preparedness for college, there seems to be no better time to pursue an AP certification than now. If you are torn between deciding what’s best for you, read this detailed article on AP classes and their relevance in your pursuit of college admissions.
What are AP Classes in High School?
AP Classes is a short form for Advancement Placement classes, and the College Board develops it to help acquaint high school students with college-level classes before they get into college. The program also serves as a means for students to earn college credits while still in high school. Bear in mind that these courses are typically more complex than the regular high school classes, so you’ll need to work harder to understand the topics. You’ll also need to write and pass an AP exam to gain college credits at the end of the year.
The exam serves as a test to know whether you’ve learned what you were taught throughout the year. You’ll be scored on a scale of 1-5, and you’ll need to score a minimum of 3 to pass. However, some schools will not accept anything less than 4’s for credit. Taking the classes and passing the exam that follows are signs of how prepared you are for college. Additionally, it can give you some advantages as you search for admission.
Do AP Classes Really Matter?
The simple answer to the above question is “yes, AP classes matter.” There’s no debate that course rigor plays an important role when competitive colleges judge their admission process. After all, they typically want to ensure that the students they admit have the intellectual capacity to handle a challenging academic workload. Additionally, AP classes are designed to nurture and prepare high school students for the rigor that comes with college work. Results from several studies already show that high school students who take AP classes would be more likely to get into college and graduate with better grades.
What are the Benefits of Taking AP Classes in High School?
With the number of students taking AP classes rapidly increasing, it’s easy to see that there are numerous benefits to taking the classes. Yes, there’s no doubt that these classes help students earn college credits while in high school. However, there are several other benefits to it beyond that, and these benefits push more high school students into taking AP classes. If you are wondering whether taking AP classes is worth it, here are some significant benefits of taking AP classes in high school.
It allows you to save money on tuition
This benefit may not be so obvious, but it’s true. Since most colleges allow AP exam scores to count for some extra credit, you can be guaranteed that these credits would put you at an advantage even if you decide to skip some introductory college courses.
Put simply; you could save up substantial amounts from your college tuition by taking AP classes and passing their exams in high school. Apart from the money you could save skipping these introductory classes, passing AP exams creates the possibility of graduating early from college, so you’ll save thousands of dollars in tuition.
Allows for quicker graduation
If you do a little research on the average time it takes to get a bachelor’s degree; you might be surprised at what you’ll find. We did our research and found that the average time it takes for most students to earn a bachelor’s degree is six and a half months. While this may seem like a norm, we also found that the time is shorter for students who began college within a year of graduating from high school.
The credits earned from AP classes can put you at an advantage to graduate even sooner because it takes away a bulk of the job you’ll need to do in introductory college classes. In addition to helping you save on tuition, this speed will also help you save on other living expenses in college.
AP classes can give you advantage during college admission process
One of the main focuses of college admission officers when admitting students is the capability of students to handle the college curriculum. They typically look at applications in view of what students did in high school. Beyond your academic ability, they’ll also lookout for how you can handle challenging course loads. AP classes are one of the easiest ways they can see your commitment to education. It also shows them that you can challenge yourself to handle hefty course loads in college.
It offers you more flexibility in college
Since AP classes allow you to put several basic classes out of the way, you’ll have enough space to add another major or minor to your course work. You can take more electives or study in different terrain and still graduate on time. Students that are considering pursuing multiple interests can pursue such interests. With AP classes allowing you to add another major or minor, you can diversify your learning as much as possible. One of the benefits of a college education over high school is the ability to explore classes outside your requirements. You can be guaranteed enough free spaces to add more elective courses outside your major with AP classes.
Earning college credits
Taking AP classes in high school offers you the potential to earn college credits before setting foot on a college campus. Students will earn college credit when they score between 3 and above on an AP test. The college credits students make are essential in calculating the cost of tuition, residency, and minimum degree requirements and determining students’ grade point average (GPA). In addition, having college credits will help a student to qualify for a federal loan or grant.
Furthermore, students who pass their AP classes can often skip introductory courses in college, allowing them to move ahead quickly through their major coursework.
What are the Best AP Classes to Take in High School?
With the baby benefits that AP classes offer, it’s not surprising that so many high schools recommend the program for their students. After all, it helps them save so no much time and money when they get to college. However, AP classes can also be tricky, and your scores (whether pass or fail) will reflect on your transcript, affecting your admission chances. The first step to passing the AP program is choosing the right classes for you. Unfortunately, not many people know that different majors require different AP class combinations. A good percentage of the few that know mostly fail in choosing the right combination for each major. Here, let’s review some of the best class combinations for different majors.
Best AP classes for pre-med students
If you are interested in studying medicine in high school, we recommend focusing on science AP classes to help you prepare for the rigorousness that comes with medical school. Some of the best classes to choose for this field include
Best AP classes for business majors
One of the first things you learn about business is that it’s an expensive academic field that features so many employment opportunities. Therefore, the competition to get into business school in college is typically fierce, and students with a well-rounded educational experience in business-related courses would have more advantages. A background in psychology would also help you understand the mental processes of potential customers. Here are some of the subjects to focus on for potential business students.
Best AP Classes for Engineering Majors
One of the most significant advantages of taking AP classes for aspiring engineering students is that it allows them to apply the skills learned to almost all types of engineering departments in colleges. Here are the best AP courses for you if you fall into this category of students
- AP Calculus A/B
- AP Calculus B/C
- AP Physics 1
- AP Physics 2
- AP Biology
- AP Computer Science
- AP Economics (macro)
- AP Chemistry
Best AP Classes for Potential Law Students
Although Law is often classified as a faculty in the school of arts, it still usually requires unique skills and abilities in students. This is why potential law students may find themselves taking different pathways from pure art students in the AP program. Some of the most important classes for potential law students include
Best AP Classes for Art Students
Every art-related field can benefit from pure art classes in the AP program. However, some of the essential classes include:
- AP World History
- AP Art History
- AP US History
- AP European History
- AP English
- AP Music Theory
How Many Classes Can You Take in High School?
There’s never been a reason to doubt the benefits of AP classes. Moreover, these benefits make the program more enticing and competitive. However, you must note that AP classes are typically more complex than they look on the surface level. Therefore, it’s essential to watch the number of AP classes you can pick to not affect your present school work. It’s a no-brainer that combining too many AP classes with your high school work is not a healthy practice since it can cause an extreme level of stress that will affect your physical and mental health.
Additionally, the extra time it’ll take to pass these classes can affect your high school work, often resulting in a significant decline in your CGPA. This is where moderation comes in, but many students often get confused about the right amount of AP classes. This section seeks to analyze how many AP classes are enough for any high school student.
Bear in mind that your priorities in high school should typically focus on passing your current class before you consider taking any more classes. On that note, we advise that students do not take up to 8 AP classes unless they are applying for a very selective university. Selecting too many classes may become more workload than you can handle. In fact, we recommend sticking to between 4 and 6 AP classes if you are aiming for average classes.
Do Colleges Look at AP Classes in High School?
Yes, colleges like both AP classes and your high school honors. Many high schools weigh your AP results heavily on your transcript, despite the relatively rigorous nature of the program. Good AP scores prove to colleges that you are ready to succeed at college-level work.
The bottom line is that college admission officers are looking to see whether you can challenge yourself academically, and nothing proves this to them than your ability to excel in AP classes. Check with your school counselor to find out how to get into AP classes in high school.
Wrapping Things Up: Is It Worth Taking Classes in High School?
Having looked at everything we’ve reviewed in this article, it’s easy to tell that AP classes have many benefits for high school students. However, despite all these fascinating benefits, it’s still important that students know their limits and where to stop. Before determining what classes would suit your needs, consider the course load for each of the classes you are signing up for. Remember that high school doesn’t only entail taking as many courses as you want to. You also want to ensure that you are choosing courses that offer you a comparative advantage in boosting your academic scores and increasing your chances of earning college admissions. In the end, it’s crucial to properly blend AP classes with your schoolwork while leaving yourself enough chance to socialize.