Today’s post brings us to the topic of Advanced Placement courses. There are many good reasons why you should consider enrolling in AP courses during your high school years. Of course, there’s love of learning and personal development – take AP courses because you’re genuinely interested in the material! The College Board’s AP program offers over 30 different subjects, so there are bound to be some that strike your fancy. Your humble blogger, years ago, took a handful of APs, and even now I look back on them as among my favorite high school courses.
Furthermore, having a few APs under your belt can really help you in the college admissions process! For example, if I’m considering applying to a number of schools in Massachusetts, but I haven’t taken any APs in high school, my Admitster projections for these schools looks like this:
Now, with all else remaining constant, when I take three AP courses, on which my average score is a 4, my projections improve to:
Finally, when I take 6 AP courses, on which my average score is a 4.5, my projections are:
As you can see, taking more AP courses didn’t affect my chances of admission at my reach (Harvard) and safety (UMass Boston) schools, but it did significantly improve my chances of getting into schools in the middle of my portfolio (Northeastern and Amherst). As the AP Students website points out, taking AP courses can also:
- Show prospective colleges and universities that you’re a serious student
- Allow you to earn college credit
- Help you to save money on college tuition
Click here for a list of AP courses! Do you see some that look interesting but aren’t offered at your high school? Not to worry! If you’re motivated, you can take AP courses online. See, for instance, Apex Learning Virtual School, The Virtual High School, The Keystone School, and/or National University Virtual High School. Some colleges and universities also offer online AP courses. See, for instance, here and here.
On a related note, did you know that you can take an AP test without actually enrolling in the corresponding AP class? This isn’t recommended if you know very little about the material, of course, and the point of the class is, after all, to prepare you for the test. Still, if you’re, for instance, fluent in French, then you can sign up to take the AP French Language and Culture test, and you’ll likely do well. In terms of preparing, the College Board website is a great resource for information on the tests themselves (in terms of what to expect) and also includes a trove of practice questions.
Finally, if you feel that you just can’t afford to take AP exams (the fee for each test is $91), know that fee reductions and subsidies are available. Taking AP courses really is a worthwhile use of your time – not only will you learn a great deal, but you’ll also give yourself a great boost in the college admissions process!