05 November 2011

The Value of AP Classes

Almost everyone hates AP classes. Parents hate them, students hate them, schools hate them, even colleges are wary of them. In high school, these AP classes add a significant amount of work to the regular student schedule. Active students who play sports and are involved in their community are often forced to sacrifice leisure time or hours otherwise spend sleeping in order to finish their AP work.

Then the AP test comes in May, and the last 2 or 3 weeks in April are an endless cramming session. For students who take multiple AP tests, it seems like the work will never end. I know because I went through it just like every other high school student. It does, however, pay off.

As a college student right now, I am very happy that I took AP classes. First off, I started my freshman year with 17 AP credits; a standard college semester is only 16. I have friends with over 20 AP credit. This can mean many things depending on how you look at it. If I decide to graduate a semester early using my AP credits to fulfill electives, then I can save a lot of money, somewhere around $20,000. My particular school requires 4 years of study to graduate, but many others will let students graduate early.

What AP credits mean for me is that I can pursue minors and/or take other classes that interest me besides those in my major. I could also take a slightly easier workload every semester and still graduate on time. With this approach, I could dedicate more time to running this website along with others, and possibly find other jobs. There will be more time to socialize as well, but that is not everything. Knowing that I will be able to graduate in 4 years takes off a lot of stress.

My particular credits also mean that I can spend time studying abroad without fear of falling behind. Some classes in foreign universities might not be recognized at my university, but with credits already stacked up, I won’t need to worry.

Finally, there is the value of taking a college “level” class in high school. Although college classes are nothing like high school classes, there is no question that AP better prepares students for the vigor of college. 100 pages of reading per class seems like nothing after doing it for years in high school. Additionally, much of the knowledge learned in AP classes can be directly applied to college. I draw upon knowledge from AP History, Gov, and English classes every day because it makes a substantial part of my academic core. Science and Math classes act the same way for engineers and physicists.

Hopefully, you will think differently about AP classes in the future. Yes, they are a lot of hard work but the work will come sooner or later. Is it not better to get accustomed to it early on? In hindsight, even though I hated the work at the time, I am very glad that I took so many AP’s in high school. My words of wisdom to all students are this: It gets better.


Aristotle Circle said...

Not everyone hates AP classes - college admissions officers like to see them on incoming students transcripts. Here's advice from an Ivy League admissions officer:

A student should try to take as many AP classes as possible...that said, in the debate between getting good grades and taking the harder courses...I advise students towards the former.”

Read more insights and tips: http://www.aristotlecircle.com/blog/qa-college-experts

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