It’s that time of year again which means it’s time to pick out classes for the upcoming school year. As a student at the Arts Academy, I know that this can be a stressful time. You’re anxious about taking the right classes, getting the right credits, and making sure that everything is just right. I’ve heard a lot of conversations about picking classes, but the thing I hear most is students talking about whether or not they want to take an AP class. If you’re on the fence about taking an AP class, I think I might be able to help you.
To start off, you should know what AP means, because it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into. AP stands for advanced placement, and classes that have the title of ‘AP’ are associated with the college board. If you complete AND pass the class, you will be granted ‘college credit’ which is based on a point system that acknowledges that you can handle college-level classes.
One big benefit of taking an AP class while still in high school is that it shows colleges that you are capable of handling college-level classes. It proves to college admissions that you will be advanced and mature enough to take on college-level classes once you are admitted into the university. They will have no reason to believe that you’ll be a waste of their time, so they are more apt to accept you.
AP classes do tend to require more effort and dedication than regular honors classes due to the rigorous curriculum and high standards, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking an AP class.
With that being said, if you are really struggling to understand the material being taught in one of your honors classes, I don’t think that taking an AP class would be the smartest decision. Ex: you almost failed Biology, then decided to take AP Bio the following year. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is important to challenge yourself and take tough classes, but finding a good balance is key. Find a balance of moderate classes and rigorous ones. This will ensure that you will stay busy, but not be overwhelmed when the 3rd quarter rolls around.
Research shows that colleges like seeing AP classes on transcripts, but they don’t always use that as a determining factor for admissions. Yes, colleges look at your APs, but that doesn’t mean that you have the upper hand over someone who didn’t take any APs. I’m definitely not saying that AP classes are unimportant, but they might not have the importance you thought they had.
Just to sum this all up, taking AP classes are a good way to challenge yourself academically. If you’re acing almost every assignment and test in a certain class, go challenge yourself and take an AP class. APs also impress some colleges and prove that you can study at a high level. AP classes are not mandatory, but if you do decide to take one, you’ll have to put in a little extra effort. Thankfully, even if you don’t take an AP class, you’ll still have a perfectly good chance of being accepted into a college.
So, should you take an AP class next year? Unfortunately, I can’t make that decision for you, but I hope that the topics I addressed in this article can be of help to you in making the decision easier.
I wasn’t originally going to take any AP classes. Ever. However, I will be a Junior next year, and I’ve decided to take AP Language. That will be my first time taking an AP class, even though I’ve been offered APs since 8th grade. So, I just wanted to point out that there’s no hurry to squeeze in as many AP classes as possible. Pace yourself, challenge yourself, and go with the flow. I promise you’ll be just fine.