Are AP Courses Worth the Extra Effort?

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Advanced Placement (AP) courses are more demanding and intense than honors or standard high school classes, but are they worth all of that effort? There are several considerations for whether you or your student should sign up for that daunting AP courses.

Meet the challenge: AP courses are more rigorous than standard or honor classes, and they encourage students to think at a deeper, analytical level. If you know that you're particularly gifted in the subject, it might be a good idea to rise to the challenge.

Stand Out: With AP classes on your transcripts, colleges know that you're willing to challenge yourself and that you'll be successful in a more intense environment. AP courses are college level, so it makes sense that colleges would feel you're more prepared for college with AP experience.

Save Money: Passing an AP end-of-course exam means that you could earn college credits, which would save you time and money. College courses can cost thousands of dollars, which makes the AP course test cost of around $90 seem like a steal. Most colleges accept passing AP scores for undergraduate credit; however, to see your prospective college's credit policy, check out College Board's search.

College Readiness: The expectation in college and in AP courses is that the student starts to take ownership of the learning, and a lot more work is done that focuses on critical thinking. This increased challenge could help students determine their major, or prepare them for the rigor of college. The quick pace and deep thinking are a good way of evaluating college readiness as well as determining whether or not that major is for you!

Tips for Success:

Limit your APs: If one AP at a time is good; four is even better, right? Not necessarily. A workload like that could mean that you're unable to be successful in any of the classes, much less when you consider the need to balance family and athletic obligations. It's better to choose a couple courses, and spend your energy and time on specializing on the topics in which you're passionate.

Work with your college/academic counselor: Your adviser will know your educational history and whether or not AP is the right route for you. If you didn't get an A in the AP prerequisite course, they can help you evaluate whether or not the rigor of AP is the right choice. For more information on whether or not AP is the right fit for you, along with other college and academic needs, contact the TCCS Academic Dean and Secondary College Counselor, Cindy Warner. 

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