While a good grade in an AP class looks impressive on a transcript, a bad grade can be equally as lousy. High school students often find themselves in a dilemma of whether or not to stack their schedule up with advanced classes midst confusion of how these classes can affect their chances of admission.
Hopefully, the following list of merits and consequences of AP classes, will get you a step further in deciding what is best for you when it comes to deciding your course schedule:
Merits of taking AP classes:
1. AP classes will allow you to get a feel of college-level workload.
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By taking an AP class, you will essentially be emerging yourself with college-level work while in high school. Challenging yourself in this manner will give you an idea of what to expect when it comes to college-level workload.
2. AP classes will allow you to acquire the skills you need for a successful college career.
Balancing AP classes along with multiple extracurriculars and a social life is no joke but, through experiencing this struggle, you will undoubtedly improve your time management and study skills - which will become all the more important in the future.
3. You will have support from your teachers to succeed in AP classes.
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Teachers understand that you are just a high school student so, chances are, they will be willing to explain details to you if are having trouble. Your teachers are your best resources, so don’t be afraid to reach out. If teachers themselves don’t understand some of the material, don’t be afraid to ask for extra resources.
4. AP classes give you the opportunity to earn college credit before you even step into college!
The purpose of taking AP classes is to prepare for AP exams that are administered in May. If you do well on these AP exams, you will be able to earn college credit, freeing up your time in college to take other courses that pique your interest.
But, keep in mind that it is still possible to take an AP test without taking an AP class, as long as you are willing to self-study in your own time. So if your school does not offer an AP course that you really want to take, look into learning the material yourself!
Downsides of taking AP classes:
1. If you are not willing to do the work, an AP class might actually hurt your GPA.
AP classes are more challenging and time consuming than regular and honors classes. So you need to be able to rise to the demand of the increasing workload. Otherwise, you may end up with a worse grade than you would of if you took that same class at a honors level.
2. AP classes might divert your energy away from other things in your schedule.
Going back to the whole idea of AP classes taking too much of your time, they might lessen your ability to focus on other things such as extracurriculars and having a social life. Though grades and GPA are important on a college application, extracurriculars are equally as important, if not more important during the admissions process.
And having a social life is important to keep you sane during your high school career; don’t forget to spend time with friends and family once in a while!
3. AP classes might not result in actually immersing yourself in the material.
A fundamental goal of taking an AP class should be to immerse yourself in material that you find interesting and valuable. However, students may find themselves being forced to memorize information for the sake of passing in-class tests and the AP exam. So rather than finding new interests, students may find themselves with more stress and anxiety.
The definition of success will vary from student to student - that’s why there is no one best approach when tackling AP classes. For one student, success may be to getting straight A’s in all the classes they are taking. For another student, success may be scarifying straight A’s to instead earn relatively good grades while diving deep into extracurriculars.
However you decide to approach AP classes, remember to ask yourself, “What is the most challenging schedule I can handle while still being a successful student?”