Be Better Prepared for Your College Courses: 10 Benefits of AP Classes
You might be in high school, but you've already got your sights set a few years down the road.
You can't wait to go to college, spread your wings, and dive deeply into the subjects that interest you the most. Yet, before you can get there, you have to turn that tassel.
Advanced Placement classes, or AP classes, can help you get there. These classes are designed to stretch your mind and grow your connections to better prepare you for a rigorous college course load.
On the fence about signing up for some? Today, we're diving into the benefits of AP classes and explaining why it's a smart move to tackle the challenge!
What Are AP Classes?
Before we discuss the benefits of AP and honors classes, it's important to understand how they work.
Advanced Placement is a program distributed throughout the United States and Canada. Created by the College Board, it allows high school students to take college-level curricula. At the end of each course, you can take an AP exam to test your knowledge on the subject.
The Top 10 Benefits of AP Classes
Next, let's take a look at 10 of the top reasons to sign for AP classes at your high school!
1. Save Money on College Tuition
Most AP exams are graded on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest.
Depending on how you score, these exams could help you earn valuable college credit. Most colleges and universities will allow at least some credit for a score of 3 or higher. In some cases, you can even skip certain introductory college courses if you score well enough on your AP exam.
Of course, what does it mean when you bypass or take a shortcut through the traditional schedule of an incoming freshman? You can save money!
For the 2019-2020 school year, the average annual price of tuition and fees and boarding was $30,500. That number could be quite a bit lower for you if you take a few AP classes beforehand!
2. Look Great on Your Application
Admissions officers are naturally discerning. They're looking for students who are conscientious and dedicated. When your application lists AP courses, it's an automatic nod to your work ethic and desire to learn.
Even if your final exam scores aren't where you'd like them to be, the fact that you took a chance and tried a college-level course as a high-schooler speaks volumes.
3. Graduate Early
As mentioned, many colleges allow students to earn credit for the AP classes they take, granted that their exam scores are high enough. This step alone can put you on a faster track to graduation.
With your introductory courses already behind you, you might be able to dive straight into your spring semester, even before autumn is over. This is a pattern that you can continue until you've earned enough credit and you're ready to graduate!
4. Improve Your Scholarship Odds
Research from the College Board reveals that 31% of colleges will consider a student's AP experience when determining who will receive scholarship awards.
Similar to admissions officers, financial officers are also impressed with AP credentials. Especially if you're already anticipating that tuition expenses will be a strain, this is an excellent way to get one foot in the door.
5. Better Prepare for College
It's no secret that the transition from high school life to college life can be a little jarring. It can be difficult to go from a relatively laidback high school schedule to the fast-paced and regimented routine of university academics.
If you've taken AP classes, you're already one step ahead of the pack. You have taken a deep dive into higher-level learning and are prepared for the dedication it requires.
6. Find Time to Expand Your Education
Thanks to their AP classes, many students decide to graduate early. An alternate route is to make good use of that time saved, expanding your education to fill the gap.
Have you always thought about adding a minor? What about pursuing a double major? Do you want to start graduate school early?
Your classes afford you the flexibility you need, as you aren't on a time crunch to graduate. You might even choose to study abroad!
7. Discover Your Major Early
Not many college freshmen know exactly what they want to study as soon as they step foot on campus. If you're still undecided, it can help to take AP courses on the subjects that interest you the most.
For instance, say you love writing and plan to major in English at college. Taking an AP English class in your senior year of high school can help you decide if you want to stick with the topic for years to come.
8. Take Elective Courses
Have you ever wanted to learn basket weaving? What about art history or nutrition?
Even if these subjects aren't exactly related to your major, they can be fun and entertaining to discover. When you're working ahead of schedule thanks to your AP classes, you have more room to squeeze in such electives.
9. Look Great to Future Employers
Want to stand out on your future resume and rise to the top of the candidate pool? Listing your AP coursework on your resume is a great way to demonstrate your drive.
You can include a short, separate section that lists all of your academic awards and honors, including any affiliations and memberships you're involved in, such as the Honor Society.
10. Challenge Yourself
In addition to the academic and professional benefits of taking AP classes, don't forget to consider the personal ones, too.
When you take a college-level course, you're challenging yourself and stretching your limits. This helps sharpen your critical-thinking, self-confidence, and even time management skills. These are traits that you can carry with you for the rest of your life!
Challenge Yourself and Soar to New Heights
High school is full of big decisions. Are you wondering if the benefits of AP classes outweigh the responsibility?
The answer is "yes". These courses are a great stepping stone toward your future college and career. They help grow your talent, improve your character, and stretch your mind.
If you're looking for another way to stand out on campus, we'd love to connect. The Honor Society signifies strength and honor, and we're proud of the reputation that precedes us and our student learners. Contact us today to learn more!