Frequently Asked Questions About AP Classes and College Admission
AP classes in high school >> Do colleges care about AP classes?
As a high school student or parent of a high school student, you’re no doubt wondering if taking AP classes will help with college admission. Below you’ll find the most common questions asked by students and parents, along with our responses.
How important are AP classes for college admission?
Generally speaking, admissions officers at colleges and universities like to see a transcript that shows you’ve challenged yourself—and done well. Advanced Placement (AP) classes are a good way to show you’ve gone above and beyond the basic curriculum and are ready for the more rigorous academics of college, but AP classes are entirely optional. Your GPA, class rank and standardized test scores carry more weight than AP classes.
If you’re applying to an Ivy League school, however, the competition to get in is so intense that it has virtually become a necessity to have at least a few AP classes on your transcript. If you’re not applying to an elite-level school, taking AP classes will certainly make you look good, but it’s not something admissions officers expect from applicants.
Do colleges care about AP classes?
It depends on the college to which you’re applying. A Top 10 college definitely likes to see AP classes on your transcript and good scores on the corresponding exams. This gives them confidence that you’ll be able to handle college-level course work. That said, however, Honors courses are generally regarded as superior to AP classes.
Before deciding to take an AP class, it’s important to understand that it will involve more work than a regular class. It’s also important to understand that college admissions officers want to see good grades, so if you’re involved in extracurricular activities or hold a part-time job, finding the time you need to do well in an AP class may be difficult.
Are there specific AP classes colleges look for?
There aren’t any specific AP classes colleges look for when considering an applicant, although if you’re applying to a school such as M.I.T., it would make sense to take AP classes in subjects like Calculus.
Do colleges look at AP scores for admission?
Colleges and universities look at everything on your transcript, including the grades you received in any AP classes you’ve taken and the score you received on the AP exam (assuming you submit your test results).
While a high grade in an AP class is certainly a plus in your column, a low grade in an AP class can raise a red flag. Admissions officers could easily get the idea you may not be able to handle college-level work. Although a “B” in an AP class is generally thought to equal an “A” in a regular class, a “D” in an AP class isn’t going to impress anyone.
Besides looking at AP classes as an indicator of your ability to handle the college-level coursework, many admissions officers also look at AP classes and exam scores when making scholarship decisions. Per The College Board, 31% of colleges and universities take AP classes into consideration when making decisions on scholarships.
Another benefit of taking AP classes in high school is that most colleges will award academic credit, provided you have a passing score on the corresponding AP exam. At most colleges, a score of 4 (out of 5) is considered a passing score, but highly selective schools require a 5 for academic credit in many classes. The good thing about AP exam scores is that if you don’t do well on the exam, you don’t have report your score when applying to a college or university.
Taking AP Classes Through eAchieve Academy
eAchieve Academy offers AP classes to both full-time students and students enrolled at public or private schools. For students planning to apply to highly selective colleges, we suggest taking between 7 and 12 AP classes during high school. For students just looking to challenge themselves, explore a subject of interest to them in more detail and have a shot at earning academic credits for college, one to two AP classes per semester should suffice.
Have more questions about AP classes and college admission? Get in touch with us online, or call 262-970-1038.
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