No excuses, no surprises – everything you need to know right here.
If your school doesn’t offer the AP class you need (or any AP classes at all), there are still ways to take advanced placement courses outside of school.
High school AP classes give motivated students the opportunity to dive deep into a topic they’re passionate about, earn college credits while still in high school, and increase confidence by taking on higher academic expectations.
While you can technically take an AP exam without taking the class, having access to experienced teachers through an accredited AP course gives you a huge leg up.
Here, we clear up many of the concerns and misconceptions students and parents have about AP course availability outside a traditional school.
The truth about taking AP courses outside of school
If you think AP classes are right for you, don’t let these common (but totally false!) excuses get in your way:
My school doesn’t offer AP classes.
You’re not limited to the classes your school offers. If your high school doesn’t offer a specific AP course like calculus or physics (or any at all), you can take AP courses online or at a local college (you’d just need to find out if there are any approved dual enrollment programs at colleges in your area.)
High school students living in Wisconsin (anywhere in WI) are eligible to enroll in AP courses through eAchieve Academy free of charge. Many other states also offer free or low-cost online classes as an option. If you live outside Wisconsin, ask your counselor or a teacher if your school has a contract with an accredited online AP class provider.
The AP class I want doesn’t fit in my schedule.
Family life, medical needs, work-study programs and scheduling conflicts with other classes can make it hard to take an AP class at a traditional brick and mortar school. With online schooling you can take AP courses when it’s convenient for you, and progress at your own pace. At eAchieve, you’ll also have access to your teachers by phone or email during office hours, plus an academic advisor providing one-on-one support.
I’m home-schooled, and my home teacher doesn’t have an AP accredited curriculum.
You can enroll part-time at eAchieve and take the AP classes you can’t get through homeschooling.
I can’t take AP classes unless someone recommends me.
You know yourself better than anyone – if enrolling in AP courses is something you’re ready to try, you can start the conversation with a teacher, parent or counselor. College admissions boards look for students who are self-motivated and demonstrate a desire to learn. Take the initiative – you don’t need permission from anyone but yourself.
AP classes are expensive.
Some online schools are expensive, but they’re not your only option. AP courses at eAchieve Academy are completely free for Wisconsin students enrolled in our online charter school.
AP exams do have a fee (about $100), but there is financial aid available for qualified students.
If you’re planning on going to university, AP classes can potentially save you money by allowing you to earn college credit instead of paying for those university classes (and the cost of textbooks). Not every college issues class credit based on AP exams, so if that’s your end goal, you’ll want to discuss your plans with a guidance counselor.
How to choose the right online AP course
If you’ve decided to take AP classes online, it can be overwhelming figuring out which online school to pick. Knowing these 3 basic facts about online AP courses will help you narrow it down and feel more confident in your decision.
1. Some online AP course providers have admission requirements before you can enroll.
Make sure you find out if you’re qualified before enrolling in an online course. At eAchieve, any Wisconsin high school student is eligible to enroll in online AP courses.
2. Not all online AP courses are approved by the College Board.
If you have unlimited funds and aren’t concerned about earning college credit, this might not matter as much. For the rest of us, making sure the AP course is accredited by the College Board is the first box to check. All AP courses offered through eAchieve Academy are College Board-approved.
3. It might cost more than you think.
Believe it or not, there are online AP courses charging hundreds of dollars per class. It’s definitely worth doing the research to track down a quality online class at a price you feel comfortable paying for (and probably check out their refund policy just in case).
In Wisconsin, all residents under age 21 are eligible for free classes through eAchieve. Depending on where you live, there may be free online AP classes available for students in your state.
How to get the most out of your online AP course
Many of our students are enrolled in a traditional high school, and enroll part-time at eAchieve Academy because of the variety and quality of our free online AP courses.
If this is your first time taking an online class, some simple preparation can help you get the most out of it. We also offer online AP Prep classes to help students develop the skills they’ll need to succeed in AP coursework.
Make a conscious choice
Online classes can be liberating, practical, and even the best thing ever – but they might not be the best option for everyone.
Here’s a list of character traits the most successful online students tend to have. For more insight, check out our online school reviews (including videos) from students and teachers talking about their experiences.
Hungry for more? See our FAQs about adjusting to a new learning environment, or just get in touch with eAchieve and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.
Create visual reminders
“Out of sight, out of mind” is a real thing, and it can be hard to incorporate a virtual class into your regular schedule at first. Setting reminders on your phone, writing your online AP class into your planner and leaving brightly colored post-its on your computer are just a few of the ways to get in the habit of thinking of it like a class you attend in person. Be creative!
Take advantage of all your resources
Self-directed study doesn’t mean doing it all on your own. eAchieve Academy teachers are all Wisconsin state-certified with years of experience in both real and virtual classrooms. You can reach them by email or phone and get personalized help with any of the course material.
We also provide an academic advisor to each student to make sure educational goals are backed by a workable plan. Every class has a pace chart to help you keep on track, and there are weekly live eSessions where you can interact with your teacher and other students.