4 answers

What does taking AP help in college?

Asked Dalian, Liaoning, China

4 answers

Alexa’s Answer

Updated

In the USA, AP courses helps with college in two main ways.

  1. AP classes look really good on college applications. Generally speaking, taking AP classes will make you a better candidate if you do well in the classes. If you want to get into a very competitive school (e.g. Harvard or MIT), you must take as many AP classes as possible and you must do very well in them. Getting a C in an AP class will hurt you as an applicant, especially when applying to a competitive program.
  2. While in college, having AP credits can exempt you from general education classes. These are classes that everyone has to take regardless of their major. For example, even if you are majoring in music, you still have to take a math and a science class to graduate. Depending on the school's policy, you can get transfer credits for AP classes. Typically, if you do well enough on an AP exam, you will get transfer credit for the school's equivalent of that class. This means that you do not have to take that class, which can help you graduate early, add a minor or second major, and generally frees up space in your schedule.

Technically, general education courses are supposed to expose you to a wide variety of topics and fields, which is great if you are unsure what you want to major in. Practically, general education courses act as GPA "padding," which means you get an A for doing the bare minimum and this good grade offsets poor grades you may get in difficult courses. Luckily, most schools will stop you from taking general education classes even if you have AP transfer credits.

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I'll jump in here and add one more benefit of taking APs in high school: compared to the ~$1500 you'll d be paying for a 3 credit hour class, a $94 AP exam is much less expensive.
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That is a very valid point if you are paying for classes by the credit. If you are a full time student at a traditional university, you (usually) don't pay for classes by the credit. At my university, full time students paid $X,000 in tuition and could take between 12-19 credits. It didn't matter if you took 12 credits or 19 credits, you still had to pay $X,000. In this case, it's not so much about saving $Y,000 but making sure you're taking worthwhile classes.

Alex’s Answer

Updated Medina, Washington

AP classes count for college credit, and can help fulfill general education requirements in college, allowing you more space to take classes you are interested in, or other classes required for a specific major that you want to go toward. However, it is important to make sure that the college you go to accepts those AP credits. Some colleges may not take AP credit if the score is too low, so getting high scores on the AP tests as well as taking will help you a lot in the long haul.

Grotius’s Answer

I agree that AP classes can exempt you from taking certain classes in college. However, be sure to check which college and classes/course of study would allow you to use your AP credits. I took several AP classes and tests in high school, and a lot of them were counted for credits, but not necessarily for general education requirements. And yes, taking AP classes may look great in your application. But I think, more importantly, it can help you prepare for college courses. AP classes are a bit more challenging and require more work, which should help train and prepare you for college level courses.

Ryan’s Answer

Updated Atlanta, Georgia

Taking AP classes may seem like quite a bit of work in high school, however it is well worth your time if you can manage it. The AP classes are typically counted for credit in college. This will shorten your initial requirements for college. You can replace those classes with more interesting classes, or just save the money on not having to take them. Typically AP classes cover the more basic subjects as well, so you can take classes you really want to explore. Highly recommend this.