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Are taking AP classes and a language in high school better than college?

People have told me you don't even get a lot of credits for AP classes and that they just drop you GPA. Is this true? What option will save me more money? Also, when the high school speech guy talked about what he wished he would do he said that he would take the lanuage four years during high school. I would like to get in more classes in my schedule, but I have a full year of Spanish. Is that better than getting more classes you feel that would help you in high school or to take a language all four years and less classes you want to take? psychology professor student graduate mentoring life-coach student-counseling language-teaching

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Amie’s Answer

Great question, however, answers may vary depending on college. When I was in High School, I took many AP and college classes. I paid for them since they were discounted, in hopes that my college would accept them (I took a gamble that they would). I was lucky and my college accepted all 34 of my credits, and I entered college with 1 year done already. However, a few years after I graduated, the college I went to decided they were not going to accept credits from any other school (i.e. if they made this decision previously, they would have not accepted my credits). It is a great idea to take AP classes because it does look great when you apply to college. However, you are taking a gamble when you pay for them and hope that the schools you are applying for will accept them. If you already have narrowed down some schools that you know you might want to go to, it couldn't hurt to call their admissions office and ask if they accept AP and college credits from other schools.

Good luck!

thank u so much Bakkiyalakshmi R.
thank u for your information tasin H.
Thank you Amie, that was really helpful! Chanel F.
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Matthew’s Answer

Chanel, thanks for this question. It's not an easy one to answer, but I'll give you a few ideas. The people who informed you that you don't get a lot of college credits for AP classes are correct, but only to a certain degree. Whether you earn college credit for an AP class depends on two things: the score you earn on that AP exam and a college's AP Credit Policy. If you earn a score of at least a 3 (out of 5) on an AP exam, that may allow you to earn college credits at many state schools. It's important to remember that the higher your score, the greater your chance of receiving college credits. However, each college will be a little different in its approach to accepting AP credits. For more detailed information, here's a link to the CollegeBoard website that will give you the chance to search for any college's AP credit policy:

In terms of saving money, this one is a little tricky, because you might have a few good options to consider. It's possible that your school district will cover some or all of the cost of the AP exams for students. But, the cost of exams isn't necessarily going down anytime soon; the cost actually increases a little each year. Another option would be taking college classes while you're in high school at a local college (if one is available) - some of the more basic, general courses like ENG 101, Intro to Psychology, Communications, etc. Sometimes these classes are offered at reduced rates for high school students, much cheaper than it would be taking the course as a freshman at a 4-year university. Whether you choose to take the AP exam or take the college course in high school, it's much cheaper to earn the college credit this way than to not take those courses at all and wait until you're in college.

Taking a foreign language in high school is important, primarily if you're interested in attending a 4-year college or university. Most schools will require at least two years of the same foreign language for admissions. However, the more selective colleges (Ivy League schools, Rice, Vanderbilt, etc.) will look for at least three years of a foreign language toward admissions requirements. There's nothing wrong with having other classes in your schedule, especially, as you mentioned, to be more prepared for a specific career path you'd like to pursue. If you're able, I'd encourage you to consider taking a few years (at least two) of a foreign language, and then talk with your school counselor about how to incorporate other classes you're interested in taking to help you prepare for the next season of your life.

Best of luck!

Thank you so much for this! Chanel F.
You're very welcome; I'm happy to help! Matthew Armes, MS, NCC, NCSC, LPC