AP Classes vs. College Courses: What’s the Difference?

December 11, 2014

We are constantly told in high school that AP classes are just like classes in college and we are even given credit for them in college, but how similar are they really? We had some college students share the truth about difference between AP and college classes with us today:

jaclynh: High school AP classes are very different than actual college courses. There are more exams, quizzes and assignments in high school. For most of my classes, my grade consists of one midterm, attendance/participation, and the final. There’s a lot of room for mistake and a lot of pressure to do well. College courses also have a lot more reading assignments compared to AP classes. Further, depending on the school, college classes will often be a lot larger than the classes you took in high school.

nrchhabra: The answer to this depends on the institution you apply to. If you’re attending a top university then AP classes are nothing like college courses. Top universities care more about concepts and essay writing. From my experience, AP classes focused more on multiple choice exams and small essays. Another key difference is access to the professor. In AP classes, it is much easier for the teacher to focus and communicate with you. In college, the professor has hundreds of other students therefore they can’t help you as much. 

NUWildcat: The biggest different is teacher involvement and classroom environment. College courses are different - you might not know a single person in your class. I didn’t realize how important it was in high school to have someone I could text about a difficult homework problem or to study with. Also, the teachers in high school are much more concerned about your success. If you don’t develop a relationship with your professor in college, it is unlikely they will be involved in helping you catching up.

Leave a comment and let us know if you found this helpful and let us know if you have any questions you need answers to!

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