Are You Wasting Your Time with AP Classes?

March 24, 2016

 

Are you looking for college application advice? Most conversations about the process usually focus on grades, test scores, applications, and college essays. But one of the big factors that can help boost your applications is what classes you actually take. If you’re struggling to figure out how to pick classes for next year, or you’re trying to find ways to improve your college application, look no further. Here are a few things you need to remember when it comes to AP classes:

1. Don’t overdo it. You might think that loading up on Honors/AP classes is the way to go. Why not take as many as you possibly can? For most students, taking too many challenging classes is an easy way to stress yourself out, thus bringing your grades down. Instead, aim to take the right number of classes for you. If three is the magic number that will still allow you to do well in every class, don’t add a fourth just to look better. It’s not a competition.

2. Not all credits are created equal. Something important to keep in mind is that not all schools follow the same rules when it comes to AP credits. While some schools will accept any passing grade on an AP test, others will only accept 5s, and some might not accept any scores at all. While that shouldn’t dictate whether you take them in the first place, it’s an important piece of information to know.

3. Think ahead. If you plan on studying something specific in college, AP credits are a great way to get ahead. Depending on your school and major, you can opt out of taking introductory courses, which will allow you to take more electives and dive deeper into your major/minor courses. Check with your school or college counselor for more information about the schools that you’re applying to, and have a conversation whether the AP classes are right for you.

4. Skip class, take test. DON’T ACTUALLY SKIP CLASS. If you’re interested in a class that your school doesn’t offer, it’s still possible to take the AP test at the end of the year for credit. Do you like art history? Create a course of study for yourself over the course of the school year, then take the AP test. It’s a great way to show that you’re a self-starter with passion, and the possibility of earning class credit in college doesn’t hurt either.

5. Minors count, too. Have an academic interest but know it’s not something you want to study in? Don’t forget about a college minor. In college, plenty of students to cram classes in just to finish their major requirements. Getting a few college credits out of the way thanks to a few good AP test scores can push you forward in subjects that you might not major in.

If you’re looking for help applying to colleges, find profiles of students just like you and see how they got into college. See their college essays, test scores, and advice answers to find out how you can get in too. Chat with a mentor for more personalized help with the college application process.

Sources: Prep ScholarCollege RaptorStanfordCollege Foundation of West Virginia 

About The Author

Drew Evans
Drew Evans

​Drew is a content and social media guru. When he’s not working, he loves to photograph, play music, play sports, and travel. He is also weirdly obsessed with Thai food, Girl Scout cookies, and learning new languages (even though he’s not fluent in any). For any editorial ideas, contact info@admitsee.com.




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tannar2020
Stanford ‘20


Accepted to Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA

Born in small town, interested in math, science, and literature. Attending Stanford University starting fall of 2016, planning on studying engineering or computer science, with a minor in a foreign language.
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Columbia ‘20


Accepted to Columbia, Brown, UPenn, Rice, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UVA, UC Davis, UCSD, UCSC, USC

Hey! I'm a John Jay Scholar at Columbia, and I'm from Los Angeles. I'm planning to major in Art History and do ballet and theater. Hope I can help!
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