There are many benefits to taking APs, from building valuable new skills to buffing your college resume. If you're on the fence about whether an AP is for you, here's why you should at least consider taking one.

Student studying

Build Important Skills

AP classes are meant for anyone and everyone who is willing to work hard. Like any class, you are meant to learn as you go, and teachers don’t expect you to know all the skills necessary to do well on day one. You’re supposed to use a solid foundation, often from prerequisite courses, to learn these more advanced skills throughout the course.

That's why we recommend that you try to take at least one AP course. Each one will give you unique content knowledge, depending on the specific subject, but any one will expose you to universally applicable tools that you’ll be able to apply in your other high school classes, in college, and in your future career. From time management and study habits to critical thinking, you’ll learn a lot from APs and your instructors. The confidence boost that comes from completing a challenging course also helps!

Demonstrate College Readiness

An AP course holds its students to a higher standard, which means by taking one of these rigorous classes, you’re already conveying to colleges that you care about your education. That doesn’t mean you should take just any AP class; be strategic about it! You want your transcript to not only reflect outstanding academic performance (which it won’t if you overwhelm yourself with too many challenging classes), but also give colleges an idea of what you’re passionate and excited about.

These classes are designed to give you a taste of college coursework. Admission officers are familiar with the intense academic nature of these courses and the work that’s required to perform well in them and on the exams. Getting good grades and passing the exam show them that you’re ready to take on college work.

Open Up More Opportunities in College

Many schools offer college credit, advanced course placement, or some combination of the two. This means that you can have more flexibility with how you spend your time in college. For example, you might be able to shave a semester (or even two!) off college, which can save a lot of money. Alternatively, you can use that free time to pick up a second major, which can be useful to your future career. At the very least, getting prerequisites and general classes out of the way frees you up to jump directly into your core classes, or to enroll in an elective you otherwise wouldn’t have had time for. 

APs Pay Off

College is expensive. One credit can cost hundreds or sometimes thousands of dollars. A standard AP exam, on the other hand, costs $93 per exam ($123 if you’re at an international test site). Even if your selected college doesn’t end up saving you thousands in course credit, APs are still a relatively low cost investment that can pay for itself if it helps you earn grants or scholarships, and, in some cases, ones you’d otherwise be ineligible for. These awards would require you to earn at least a 3, though often higher scores make you a more competitive candidate. Keep hitting the books and taking practice AP tests so you can set yourself up for success when scholarship applications roll around.

Each college treats AP scores differently. While some will grant credit to those who score a 3, others only accept 4s or 5s. When you’re checking out potential schools, make sure to look up their AP score policies and factor it into your considerations when decision time comes. Challenging yourself and getting outside of your comfort zone academically may be intimidating, but we’re confident that you can do it! Plus, there’s plenty of support through the College Board website and talented teachers to guide you along the way. For more on APs and college readiness, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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