After just graduating college this past May, I look back at my time in high school, and there aren’t too many things I would do differently. But if I could go back and make a change, at the top of this list would certainly be taking more Advanced Placement (AP) courses and their exams back in high school. These courses are high school classes at a college level study, and can be applied directly for credit towards a student’s future university if the student receives a high enough scoring on the (AP) exam at the culmination of a year.
So what’s the benefit? To start, financially the exams currently cost $94 to take in high school, and if the student receives a high enough score (4 out of 5 at the most rigorous institutions or 3 out of 5 at others) the AP course can supplement the same course at their future college or university. From a savings standpoint, most college courses cost between $2,000 and $3,000 at today’s rates, meaning the $94 cost of the exam comes out to a tiny fraction of what the class would cost at the university. These courses are offered in almost any subject from Math to History to English, and there is no cap on the amount of AP courses that you can take while in high school. Not to mention, students coming in to college with AP courses have a great opportunity to graduate early or start graduate level classes while in undergrad.
Not only is the cost a huge benefit for these courses, but the challenging material is great experience for high school students. Even if a student does not do as well academically in these courses, studies show college admissions officers value the student effort to challenge themselves with AP courses over taking the standard level academic level courses on a transcript. I remember my first semester of college was by my most challenging academically, as it took me time to adjust study habits to the rigors of college level courses. Exposure to more of these college level courses at an earlier age would have helped to fast-track my learning process leading to more success.
Even if your child elects to graduate on time and not early, the additional AP credits that will fulfill general education classes at the college level can allow for a lighter college course load. For a busy full time student, this will give them more time to focus on other courses or allow for part time employment through internships to gain experience or boost their college resume.
Learn from me, and discuss with your high school age child the benefits of these courses while they are available. From savings to a more manageable college experience you and your child will surely not regret it.
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All the best,
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