When we think of Advanced Placement (AP) classes, we generally think about earning college credits during high school. However, according to recent AP data, students scoring below test scores required to gain college credit attend college more than others with similar grades.
Here’s some other shocking and important facts:
- Recently CollegeBoard stopped awarded distinctions for taking a lot of AP tests. As more families are becoming aware of the devastating effects of stress on student lives, encouraging over achievement isn’t always the best thing for students.
- Students scoring an average score of 1 on AP tests are 34% more likely to attend a four-year college than academically similar students. Even students scoring an average score of 5 will see a 12% increase in college attendance.
- It’s common for students to start taking AP classes as early as their first year of high school. Half of these students will score higher when they take AP tests in 10th grade.
- Average college grades are higher for AP students, no matter what the score on the test was. The difference for grades among students taking an AP course averaged between 0.06 and 0.35 grade points.
- The same score doesn’t mean college credit everywhere. When your student racks up AP test scores of 3 or higher, they should double check with the college if the score is accepted and how it applies in their major of studies.
- The best use of AP classes may not be testing out of a year or more of college. Students who receive scores qualifying for credit at their chosen college have academic wiggle room. They might skip introductory classes and progress quickly towards upper level work or choose a few courses just for career exploration.
- Most students who take an AP course then take the national exam for that course at the end of the year. Students who receive a score that is high enough may receive college credit and may be exempted from taking certain introductory level classes in college. • Taking AP classes demonstrates to admissions personnel that your student is serious about their studies.
- Just like with college, pay attention to prerequisites. Not taking them can hurt AP class success. Plan class selection ahead if your student is in junior high or the first two years of high school.
- Taking AP classes can hurt student GPAs. Not only do colleges have an option of whether to count weighted GPAs, high schools may or not weight GPAs for taking harder courses, too.
Bottomline: Your student should ease in to aP coursework. Discuss with their guidance counselor and the student what would be a comfortable course load for them. Too many AP courses can be a worse decision than taken zero, one, or two. Prepare your student for the possibility that they may not pass each AP test. Pep them up with stats about how successful students with lower scores still are in college. AP classes are just step one of the college journey, There will be many other ways to prove themselves academically to colleges.