The College Board's Advanced Placement Program is an opportunity for students to take college-level classes while still in high school. By taking a national exam, you may earn credit or advanced placement from thousands of colleges and universities that participate in the Advanced Placement Program. You risk nothing by taking the AP Exam, since you determine which colleges, if any, will receive your grade.
Advanced Placement Prepares you for College...
The work you do in an AP course will help you develop skills and study habits that will be vital in college. For example, you will learn how to analyze problems effectively, improve your writing skills, and prepare for exams. These are tools that will serve you well throughout your college career.
Once you're used to being challenged you're more likely to continue with advanced studies. Recent research (Adelman, 1999) found that high school seniors who took only one AP class nearly doubled the likelihood of graduation from college (59% compared to 33% of those who did not take an AP class). Students who took two or more AP Courses raised the likelihood to 76%. This figure is well above the average college graduation rate of 63%.
How Difficult are AP courses?
Compared with regular high school courses, AP courses are usually more demanding. Depending on the subject, you may read and write more, analyze material, synthesize ideas, solve problems, and evaluate. Most AP classes are comparable to sophisticated college courses, so they aren't easy, but they're not impossibly difficult either. You take these classes from qualified teachers in your own high school who are dedicated to your success.
Improved Chance of Getting into Competetive Colleges...
Colleges and universities recognize that applicants with AP experience are much better prepared for the demands of college courses. Admissions officers are well aware of the difficulty of AP courses and exams since they are based on a national standard, as opposed to Running Start which is a local standard from a community college.
Be Prepared for Your Future...
Once you have taken an AP Exam, your grade is a permanent part of your transcript. The vast majority of colleges and universities in the United States, and many outside the United States, grant either academic credit, advanced placement, or both, to incoming students with qualifying AP grades.
Make a Good Investment
By taking an AP Exam, you will be investing in yourself and your future. If you receive a qualifying grade on an AP Exam, your $80 exam fee investment can translate into major savings. A course credit at a university would cost much more. The College Board has a fee-reduction policy for students who demonstrate financial need. Ask your counselor for more information.