When deciding whether or not to sign up your teen for AP®, advanced placement, classes, there’s a lot to consider.
On one hand, there’s no denying the rigor of these courses. They are designed to be equivalent to a college-level workload in terms of concepts, assignments, tests, projects, in-class discussions, and other activities. (So before your teen registers for AP® Calculus, World History, or Computer Science, talk with your student about their academic strengths!)
Another factor to bear in mind is time. Your high school students’ schedule might be full to the brim already with other classes and extracurriculars. AP® courses will require plenty of that time and additional hard work, so it’s a good idea to look holistically at your teen’s schedule to ensure the right balance.
Consulting with your student’s teachers is also a good idea here. By doing so, you can get an idea of whether or not an AP® course is a good fit for your teen, because biting off more than they can chew will just add stress to their already busy lives!
And finally, when all of that (and more—every learner is different!) is factored into your teen’s decision, there are multiple benefits to teens taking AP classes. From earning college credit early to dipping a toe in the waters of advanced coursework, your teen can earn some serious rewards for their efforts.
Top benefits of AP® classes for high school students
If your teen is ready to take on an enriching challenge, AP® courses offer a wealth of unique benefits. Not only can these classes enhance their high school experience, they can also set students up for long-term success in college and beyond.
1. Get a feel for college-level work
AP® classes offer an excellent opportunity for teens to step into a college-level classroom before they ever set foot on campus. Excitement for that next chapter is natural, especially in their junior and senior years, so why not channel that enthusiasm in a constructive, academically rewarding way?
If they think, for instance, that they want to pursue STEM in college, taking relevant STEM coursework in high school is a great idea.
It’s worth noting that teens’ excitement for college can be mixed with anxiety about the transition. Whether your student has vocalized it or not, they’re probably wondering how hard the classes will be, whether or not high school prepared them for success in college, and how they’ll manage a schedule that looks very different from what they’re accustomed to.
These questions are perfectly natural, and an AP® academic experience can help students get ahead of the curve as they develop the study habits and time management skills they’ll need in college.
2. Stand out from the competition
Top colleges and universities receive tens of thousands of applications annually: so how can teens make a great impression on their school of choice? AP® classes and test scores are an excellent place to start.
Success in these learning experiences speaks volumes about your student. Admissions offices can see that they’re not afraid of a challenge, thrive in rigorous learning environments, have the passion to pursue advanced subject matter, and much more.
Plus, many, if not most, high schools give extra GPA weight to AP® courses. This means that an “A” in an AP® course will have more than a 4.0 point value in their total GPA calculation: that’s a nice boost for their transcript!
3. Save time and money in college
If students earn a score of 3 or higher on the final AP® exam, they are likely eligible for college credit. By acing the test, a number of opportunities are open to teens!
For one thing, the registration cost for an AP® test is a fraction of the $1000+ price tag per credit hour of a college class. Success here can translate to major savings in tuition.
Students can also knock out course requirements that will make it easier to move on to the classes that interest them most. AP® Calculus, for instance, will satisfy a semester’s math requirement, so teens can progress to their classes of choice, have their ducks in a row for studying abroad, and even graduate early.
4. Dive deeper into subjects they enjoy
Teens looking to “nerd out” in their favorite subjects will be right at home in an AP® classroom. Standard high school classes don’t always offer the breadth or depth that talented students are looking for in subjects that intrigue them the most.
These courses offer that challenge and then some, not just through the amount of content covered, but also through how students are expected to engage with the material. If your teen has always wanted to study abroad in France or launch a career as a professional programmer, AP®-level coursework will turbo-charge the path to realizing those dreams.
5. Build new skills and confidence
In this type of learning experience, teens will likely need to level-up their critical thinking skills, study habits, and more. And while that can sound daunting at first, there’s no doubt that with practice, these skills will serve them well in college and in the working world.
It might be your students’ first time coding an algorithm, analyzing primary sources from the 18th century, or leading a discussion about themes in a Shakespearean play, but there’s a first time for everything! Since these are the types of experiences that make for rewarding college years, tackling them early on can build teens’ confidence just in time to step on campus.
Get ahead and stand out from the crowd!
AP® classes and test scores are great assets to an impressive college application! But as every parent knows, every student is unique, and a few high school classes alone won’t define all of their teen’s strengths.
With transcripts and AP® test scores in hand, they can continue to bolster their college applications with a stellar college essay, a great SAT® score, and a portfolio of passion projects. Get 1-on-1 SAT® and AP® Calculus and Computer Science online tutoring right here, and check out the latest study tips and other resources on the iD Blog!