By Valerie Pierce and Cheryl Rilly
Taking AP (or Advanced Placement) classes in high school can help you prepare for college-level courses and earn credit toward a college degree. Are they worth the extra work and stress? Here are some pros and cons to help you decide:
PRO: AP coursework prepares students better for the rigors of a college classroom
PRO: Selective schools EXPECT that you will have taken them.
CON: GPA rules! That’s particularly true for less selective schools as well as for many scholarships. APs are not a factor at these schools. An ‘A’ is an ‘A.’
PRO: AP courses are smaller, cheaper and, most students say “a whole lot easier” than the equivalent college course. Load up.
CON: If you get AP credit, you’ll end up taking upper-level classes as a college freshman before you have gotten used to the pace of college coursework.
THE JURY’S OUT: Does admissions look more favorably at a ‘B’ in an AP class than an ‘A’ in a regular class? Ask 50 admissions officers and you’ll get 50 different answers! Your best bet: Take the AP class and work your tail off to get an ‘A.’