For the amount of stress and hard work that they necessitate, people often question the utility of AP courses. See our reasons for taking them below.
Admittance to Top-Tier Universities
For top-tier and Ivy League schools, you will need to take the most rigorous course load available to you as a high school student. The correlation between high school students who take college level courses through AP classes and get admitted to (and attend, and then succeed at) these top schools is not anomalistic: AP courses were actually spearheaded by these universities themselves. And while today these tests have arguably become an egalitarian access point for higher education far from their roots (2.7 million students took at least one AP test in 2017), the truth is that most “elite” schools are so rigorous that to even keep up with the coursework as a student, you will need to understand high-level concepts well before ever setting foot on campus. Many of these concepts can be found in the coursework of AP classes, so if you succeed in them you will be setting yourself up for future success.
Acceleration Towards Obtaining Your Degree
While it is true that AP courses are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the subject matter they cover, they can be a great foundation. It is much easier to major in Comparative Literature in college, for example, if you have reached full fluency in at least one foreign language by taking AP Spanish Language or Literature beforehand. Considering the fact that students who take AP courses are more likely to graduate college on time (the average college student does not, with most taking five years to graduate), these courses are worth it.
Actual Interest in the Subject Matter
We recommend taking AP courses if you want to learn more about a certain subject, not just for the prestige. This advice may seem obvious, but countless students take advanced courses that they hate, which stresses them out unnecessarily and doesn’t lead to a positive outcome.
Awards and Scholarships
The College Board issues awards to students dependent on the aggregate of their AP exam scores: AP Scholar, AP Scholar with Honor, AP Scholar with Distinction, National AP Scholar, and more. These awards are useful for years to come, as they lead to the garnering of more awards and are great for scholarship applications. Further, many scholarships rate applicants based on academics, and to be a competitive applicant, it is often necessary to have taken AP courses and/or the most rigorous course load available to you.