By Clare Schinzel
Emerging with the burgeoning weather, the spring semester is loaded with a plethora of activities: a new sports season, a fresh start in the grade book, and the giddy anticipation of Spring Break are just a few items on students’ minds. However, contrary to all of those exciting affairs, a divisive task is put on every student’s plate: signing up for new classes. While, for some students, this can represent hope for the year to come, others can be daunted by the future or worried about the heavy workload ahead.
A big part of being anxious about signing up for classes is deciding what the best workload is and how to balance it with other activities. And, of course, that includes the elephant in the room: AP classes.
AP classes are classes managed by College Board that are designed to mimic college-level courses. At the end of the year, students in these classes have the option to take a test evaluating what they learned. If they pass, select schools will allow the AP courses to take the place of certain credit requirements. This is the most direct benefit of AP classes: by getting certain credits out of the way, students will be exempt from that class in college. So, if a student dislikes a certain class, they might be encouraged to take harder classes for it in high school to “graduate early” from their least favorite subjects, and focus more on the ones they love. For example, If a student is interested in pursuing STEM, taking an AP English or history class in high school can help clear up their schedule in college for the heftier courses included in STEM majors. Thinning the workload in college also provides a monetary incentive: while there is a cost for taking an AP test, the opportunity to skip out on thousands of dollars worth of credit hours is extremely drawing for students who are going to college on a fixed income.
On the other hand, AP classes aren’t just for the uninterested. Aspiring students can use them to get a taste of their future life in college. For example, although medical students are rarely allowed to utilize AP credits for science courses, taking a rigorous class in high school can make the college version of that course significantly easier. For example, a student who took AP Chemistry will have a much easier time in a college General Chemistry class than another student who hasn’t had a passing thought about chemistry since their sophomore year. Having this advantage will help a student succeed during their first year of college as they are still dipping their toes into the new educational experience.
Despite the numerous advantages of AP for college, the benefits of these courses aren’t reserved for higher education. One of the most notable benefits of taking an AP class in high school is the GPA boost. On a four-point scale, AP courses count for four and a half points, which can healthily raise a student’s GPA. Not only does this give students a bit more wiggle room, but it will also help them stand out from the crowd in college admissions as overachieving students. Overall, AP classes––while they do require intensive studying and rigor––provide numerous benefits for aspiring students who are gleefully looking forward to higher education. While they do come with a price tag, students will gain critical thinking skills that they will not only need for college, but also for the workforce as a whole.
College Raptor Staff. “The Benefits of Taking AP Courses.” College Raptor Blog, 2022,
Ryan. “Benefits of AP® Classes | Top Advantages for High School Students.” ID Tech, 21
Mar. 2022, www.idtech.com/blog/top-benefits-of-ap-classes.