Are AP classes worth it?


A stack of AP books (photo by Lauren Girgis)

Lauren Girgis, Staff writer/A&E Editor

    Advanced Placement (AP) classes are worth the time and effort because they can drastically improve a student’s Grade Point Average (GPA) and college prospects, but not all students are able to handle such rigorous work.

    For students who do have the time and work ethic to juggle multiple AP courses, they can be extremely beneficial, especially in preparing high school students for the college experience.

    Enrolling in AP classes can help students learn early on how to manage their time and develop necessary study skills. This includes the ability to collaborate with a group and critical thinking skills that are developed due to the rigorous coursework.

    According to a study by the University of Texas, high school students who take AP classes are more likely to graduate from college within four years and have higher GPA’s in college than students who did not take AP classes. AP classes can also help graduates avoid having to take remedial courses by earning them college credit.

    Students who succeed on AP exams could save money and graduate a semester or year earlier. For students who do not qualify for financial aid or do not receive scholarships, AP classes could help them save money on tuition.

    The fee to take the AP exam does not compare to the price of taking a college course. According to College Board, students can save up to $19,000 in tuition by taking AP classes. Keep in mind, this is only if students do well on the exam. Colleges may only give credit to a student if a 4 or 5 is awarded on the exam.

   By taking AP classes, college students can have the opportunity to skip introductory classes, which can not only help a student take higher-level classes to focus on a major sooner, but also allows room for more elective courses. Elective courses allow students to pursue a minor or second major and spend more time studying interests beyond a major.

    AP classes can also increase a student’s eligibility for some scholarships. According to the US Department of Defense Education Activity, 31 percent of colleges and universities will consider a student’s AP course work when making decisions about which students will receive scholarships.

    Since some students have priorities other than schoolwork, such as work or their families, AP classes can take too much time and effort.  For these students, they may simply not be able to spend hours a day on homework for only a couple of classes. However, attempting to take an AP class is still an effort that should be considered and would be appreciated by universities.

    Students should weigh their options carefully before taking on rigorous AP classes. If a student is not interested in graduating early from college, believes they do not have the time in their schedule or has not developed the necessary time management study skills, taking AP classes would probably not be advantageous.  

    Overall, AP classes are beneficial for the majority of students and should be highly considered as an option for students looking to get college credit.