Tuesday, January 22, 2019
How to Determine the Number of AP Classes to Take
Advanced Placement classes can set applicants apart in a competitive college admissions environment, demonstrating the ability to perform well on more challenging coursework.
Experts say performing well in AP courses often signals readiness for college. But for students looking to land at a top college, the question of how many AP courses to take persists. That number depends on each student, say school counselors, researchers and educational consultants.
And for those academically unprepared for the challenge, struggling in AP courses can backfire, with low grades and exam scores reflecting negatively on college applications.
"Taking a really high AP course load only benefits the student if they can manage their time and achieve a passing grade on the AP exam," says Shondra Carpenter, a counselor at Cherokee Trail High School in Colorado.
"We found that there was no boost to academic achievement unless the kids, at the very least, took the test," says Russell T. Warne, an associate professor of psychology at Utah Valley University who has conducted research on AP. "You have to get the kids to study for and pass the test."
Carpenter adds that admissions officers "are not impressed when a student takes numerous AP courses and does not earn passing grades in the course or on the AP exam; it shows that the student was trying to compete in a field they are not ready for and are simply trying to enhance their transcript with courses they think will impress a college."