High school can often be a stressful period in a young person’s life. Balancing academics, extracurriculars and social life all while navigating the highly competitive atmosphere of the college search process is challenging to say the least.
Bexley is academically competitive: the high school reported that 261 students took AP exams in 2015, 86% of which received a passing score of three or higher. With so many students partaking in AP classes, it poses the question: is the increased stress and rigor associated with these classes worth it?
While the possibility of academic “burnout” from these courses does exist, taking more AP courses can help students appear more appealing to colleges, feel better prepared for challenging college classes and potentially bypass entry-level courses in the future.
It could be argued that presenting students with such challenging subjects at a young age leads to fatigue, but for many advanced students, regular level courses would be too easy for them. It is important to offer these courses for students who seek an academic challenge and for those who wish to reap the rewards that come with taking AP classes in the future.
According to the high school’s policy, AP courses are weighted on a 5.0 scale as opposed to regular courses, which use a 4.0 scale. This additional point can impact GPA, providing students with a cushion if they finish a class with lower than an A. It also rewards students who consistently obtain high grades in AP courses with above a 4.0 GPA.
For those who desire admission to academically prestigious institutions, it is often necessary for students to have higher than a 4.0 GPA in order to stand out. Additionally, having multiple AP classes on a student’s transcript can prove to colleges that the student is highly dedicated and seeks to push themselves academically.
Once in college, students can better see the positive effects of taking AP courses in high school. These courses are designed to mirror entry-level college classes, allowing students to acclimate to the intensity of college-level courses at a younger age.
The College Board reported that all students, regardless of the score they received on their AP exams, were more likely to graduate from college within four years than those who did not take AP exams. More specifically, the study showed that even those who received a one on their exams were still 2% more likely to graduate, while those who received a five were 24% more likely, indicating that simply enrolling in AP courses could positively impact students’ future success.
Furthermore, AP classes can save students and their families money and time. One of the goals of AP classes, according to the College Board, is to allow students to accumulate college credit. Students who receive a passing score on their AP exams become eligible for college credit at most universities, allowing some students to graduate early, potentially saving them thousands of dollars.
AP classes, while certainly challenging, can open many doors for students later in their academic careers.