what are ap classes

A Parent’s Guide: What Are AP Classes and Should Your Kids Take Them?

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We hate to be the ones to tell you this, but at some point, it’s going to happen. Your “baby” is going to grow up, go to college, and move out.

And you and your child should start planning for college before they graduate high school. This might open up a conversation about AP classes.

But what are AP classes?

These courses give students a leg up on college admissions, but are they right for your child?

That depends on a few considerations.

Allow us to walk you through the process of deciding whether AP classes are a good option for your child.

What Are AP Classes?

AP stands for Advanced Placement. These are college-level courses taught in a high school setting. They’re designed to expose high school students to the standards in a college classroom and prepare them for college work.

There are almost 40 different AP level courses, but some schools only offer a select number of these courses.

How Are They Different From Honor Classes?

AP classes are harder than other honor classes. They require more work than and push students to dive deeper into subject material. Unlike other honors classes, AP classes allow students to earn college credit while still in high school.

But the exact differences depend on the school.

In most cases, honors classes include freshmen and sophomore students while AP courses are for junior and senior students.

The Benefits of Taking AP Classes

If your child is up for the extra work, taking AP classes can give them several advantages above other students, especially when it comes to college.

Some of the benefits of taking AP courses in high school include:

Preparing Students for College Courses

AP courses include college-level work. By taking these courses, students get familiar with college standards. AP prepares them to succeed when they go off to college.

Helping Students Get into College

In many AP courses, an A gives you a 5.0 GPA. Because of this, many students can graduate high school with a 4.0 GPA. In fact, many students leave high school with a GPA above 4.0.

Colleges also look for an AP Capstone Program for incoming students. This shows the administration the student is willing to push and challenge themselves.

Skipping College Classes

Remember, AP classes count for college credit. That means a student may not have to take some basic general education courses when they get to college.

Allowing Students Graduate Early

On top of finishing some college credit early, AP courses give students learning strategies that help them get through difficult college loads.

AP students have a 58% likelihood of graduating within four years. Students who haven’t taken AP courses have a 3%8 percent likelihood of graduating at the same time.

Are AP Classes Right for My Child?

Although AP classes can give students several advantages, these courses aren’t right for every student. There are times taking AP classes can set a student back instead of pushing them forward.

You should only enroll your child in an AP class if they have the following things:

High Past Performance

If your child has high-performance levels in specific subjects, an AP course might be a good idea.

For example, AP chemistry is a good choice for a student who excels in the sciences. But if your child struggles with English, an AP class might be too much for them.

Flexible Schedule

AP courses take a lot of work, both inside and outside the classroom. A student who’s involved in other activities, such as sports or clubs, might not have enough time to complete AP material.

Necessary Skills

Does your child have the required skills to succeed in an AP course? Humanities classes need strong reading, writing, and researching skills. If your child doesn’t have these skills, you might want to stick to other honor classes.

Consistent GPA

A student who thinks they’ll have a hard time keeping their GPA up might not be a good fit for AP classes. Don’t enroll your child in AP courses if it’s going to harm their GPA.

Understanding AP Classes

So what are AP classes?

These classes are a step above normal honor classes. They give students college-level work and prepare them to succeed in college and graduate on time.

Is your child still a bit too young for AP courses?

Take a look at this guide to learn important questions to ask when enrolling your child in a new school.

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