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Reasons to consider taking Advanced Placement classes


Monday, July 08, 2013

The college admission process can be daunting for even the most talented and hardworking student. Competition for acceptance to the country's top colleges and universities can be fierce. Ambitious high school students may wonder whether taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes will benefit their college applications. Here are some reasons to consider taking these classes, and how they can help improve your chances of getting into your dream school.

A taste of what's to come
AP courses are intended to be significantly more challenging than typical high school courses. In fact, most AP courses are equivalent to introductory-level college courses. Taking AP classes in high school will give you a valuable taste of what college-level work is like, which may better prepare you for your freshman year.

By taking AP classes, you are demonstrating to college admission officials that you are ready for college-level work. For most high school students, AP classes are not mandatory. Therefore, to ensure that you get the most benefit from the course, discuss your AP options with your guidance counselor, teachers and even the college admissions office before committing to any particular AP class.

Financial benefits
While taking AP courses will certainly enhance your high school transcript, it can also have a positive impact on your checkbook. Many colleges and universities offer college credit for AP classes depending on your scores. In some cases, this can mean a substantial reduction in the overall cost of tuition, making your college education more affordable.

In addition, high scores on AP exams could make you a more attractive scholarship applicant. While many schools offer merit-based financial aid packages, competition is intense. The academic achievement demonstrated by high AP scores could give you an edge over other candidates.

Making the right choice
Before you make any decisions, discuss your plans with your high school's AP coordinator and your college adviser, if you have one. Let them know which schools you plan to apply to, and how taking AP classes could benefit your college application. Students should be aware that in order to receive AP credit you must take the AP exam which currently requires a registration fee of $89.

Weigh all your options and remember that every student's situation is unique; what works for one student may not be the best choice for you.

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