What’s The Deal With APs?

Do you ever wonder how many APs is enough? I find parent knowledge about APs spans the gamete, but regardless of what you know or don’t know, the good news is there really isn’t a magic formula. Some high schools offer tons of APs, while other offer none either because of funding deficits or philosophical differences with the AP program. This little fact is crucial because it reminds us, while APs can be very important in college admissions, student access to APs varies so much from school to school – this means, for many top colleges, students cannot be disqualified for lack of AP courses.

So, if your child doesn’t take available APs, it’s ok? Well, it’s not that simple.

The one thing all parents should know is this: your child should take the most personally challenging curriculum available to him at his high school. This can look very different for each student. While colleges do expect students to challenge themselves, it’s also equally important students (and parents) have a realistic understanding of their capabilities. For example, if a student takes three years of math and does ok, but not stellar, AP Calculus might not be the best match senior year – perhaps consider an honors math course or AP Statistics.

For those who need a structure to follow, we’ve come up with this – adapt it so it makes sense for your child.

Sample Schedule
9th Grade: No AP courses
10th Grade: One AP course
11th Grade: Up to three AP courses
12th Grade: Up to four AP courses

And if APs aren’t available consider augmenting the high school curriculum by taking an online course, community college class or a summer enrichment program at a four-year college.


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Filed under College Access, Parent Resources

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