The True Value of AP

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AP classes

By Madeline Swank and Katie Stankard

I am sure you have pondered over whether AP classes are worth the time and money you put into them. We may think that we know everything about these AP classes; I mean we dedicate our lives to them the last few years of high school, but AP classes are so much more than the endless notecards and a 1.0 grade bump.

AP classes were created to challenge and prepare high school students for college level courses. But it seems that students no longer take these classes for this purpose. If you have ever gone to a college visit, you have surely heard this question asked at some point: Is it better to take an AP class and get a B, or a non-AP class and get an A? The answer is always the same: take the AP Class and get an A.

Students are pushed to take AP classes because it looks good on college applications, regardless of whether they are prepared for the class or not. According to College Board, the creators of AP, AP Classes can “transform subjects you are enthusiastic about into a fulfilling future”. What does this mean exactly? Well, the College Board insists that their classes will propel you into your dream career. And how do these classes do this? As AP students ourselves, if we don’t know, who does?

80% of the 200 students surveyed said that they take AP classes because they look good on college applications. So that being said, is the true purpose of AP classes really being exercised? Graduating high school isn’t the ultimate goal for most students—instead, the focus is on being accepted into college. In 2012, a study by the National Center for Education Statistics stated that graduates with a Bachelor’s degree made almost double in their careers compared to those who only completed their high school degree. Now many high schoolers find themselves competing not to graduate, but to be accepted into a top notch school.

All this talk of potential college credit seems to push students into these demanding classes but in reality out of the 911 students enrolled in AP classes, ⅓ don’t actually take the test. Colleges don’t only like that you receive credit for these classes but value the fact that you took the time and effort to take the class itself. So are college admission offices swayed by the taking of AP classes? Yes. Are AP classes worth the time and money? We’ll leave you to decide.