The Value of Advanced Placement Courses for College Admission

Consider the value of advanced placement courses for college admission. College admissions boards are becoming more and more selective about who they accept into their universities. About 37% of students in the class of 2017 took at least one AP course in high school. The pool of students challenging themselves with AP courses is growing. This is a huge factor behind why college is becoming harder to get into! Make yourself a part of this pool in order to give yourself an advantage when applying to college! 

AP courses are college level courses for which you receive a grade, and for which an exam is offered at the end of the year. Your grade in the class and the exam are two separate things. Your grade in the class will inform colleges how you did overall and will prove that you can handle college level classes. College Board offers the exam and provides even more benefits to students.

The AP exams are scored out of 5 points, 5 being a perfect score and 1 being less than satisfactory. If you score a 3 or higher on the exam, it can count for college credit by exempting you from general education courses (or “gen-eds”) your freshman year. Some elite universities even accept only 4’s and 5’s. When I was in high school, I took AP English Literature and AP Psychology. I took the exams, and got a 4 out of 5 on both, so when I submitted my scores to my college, I got to skip College Writing 1 and Intro to Psychology. 

As a result, I was allowed to have a more flexible first-year schedule than some of my peers. Since I skipped two gen-eds, I took more interesting and advanced classes. Instead of Intro to Psychology, I took Child and Adolescent Psychology, which is still one of my favorite classes to date. Because of my AP courses, I already had 6 of my 120 needed credits to graduate undergrad before I even started at UMass Lowell.

AP courses are a lot more challenging than regular high school classes, which gives you the added skills and knowledge that you can’t get out of a regular level class. I only took two my senior year and I thought the workload was intense, but that’s just because I know myself as a student. My advice would be, don’t overload it too much and know how much you can handle. Being overwhelmed and doing poorly in school because you stacked your schedule with 5 AP courses your junior year does not look as impressive to colleges as a well-rounded student who took 2 or 3 APs and then honors or general level classes and gets all A’s and B’s. Show your ability and prove that you can handle a college workload!

The value of advanced placement courses is clear. Our tutors are experienced in AP prep, and can help you both pass the course and ace the exam. Our tutors provide students with the study skills and tools they will need to prepare. Go to our K-12 Academic Subject Tutoring Page to learn more about what our tutors have to offer. 


-Annika Ketchum

Boston Tutoring Services

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