31 total AP courses: Which are worth taking?

Daniel Sofer
staff writer

With colleges becoming more and more competitive, students are wondering how many and which Advanced Placement classes to take throughout their high school careers in order to have the best chance of attending their dream schools.

AP classes are college level courses that can be taken in high school. Some colleges accept AP courses for college credits, which may reduce future costs for students.

This school offers 31 AP courses, of which some can be taken during freshman year, while others require prerequisites that can only be achieved by taking classes during prior years in high school. An example of the latter is AP Chemistry as it requires chemistry and Algebra II as prerequisite classes.

Parents and even students make it a big deal to take a certain number of AP classes, thinking it will boost their chances of being accepted into elite colleges, such Ivy League schools. Blogger Kate Sundquist writes, “Ultimately, if endless AP options exist at your high school, you should aim to take between 7-12.”

There are AP classes that are the most important or valuable to a student’s resume. This includes any AP language class as they give a certificate of biliteracy and both AP English classes as they help enhance students’ writing abilities, which will be useful for writing essays in college.

Even though these classes may look the best on college applications, if they do not apply to a student’s preferred major, they will be useless for their future career and a waste of time and energy. For example, the most useful AP math course to take is AP Calculus BC, while the best Advanced Placement science courses are AP Physics, AP Chemistry and AP Biology.

Having AP experience will help make the transition between high school and college smoother as there won’t be such a large jump in difficulty between classes. In addition, college courses follow a rigorous curriculum that is most similar to AP courses out of all the classes that are offered at high schools.

Although there is no exact number of APs required to be accepted to any college, there is an overall consensus that the elite colleges expect at least five APs to be taken by applicants during their time in high school. Similarly, mid to high tier colleges await a minimum of three AP classes, which is only an acceptable number if an applicant does lots of extracurricular activities and/or achieves a high ACT or SAT score.

Even though taking a lot of AP courses is a big plus for college applicants, the grade that a student receives in an AP class and the score they get on the AP exam is much more important. On their website, Columbia University said, “We hope to see that a student is challenging herself or himself with a rigorous course load.”

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