Academy of the Canyons

AP vs. college classes– Are they worth it?

Many people often think that by taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes that they might get ahead in college, get credit, or may look better to colleges. Often times, that is not the case.

AP courses are rigorous courses focused on one subject leading to a final nationwide test in May determining a score between 1-5 (5 being the highest). Some students take the AP test without taking the course if they feel prepared. AP classes provide a new environment for organized, efficient individuals ready to take on the workload of extra homework and extra tests.

Colleges don’t always accept AP courses’ credit, which leads to many students repeating similar courses in university. The Washington Post’s article, “AP program isn’t all it’s cracked up to be — study” by Valeria Strauss states, “it is rare that students pass enough AP exams to skip an entire semester or full year ahead, thus allowing them to graduate in three or three and a half years.”

Getting a bad grade in an AP course can be more harmful than not taking the AP course at all. Along with the payments for review books for the final exam and the test can become over $100. Strauss continues to write,”research shows that after controlling for background variables between AP and non-AP students, taking AP courses has very little impact on time to degree.”

In The Atlantic’s article, “AP Classes Are a Scam,” John Tierney states, “students don’t receive college credit for high scores on AP courses; they simply are allowed to opt out of the introductory sequence in a major.” Taking an AP class can arguably give students unnecessary anxiety and stress for credits and work that may not be accepted or credited when they go to a university or a college.

So then what’s the deal with college classes?

Many times students who have dual-enrollment with their local community college and high school are often open to many benefits. Not only can they set their schedule, but they only attend class twice a week creating less of a burden on the student. Community College courses are often little to no cost to high school students. College courses ensure guaranteed credit upon successful completion– so if you take a few general education courses during high school you could possibly skip out on a year or two at the university you plan to attend.

Not only that but also college classes provide an open-minded perception to career fields along with gaining important skills for school. With talented teachers complete specialized in the profession they teach, college classes are a full immersion experience.

Yet, there are a few downsides to taking a college class.

What if you end up with a “hard” professor? Check before you sign up!

How comfortable will you be with adults around you in class? Being with older kids and adults can open your mind to those experiences and analytical thinking you may not be exposed to in school.

Is it safe at night if you have an evening class? Campus security is always available to walk with you to and from class.

There are many variables to consider when thinking about AP and/or college classes, but figuring out which environment may be better for you is where the answer lies.