What’s So Great About AP/IB Courses?
YOUR HIGH SCHOOL GUIDANCE COUNSELOR has probably told you that taking Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses will help you get into the college of your choice. What you may not know, though, is why.
The most recent State of College Admission Report, conducted by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, reveals that the No. 1 factor considered by admissions officers is—you guessed it—grades in college prep courses. The report clearly shows that college-bound students should work hard to earn good grades in the most challenging classes that their high schools offer.
WHAT ARE AP/IB COURSES?
Taking an AP or IB course is similar to taking a college class while you’re still in high school. AP and IB courses function similarly, but with a few differences:
— An AP class is a college-level course offered at your high school that can provide you with college credit when you enter your freshman year. Students enrolled in this program take the AP exam in May of each school year.
— The IB Diploma Programme is a two-year curriculum for high school students. Juniors and seniors take six courses in various subjects, providing them with credit at some colleges and universities.
WHY SHOULD YOU TAKE AP/IB COURSES?
Although high grades in AP/IB courses will a go a long way toward impressing college admissions committees, perhaps more importantly, they’ll help you prepare for college itself.Taking AP/IB courses now and scoring well on AP exams will allow you to:
— Develop the critical-thinking, writing and problem-solving skills you’ll need to succeed in college classes.
— Bypass many introductory level requirements such as composition, giving you the freedom to pursue other elective courses that may interest you (e.g. sculpting, art or drama).
— More easily select a major when the time comes. With more (academic) time on your hands in college, you’ll also be able to explore different fields and better determine which one is right for you. You might even choose to add a minor to your field of study.
— Obtain college credits. In addition to lightening your course load in college, this can save you (and your parents) a little money. Credit on AP exams can save thousands of dollars in college tuition alone and/or count as credit for one or more courses. If you take enough AP courses, you could even graduate from college early.
So, if you’re trying to decide between taking chemistry and AP chemistry, consider the benefits of the advanced course. Even though it might make high school a bit more challenging, it will make college a lot more rewarding—and even a little easier.