The Benefits of Advanced Placement Courses

Advanced Placement courses are rigorous.Advanced placement (AP) courses are college-level courses open to all high school students.  There are over 30 courses in a variety of subject areas.  At the end of the course, in May, you take a national standardized test to measure your mastery of the course material. The course work is both rigorous and rewarding.  Read on to learn why you should take AP courses.

The Benefits of Advanced Placement Courses

Make Yourself Competitive

Colleges and universities look highly upon students who have completed Advanced Placement courses. Taking an AP course will  stand out on a college applications because it shows that you are capable of advanced level work.  It also demonstrates to admission officers that you have challenged yourself, enhanced your skills and you are responsible. When applying to colleges with competitive admissions, AP credit is not only recommended it can be a necessity.  Students who have the best grades in the hardest courses will be those that make it past the initial “culling” of applicants.

Learn College Skills

Taking an AP course in high school forces you to develop the skills you’ll need in college. Your AP instructors will have high expectations and you’ll be expected to hone skills such as time management, critical thinking, problem solving and writing. And, you will boost your confidence that you can handle college level work.

participate in Advanced PlacementEarn College Credit

In most cases, if a student scores a three or higher (scale of 1-5) on an AP test they have the opportunity to receive college credits! According to College Board “Currently more than 90 percent of colleges and universities across the country offer college credit, advanced placement or both, for qualifying AP Exam scores.” If a student takes enough courses and scores well on enough their exams they could skip up to three semesters of college.  This has the potential to save you a year-and-half of course work and thousands of dollars in college tuition, fees and textbook costs!

Each college has rules regarding the credit they award for AP exams.  You can find a specific colleges’ AP score requirements on the College Board’s website.

Which is better?

Here is a question that is often asked by both parents and students:

“Is it better to take a regular class and get an ‘A’ or an AP class and risk getting a ‘B’ or ‘C’?”

If you are interested in attending a college with competitive admissions then you should take the AP class, work hard and earn the ‘A.’  Other students will and to be the a strong candidate you will need to also.

How do I sign-up for Advanced Placement?

AP course work is available to all high school students.  Even if your school does not offer a specific course that interest you it may be possible for you to complete the course online.  There are over 30 AP courses available from the College Board covering a variety of subject areas such as Math, Computer Science, Foreign Languages and Art.

At some schools there may be extra-fees to take an AP course which are used to cover the  May test fees .  If you require financial assistance to cover the cost of these fees be sure to let your counselor know. They can help you qualify for one of several fee reduction programs.

Below is a video in which students reflect on their AP experiences:

To learn more about your school’s AP program be sure to talk with your high school counselor.



Jennifer Caballero is the Director of College Guidance at Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, TX.  MMA is an all boys private college preparatory boarding school. For more information about MMA visit our website: