AP Courses: How Much is Too Much?

As colleges get increasingly competitive, students find themselves taking more and more AP (Advanced Placement) classes to gain an edge. Schools can offer up to 34 courses from Art History to Statistics for students to choose from. And why not? The rigorous classes (and a high score on the year-end exams) can boost grade point averages and translate into college credit, which sometimes means substantial savings on pricey college tuition. Students who take AP courses in high school are more likely to graduate in four years and tend to perform better in their college classes.

But is it too much of a good thing? Some of the Bay Area’s most competitive high schools are pushing for a cap on the number of AP classes a student can take, and other schools are eliminating them altogether. The argument: That there should be a limit to the amount of college-level stress a high school-age student is subjected to, as students who fill their schedules with AP courses can quickly become overwhelmed.

Parents and students who oppose a cap on AP courses are concerned that they will be at a disadvantage when it’s time to submit college applications. They argue that students with the drive and academic ability should be able to craft a demanding schedule with as many AP courses as they choose. The schools counter that they advise college admissions offices of their limits and that they take that into consideration.

We can help you navigate these and other college planning issues; contact us with your questions.

Photo Credit: Nalini Prasanna

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