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What are AP courses, and why are they so important?

November 2, 2023

3 min read

A NIVA high school student dissecting a frog
A NIVA high school student dissecting a frog

The Importance of AP Courses: A Guide for Students and Parents

Advanced Placement (AP) courses are college-level classes that high school students can take to earn college credit and placement. With rigorous academics and high expectations, APs allow driven students to challenge themselves academically and get a head start on their college education. In this blog post, we’ll explore what AP courses are, their key benefits, and why they should be considered by college-bound high school students.

What Are AP Courses?

AP courses are developed by the College Board, the same organization that administers the SAT exam. The courses are designed to mimic introductory-level college courses in specific subjects. While AP curricula can vary slightly by school, they follow standardized outlines to ensure consistent rigor and expectations.

At the end of the school year, students can take individual AP exams in each subject. These standardized tests are scored from 1 to 5. Many colleges award credit and placement for scores of 3 and higher. With acceptable scores, students can skip introductory classes, potentially saving time and tuition costs.

With acceptable scores, students can skip introductory classes, potentially saving time and tuition costs.

Why Take AP Courses?

Here are some of the main advantages of AP courses for ambitious high school students:

  1. Earn college credit: By scoring well on AP exams, students can earn credit at most colleges and universities. This allows students to skip introductory-level courses and potentially graduate early.

  2. Stand out for college admissions: Competitive colleges look for challenging coursework when evaluating applicants. AP courses demonstrate a student’s willingness to push themselves academically.

  3. Prepare for college academics: The advanced reading, writing, and critical thinking skills required in APs help prep students for the rigor of college classes. Students adjust to college-level work while still in a high school environment.

  4. Potentially place out of introductory college courses: In addition to earning credit, passing AP scores allow students to skip introductory classes in subjects like Calculus, English, and History. This frees up time in college for higher-level courses.

  5. Learn time management skills: AP courses require strong time management skills to complete lengthy assignments and retain information. This helps students be prepared for the heavier workload of college academics.

What AP courses are offered at NIVA?

AP courses are very much encouraged at NIVA. It's imperative, however, that you choose a course that is inline with your goals leading up to graduation and university entrance. All NIVA high school students are strongly encouraged to discuss this with the Guidance Counselor. A full list of the courses on offer at NIVA can be found here.

The Bottom Line

For college-bound high school students looking to get ahead, AP courses offer an array of benefits. From earning early college credit, to learning time management skills, to skipping introductory college courses, APs provide a valuable way to make the most of your high school experience. At NIVA, we offer a number of popular AP courses from which you can choose from. Start a conversation with your guidance counselor today! With proper planning and commitment, APs can give students a head start on their path to college success!

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