In today's letter, a Sparkler asks: is it worth it to take one AP course?
My name is Karine and I am going to be a senior in high school this upcoming fall. I am trying to situate my classes for this year and I was wondering...
I've taken Honors English throughout my 3 years in high school and this year I signed up for AP English Literature for my senior year.
I've heard that one AP class won't matter to colleges unless you've been taking AP classes throughout your entire high school career.
Now my question is, is this true?
I don't want to take this class and put more stress on me this year, so should I take this class or no?
My high school classes look great because I've been taking classes that are towards what I want to become in my career, so I'm not sure if one AP class would make a difference in my admission to get into the university that I want.
Please respond ASAP!
Thank you for your time!
Will one AP class make a difference? Sure it will. From one AP class, you'll get a sense of the rigor of college coursework, you'll get a shot at taking the AP exam and possibly earning college credit, and you'll catch the eye of admissions offices. College admissions officers love to see that a student has taken increasingly harder classes in high school and done well. You've held your own in Honors English classes, and admissions officers will be pleased to see that you're upping the ante with an AP course.
Here's a good rule of thumb for everyone: when in doubt, take the harder courses.
This doesn't mean that you must enroll in every AP class on offer throughout all four years of high school. That would be incredibly stressful. But if you think you can hold your own in an advanced course, sign up for it! The hard work and extra stress will pay off.
Many schools don’t offer a wide array of AP courses. If that's the case at your school, enroll in courses that are academically rigorous, such as Honors classes, and take whatever AP courses are available. Admissions officials realize that course offerings can vary greatly from high school to high school. They will look favorably on students who took advantage of challenging courses, even if their high school didn't give them many of those to choose from.
One warning: it's usually a mistake to enroll in an AP course unless you think you have a fighting chance of getting a decent grade. For example, if the sight of equations turns your brain to soggy oatmeal, don’t enroll in AP Calculus unless you are sure it will not totally sink your GPA. And if writing is your strong point, take all the Honors and AP writing courses your school offers, and do your very best work in these courses.
What's your AP experience? Do you have advice for the letter writer? If you have a question of your own, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.