As students get closer and closer to their senior year, many wonder when they should begin to seriously prepare for their future. Of course, most people would say the right time to start preparing is as early as possible. Because of this, many high school students enroll in Advanced Placement courses in order to get ahead. However, not everyone agrees that these classes are as helpful as they appear.
Advantages of taking part in the AP program include increased class rigor, early college experience, more in depth content, and possible reduced cost of college tuition. Those who encourage participation in AP classes say simply completing a course is the largest benefit because it allows the students to get an understanding of what kind of work ethic will be required to be successful in college. This can also be a downside, though. Many students may not be able to deal with so much pressure when they are still fairly young and have many other things to focus on in their lives.
One huge factor that plays a role in someone’s decision about whether or not to take AP classes is the cost. The classes themselves are typically free, besides a small class fee for supplies or materials. However, at the end of the year, students are required to take an exam for each of their AP classes. These exams can cost up to $89 per class. If you make a passing score on the exam, you earn a college credit and will not have to pay to take that class later in college – time and money well spent. The students also receive $100 for every exam they pass, which means the exam has pretty much been paid for. When compared to a college class, which usually costs anywhere between $450 and $1,500, the AP courses seem like an obvious good choice. Although, if a student takes the AP exam and does not pass, $89 has gone down the drain, and you will have to take that class again and pay a much bigger fee in college – time and money both wasted, perhaps?
In the end, each individual must weigh all the pros and cons of the Advanced Placement program and decide if it is right for him or her. Admittedly, AP will not be the right road for all students, and no one should simply take the courses because of any outside pressures. Instead, they need to focus on their own personal goals and ask, “Will this be beneficial for my future?”