The deposits have been sent in. The caps and gowns have been ordered. Prom happened. All of that college stuff is all taken care of now and students are starting to come down with that oh so common disease that most second-semester high school seniors get: senioritis.
While seniors have probably been warned not to let their grades slip too far, since colleges can and will revoke acceptances, that motivation may not carry over to AP exams. After all, the results of those tests won’t affect grades, so what’s the point, right? Not so fast, there are several reasons as to why seniors should actually study for and put effort into their AP exams (one of them includes saving thousands of dollars!).
Placing out of College Requirements
High AP exam scores can get students out of certain classes in college. For example, my school (Boston College), like many other schools, has a core curriculum that all students are required to complete. It’s a whopping total of 15 classes that students must take, ranging from Natural Sciences to Philosophy to Fine Arts. That’s three semesters worth of classes! If your student wants to double major, it can be tough fitting all of those required major classes in with the core requirement. In comes AP credit. Many schools have similar policies: a 4 or a 5 on an AP exam (3’s are sometimes accepted as well) will allow the student to skip the corresponding core requirement. Thanks to my AP scores, I was able to skip 5 required classes! This allowed me to be able to pick up pick up a double major as well as a minor. AP credit can also give students more room in their schedules that will allow them to be able to study abroad or simply spend a little more time exploring before committing to any particular field of study.
Starting off in More Advanced Classes
In addition to freeing up time in a student’s schedule to add another major/minor, credit can also allow students to bypass introductory classes and let them jump ahead to more difficult classes, so they won’t be wasting time (and tuition dollars) on material they’ve already learned. Seriously, this can add up to a big advantage!
Earning College Credit for High School Work
If the college your teen plans on attending doesn’t have a core curriculum, they may offer college credit in exchange for high AP scores. Using my school as an example again, students who have 24 AP credits (that’s about 8 AP exams) are eligible to graduate in only 3 years (think about how much money you would save!).
Even if your student can’t manage to shave a full year (or even semester) off their college education, they may be to able to lessen their course load during a few semesters and still graduate on time. This can be especially beneficial if they are taking tough classes with lots of requirements or balancing their academic work with a job, internship, or other responsibilities. Overall, scoring well on an AP exam has plenty of great benefits aside from improving their chances of gaining admission: allowing a double major or taking more advanced classes, studying abroad, providing flexibility with their course load, and saving money by graduating early. Of course, you should check the policies of the college your student is attending for more accurate details on how credit will be awarded.