Most colleges will structure academic programs so students can graduate in four years. But students eager to enter the workforce can earn a degree even quicker. Sure, students can load up on classes and complete their degree in three and a half years, but they risk experiencing burnout.
Instead, students can start receiving college credit during high school through AP credit. After securing a decent number of AP credits, ambitious students can potentially skip a year’s worth of general education classes and immediately register for major-specific courses.
The jumpstart in a student’s college career directly translates to reduced tuition costs since students already have credits under their belts. Read on to discover how to obtain AP credit and its advantages.
Most high schools offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses as a high-level class, giving students a first-hand look at the content seen in an introductory university class. After completing these courses, students may register for the AP test respective to that class: a comprehensive exam that measures students’ knowledge in the course and determines if the student satisfies the requirements to receive college credit. Scores on these AP tests are out of five points, with a five being the highest and a one being the lowest. Some colleges will accept anywhere from a three to a five while other universities demand a four or a five.
Colleges will list their AP score expectations on their respective websites, so students can determine ahead of time if they want to pursue AP credit. It is worth noting that some colleges may only reward AP credits for certain tests, or even partial credit. Furthermore, certain colleges may have limits on the number of credits they can award students. In fact, 38 percent of colleges put a limit on the maximum number of AP credits students can receive. Nonetheless, obtaining AP credit will always only help students; though, certainly, some more than others.
In short, any high school student that has access to AP courses and academic resources should consider taking several AP classes during their high school career. While these courses will prove more challenging compared to normal high school courses, the benefits far outweigh the time and commitment they require. In addition, even if students take an AP class but then opt out of an AP test, colleges will still take notice of the choice to take a more difficult class, which will bolster the college admission package.
Students planning to study more intensive majors, such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) majors, should consider AP credit to help supplement the advanced coursework they will encounter once they arrive in college. While they would likely still graduate in four years even with AP credit due to the intensity of their major, they would have to take fewer general classes and would thus have more time to focus on the more advanced courses in their degree programs.
Similarly, students who plan to get a dual degree will, at many colleges, need a much higher number of credits than they otherwise would. While they could finish in four years normally, they will likely encounter a much higher credit requirement than their peers, taking more classes than average each semester to complete all their requirements in time. With AP credit, these students will have a much easier time reaching their higher credit thresholds.
Look at your high school’s course list to learn more about the AP courses they offer, such as Calculus, Physics, U.S History, and Economics. While the courses may prove challenging even for seasoned students, the tutors at Test Prep Score can help you achieve in a variety of AP-level courses. For updates on AP exam strategies and information, keep an eye on Test Prep Score’s website for advice on jumping into an Advanced Placement education.