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Old August 28 2013, 01:52 PM   #1
1001001
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Why Your Kids Should Take AP Classes

For American parents:

I don't know how it works in other places, but here in California, high schools offer "Advanced Placement" courses, which are theoretically college-level. They are graded on a 5 point scale (A=5, B=4, etc.). There are AP exams which the student has to pass.

If the student does this, these classes can count for college credit. That's where our story begins.

Our daughter took a ton of AP classes in high school (without any urging from us). Psychology, Government, Statistics, Environmental Science, English...some others that I don't remember. She was a very good student, and graduated with a 4.08 GPA. She passed all her AP exams (which cost $89 each!).

Last week she went of to college (a public university here in California). She moved in to the dorms, and did orientation, all that stuff. She started classes on Monday. We've been waiting to hear what kind of credit she would get for all her hard work.

Yesterday she was notified that her AP classes/exams would transfer 51 units to college. 51 units! That means that even though she started classes Monday, she is now a second semester Sophomore. She'll be a Junior at the end of this semester.

So basically, her willingness to work hard in high school and challenge herself amounts to the equivalent of a $34,000 scholarship. She can graduate in 2.5 years, at the ripe old age of 20.

With the cost of public university skyrocketing ($23,000 a year, for everything) this is huge for us, and for her. We are so proud, and a bit stunned that the program worked so effectively and smoothly. Our lives are never that easy! We've been so stressed about paying for college, and now it will cost us about 38% less than we thought.

So if you have kids in high school where these kinds of programs are available, give some serious thought to them. It paid off immensely for us.

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Old August 28 2013, 02:10 PM   #2
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Re: Why Your Kids Should Take AP Classes

Good for her, and good for you.
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Old August 28 2013, 02:26 PM   #3
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Re: Why Your Kids Should Take AP Classes

In this case it's probably not an issue, but be aware that credits are not all you need for graduation. You can have 200 credits, and you still won't graduate until you fulfill the requirements of at least one major.

Also, for those who need to change schools for one reason or another, be aware that most colleges put a cap on the number of transfer credits they'll accept, *and* require you to earn some minimum number of credits at their school before they'll graduate you.

None of which diminishes the accomplishment in the OP, of course!
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Old August 28 2013, 05:23 PM   #4
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Re: Why Your Kids Should Take AP Classes

I got out of having to take any math courses in college because of my Calc AP credit (and I only got a 3 on the test, I sucked at calc - but I got an A in the class because my teacher gave crazy participation points). Got credits for the 4 I got in AP Music, but as a music major it didn't easily count toward my major at all. I had to argue to get out of Remedial Theory, and that AP class had covered what amounted to THREE theory courses at my university. The California state university system sounds like they're very generous. Your daughter will at minimum get a GPA boost and probably has most of her core curric courses covered. Sweet.
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Old August 28 2013, 06:28 PM   #5
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Re: Why Your Kids Should Take AP Classes

They have the same thing in Florida but you need to take the required courses to actually graduated with an AA.
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Old August 28 2013, 06:46 PM   #6
RoJoHen
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Re: Why Your Kids Should Take AP Classes

My AP classes didn't actually count for college credits, but they did get me out of taking some of the introductory freshmen-level classes, which allowed more time in my schedule to take a few more "fun" classes that I may not have otherwise been able to take.
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Old August 28 2013, 06:55 PM   #7
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Re: Why Your Kids Should Take AP Classes

My high school didn't offer AP classes.
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Old August 28 2013, 07:20 PM   #8
Alidar Jarok
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Re: Why Your Kids Should Take AP Classes

I took two AP courses and three exams. The classes were worthwhile because they're good for the GPA boost. The exams? Well, I'll go one by one to say that, while good, they weren't great.

AP US History. This was worth 6 history credits in American history. As a history major, this might have been useful. It turned out not to be because US History wasn't required for a history major and I ended up taking so many history classes I stopped receiving credit. However, a person who made different choices could have maximized their use of this credit.

The rest shows the problems:
AP Statistics. Worth 3 credits. However, it did not fulfill the one math class I had to take - forcing me to take another math class. In the end, this was essentially wasted credits because it got me nowhere towards completing my degree.
AP English Language. I think that was its name. I took the test with no class and passed it. I got three credits. However, it did not count as an English course, forcing me to take the Freshman English course anyway. This was also a waste.

I'm not saying it's a bad idea. There are certainly positives (another nice positive is having more credits gives your priority when signing up for classes). However, it doesn't translate exactly 1 for 1 when you still have degree requirements to fulfill. I also don't think anyone should graduate from College before they turn 21, but that's a digression right there.

However, congrats to your daughter. It sounds like she worked hard and it'll hopefully pay off.
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Old August 28 2013, 08:02 PM   #9
J. Allen
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Re: Why Your Kids Should Take AP Classes

Like RoJo, my AP classes didn't give college credits. That would have been nice! Still, congratulations!
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Old August 28 2013, 08:32 PM   #10
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Re: Why Your Kids Should Take AP Classes

Congrats to your daughter!

I took 4 AP classes, 3 in my senior year; Bio, Calc, English, and US History, and got to take 5 tests (English qualified for English Language and English Lit), and got credit for all but Calc. This got me about a semester's worth of credits, though it was also really helpful for getting out of some intro-level stuff and on to more advanced classes which I appreciated - probably wouldn't have been able to take some Lit courses for fun without them. I was so glad I took AP courses - it made my Senior Year tougher than a lot of people, but totally totally worth it.
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Old August 28 2013, 08:45 PM   #11
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Re: Why Your Kids Should Take AP Classes

I took AP Econ (5) AP French Lit (4) AP English (4 - don't recall if it was language or lit) which got me 9 credits at PSU. The French Language exam was 20 credits for a 5 and 16 for a 4, so I definitely picked the wrong one to take there.

Of course, I had a full academic scholarship to Penn State so I didn't really care about graduating early.

I currently teach AP Chem.
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Old August 28 2013, 09:10 PM   #12
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Re: Why Your Kids Should Take AP Classes

Kestrel wrote: View Post
I took 4 AP classes, 3 in my senior year; Bio, Calc, English, and US History
I had the exact same thing, and those were all the AP classes offered at my school. The 3 in English got me nothing, surprisingly, and a 4 in History took care of my entire requirement. I got a 5 in Biology, which counted for 12 hours (three lab courses), but since I was in aerospace engineering, it only got me free electives. I got either a 3 or 4 in Calc, which would have given me credit for the first of five Calc classes, but I decided to go ahead and take Calc I anyway, in order to better help me learn the way things were done there.

One thing that annoys me to no end (even though it's been 20 years now), is that many high schools counted AP classes as a max of 5.0 on a 4.0 GPA scale. My high school only counted it as a 4.0, so at least within the high school system, the extra work didn't count for squat over someone else in the main track courses.

Like Digits said though, I would also recommend someone take AP classes if they can. Most of the time, they only count towards those core classes that all majors have to take, but for most people, getting those out of the way early will help you concentrate on your actual major classes.
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Old August 28 2013, 09:53 PM   #13
RoJoHen
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Re: Why Your Kids Should Take AP Classes

B.J. wrote: View Post

One thing that annoys me to no end (even though it's been 20 years now), is that many high schools counted AP classes as a max of 5.0 on a 4.0 GPA scale. My high school only counted it as a 4.0, so at least within the high school system, the extra work didn't count for squat over someone else in the main track courses.
My high school was already on a 5.0 scale, and AP classes could count as a 6.1 (for some reason). It was weird, and colleges got confused when they looked at my transcripts and saw that I graduated high school with a GPA of 4.9 (considering my senior year I stopped giving a shit and there were several Cs included in that GPA).
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Old August 28 2013, 09:57 PM   #14
auntiehill
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Re: Why Your Kids Should Take AP Classes

I took AP courses in the last year of high school, and it helped me out tremendously. I still had to take 4 years of college, because I needed certain classes to finish both of my majors, but I actually graduated with far more credits than I needed (about 1 1/2 semesters worth). I was able to balance my class load and even take one or two classes outside the regular curriculum.
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Old August 28 2013, 11:05 PM   #15
Finn
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Re: Why Your Kids Should Take AP Classes

No AP program at my alma mater
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