Parents: Are AP classes a waste of time....or WORSE?


If you have a kid going to highschool, then please pay attention to this.

I first wrote about it in 2005, and it was my most requested article for reprint EVER.

Pay attention:

First, let me tell you what I see a LOT of:

kids getting loaded up with 3, 4, or in some cases 5 AP classes in one semester,

and they’re doing mediocre in ALL of them….which ultimately KILLS their chances of getting in to a top college.

Usually, it’s because ONE of the classes is completely over their heads, and they have to struggle so much to keep up in that class that they can barely keep their heads above water in the other classes.
Then, when they go to apply to college, most schools do NOT take weighted GPA’s, so they only see what the UN-weighted GPA is…

And in many cases they don’t bother to look past that.
For example, recently, we had a student that we knew of (NOT a client) that had a 4.0 GPA….who didn’t get in to ANY colleges that he applied to.

At first blush, you wonder how in the hell can he not get in anywhere, then we realized that he had FIVE (!!!!) AP classes.
In other words, he was getting straight B’s in all of his honors classes, and that, sadly, is all the colleges looked at.

So, in their eyes he didn’t really have a 4.0, he had a 3.0, which wasn’t enough to get in.

And, he started out at a community college.
So, what I’m saying is that your guidance counselor is telling you the truth when they say that ‘A B in an AP class is as good as an A in a regular class.’

It is…but ONLY to the high school, so they’re only telling you part of the truth.

To most colleges, it’s still a ‘B’.
In fact, most high schools are ranked by the number of kids that have AP classes, so it’s to their advantage to push your student to get in….even if it’s not in the kid’s best interests.

Hold on, it gets even worse:
When these kids finally drag themselves exhausted into college, they get the shock of their lives to find out that the schools really don’t give them college credits for all the classes that they took, and they get to count two or three at best.
No, not always, but often this is the case.

So, here’s the big question: just how many should YOUR kid be taking?

As many as they can….withOUT sacrificing their overall GPA.

In other words, it’s kind of a Catch 22…..they want to see you push yourself as much as possible, but they also expect to see more ‘As’ than ‘Bs’.
BUT, if you find that one AP class in particular is taking an extra-ordinary amount of effort and time….and it is NOT what your student wants to major in….do NOT be shy about dropping the class for a regular one.
In most cases, it will not hurt their admission chances, and usually you wind up with a much happier student, a higher overall GPA, and more time for all the other stuff that colleges want to see like community service, internships and the like.
Internships and running their own business are LEGIT hacks to not only getting in, but being prepared for REAL live.

So be sure they focus some time there.

One last story to show you how absurd this is:
We had a kid take 12 (!!!!) AP exams, and score 5's on 11 of them, and he got a 4 on the 12th.

Those got him in to Stanford..

BUT... He ONLY got credit AT Stanford for ONE of the classes, and it allowed him to take an elective instead of a life sciences class.
Now the kid was fine with it, because it got him in to Stanford....but, he still had to take 120 units from Stanford to graduate.

And it's the same at many other colleges too.
If you're REALLY looking to spend less time in college, then instead of AP classes, look at CLEP tests.

Those WILL actually count for college credit and save you time in school

There are 33 of them, so you can knock out a whole bunch of the basics w/o even community college
End for today.

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