What are AP’s Really Worth?

CNBC calculated that 86% of top colleges have some sort of restriction regarding AP credit usage. Interestingly, the Progressive Policy Institute found that over one million students are enrolled in an AP course each year. The College Board’s main bragging points claim that AP classes stand out on college applications and can help students earn college credit while in high school. Their website preaches that “AP enables willing and academically prepared students to pursue college-level studies—with the opportunity to earn college credit, advanced placement, or both—while still in high school.” But if one million students take the classes and the overwhelming majority of colleges don’t accept all forms of credit, then what uniqueness and college readiness are AP’s actually providing? 

Chances are if you’re planning on attending an accredited university in a few years, AP’s are likely not going to save you thousands of dollars in credits like your parents hope. They are difficult courses, but in a school where days of AP classes are sometimes spent playing historical Battleship or watching 10-minute video compilations of tsunamis hitting the shore, how truly worthwhile and distinguishing are these classes? At Wheatley, they’re a staple. 

During the 2017-18 school year, there were four sections of AP World History for the class of 2020. In 2019, the College Board reported that only 55.4% of students nationally that took the AP World exam even passed the test, scoring a 3 or above. Meanwhile, a 3, which 28% of students received, will hardly get you an elective credit at a competitive school. 

So next time you feel the pressure to enroll in five AP’s and give yourself immense anxiety throughout your junior year, reconsider the real impact of the classes you may be taking. And keep in mind that at the end of the day, a private organization’s promises may not be the complete truth. 

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