2 Answers

Jeff Williams Points380
Yes, there can be too many AP courses.

Students need to have the right balance of demanding classes that stretch their academic abliities without having their grades dip below an A / B range (which most colleges will want from students). It's best to have APs in subject areas of interest / strength complimented by Honors or College Prep courses in areas where the student has more difficulty.
Should you or shouldn't you, enroll in AP classes and if so, how many are OK to take. Taking an AP class needs to be carefully considered. Keep in mind what the letters stand for: AP = Advanced Placement. While still in high school this means that, you will be taking a class which, will be taught using a college course outline. It is not an easy thing. I have seen students really struggle with the decision of whether or not to enroll in an AP class believing that their transcript will be all the stronger when it comes time to apply to college if they do. Although there is some truth to this idea it is more important to focus on other areas such as: - will you be able to maintain a strong A/B average throughout the year in an AP class - will you be able to keep up with course demands while continuing to keep your overall grades up - will you still be able to have time to enjoy your friends and family - will you be enrolling in an AP class that addresses an area you are very interested in Here's the thing with AP classes - yes, they do make a student's transcript look stronger, no way around that. For some students taking one or more AP classes is no problem but most high school students are doing, high school work leaving the demands associated with what is basically a college level course for another time . If you are not able to spend time with friends and family, not able to complete AP assignments before mid-night, are falling behind in your other classes well, it really isn't in that case it, worth it. Many the person that will disagree with me on this point but if you have read any of my other postings you know I embrace mental health and an active lifestyle, one that provides you with enjoyment first and foremost. When feeling strong and able, ready to attack more advanced coursework go for it but remember, there is a college for everyone. If you do not take any AP courses but your grades and test scores are good, you will attend college; have no doubt. And if you do not get into a top tier school because of your lack of AP courses please do not believe you life will amount to less than those that do attend. We gain from life what we give to life. We gain from our educational experiences what we put into it. Be guided by what makes you happy. Be guided by reasonable expectations. Be guided by the knowledge that your future is in your hands and whether or not you take AP courses and attend a top tier school, will not be the sole basis for success in your life. If you have a strong command of calculus and love math, take the AP Calculus class. If you can't wait to get to your English class everyday and have a solid track record in that area, take English 12 AP. When it comes to Social Studies, US 1 & US 2 AP can be challenging at best but a very enjoyable experience for those that love History. Only you know yourself well enough to judge if you are up to the challenge, if you are interested in the material both enough, to enroll in an AP level course. I have had students that have enrolled in one AP class while others have taken 3 and 4 because their level of understanding and speed in picking up new material was outstanding. I think that's great but, there are the rest of us for which College Prep. and Honors classes are what we can handle. Be proud of what you are able to do regardless of the academic level. Having said all that, personally I do not believe that there is such a thing as taking too many AP classes if one is able. Before one enrolls in more than one or two AP classes though, the question I would ask both student and parent is to look over their life to make sure other aspects will either not suffer or, there are some activities they can withdraw from in order to allow for the extra time needed to complete all assignments. When it comes to AP level courses, it is rarely about one's ability and more about one's ability to complete all work associated with it in a timely manner; being able to keep up with reading assignments while handing in essays on time. When trying to decide also keep in mind that if dropping an activity to afford yourself more time to attend to coursework be mindful to keep 3 activities going of which you are very involved with throughout the year. What colleges want to see is how you can juggle all different activities along with your school work and, do well. They also want to see that a student has diversity in courses taken along with, activities involved. As you can see, there are many things to ponder when selecting AP courses. If I have added to your confusion I am sorry but I think the really important point is, to think long and hard about your decision. Seek out the teachers of AP courses and discuss with them their expectations so you can make a truly informed decision and, trust your instincts! Good Luck! Janice Kirn-Sottilaro

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