Creative commons photo courtesy of College Board
As an eighth grader applying to CHS, I was utterly amazed by what the school had to offer. Specifically, the concept of taking all honors classes sounded like such an impressive feat.
And to think, I may take one of the two AP classes offered! I was confident that no matter what happened during my time in high school, I would have an edge over other students when applying to colleges because of the classes I took.
But as a senior that has gone through the college application process, I’ve realized I may not have had an advantage at all. Yes, honors classes usually outweigh regular courses, but it’s hard not to notice the difference between AP and honors in the eyes of an admissions counselor.
According to a survey conducted by Inside Higher Ed, 70% of colleges view AP courses to be rigorous while only 59% think the same for a selection of honors classes. Even with AP Calculus or AP Studio Art under your belt, the majority of your classes still look less competitive in a pool of similar applicants. This is especially true for students taking AP Studio Art who do not plan on pursuing a major in design, bringing the number of beneficial AP classes down to just one. Not to mention, there are some students not even on track to meet the CHS prerequisites and therefore have no opportunity to take these more “rigorous” courses.
Having more AP classes at CHS would go beyond just giving students the ability to check off an impressive box on their college applications. Farran Powell from U.S. News & World Report shares that depending on the school’s policies, students taking AP courses have the opportunity to save up to a year in college costs using their high school credit. Though CHS does offer credits in certain courses from colleges like Seton Hall University and Ramapo College, there are not nearly enough to amount to a full year of tuition, if colleges even choose to accept them. At the bare minimum, AP classes would create another way of making college more affordable if used alone or combined with other credit.
AP classes have also been shown to prepare students for their future coursework. As a study from the CollegeBoard showed, AP students either performed the same or better in the intermediate-level college course when compared to non-AP students who took the college’s introductory level course. By implementing more AP classes, students would be able to build a solid learning foundation and avoid any shock value that comes with transitioning into higher learning.
According to the CollegeBoard, the number of high school students who took at least one AP Exam during their four years has increased by 57% over the past ten years. As the number of participants in the AP program continues to grow, CHS should strongly consider offering more AP courses within their curriculum, both for their students’ present and future.