December 13, 2016
Many high school students ask about what they can do to prepare for college. I always tell them to try an AP class.
Advanced Placement classes and the corresponding exams are more challenging than other normal high school courses, but the experience provides students with valuable reading, writing and comprehension skills. The College Board, the same organization that proctors the SAT, oversees the curriculum and exam for each of the courses offered. The classes cover subjects from Biology and Calculus to Art History and Spanish.
Not every AP class is right for every student. I took AP German, and the results were less than stellar. I’m not a natural language learner, but I grew up watching the History Channel with my older brother, so AP U.S. History was a much better fit. Talk to your guidance counselor before signing up for an AP class and make sure the subject area lines up with what you’re good at or what you’re interested in. They’ll also ensure you only take classes you’re ready to handle.
AP classes bring a bigger workload, including more complex readings and longer essays. The teachers assign more work than in a normal class, create more comprehensive tests and grade thoroughly.
But AP teachers also teach excellent reading and testing strategies. I still remember Ms. Crawford’s outline to a thesis paragraph and use it for research papers in college. The work might be tough, but the payoff is outstanding. I took six AP classes in high school and all of the exams. I scored high enough on four of the exams to earn college credit, so I entered college with 17 credits – a whole semester’s worth.
I left with more than credits though. Because of those classes, my reading and writing improved immeasurably. I discovered study strategies that worked best for my learning style. Most importantly, I walked away knowing I would be able to successfully handle a college-level course. That confidence made freshman year look a whole lot less scary.
If you want an academic challenge, take an AP class. You will leave with more knowledge and the skills to tackle college.
Meet Katie, the summer 2016 ICI intern: I’m Katie Goodrich, a senior journalism major at an ICI member campus. I believe in grammar, justice and the right to ice cream. I am fluent in English, sarcasm and gibberish. My talents include an incredible memory for ’90s song lyrics, power naps and having just enough bad luck to produce great anecdotes.