AP Courses: How They Contribute to a Successful College Application

Nate Salkoff, Editor-in-Chief

The College Board, which is a non-profit organization that has been around for nearly 120 years, has helped schools and education systems around the world challenge their students and assist them in receiving college credit, participate in standardized tests, and apply to college. Because it has existed for so long and been the sole provider for some of the most popular standardized tests, tests which are a crucial and fundamental part of any college application, The College Board has gained considerable recognition as being one of the most reputable and trustworthy non-profit organizations that assist in applying to college.

AP students hard at work on their homework in the Knowledge Center. Photo courtesy of the yearbook committee.

The College Board also offers AP courses, which essentially just honor classes with significantly more curriculum and criteria. Additionally, AP courses have exams at the end of the year that are cumulative and involve all or near all of the curriculum covered throughout the year. These exams prove to be difficult and are scored on a five-point scale. A three or above indicates a passing score, while a two or lower indicates a failing score. If a student happens to not pass a particular AP exam for a course, no GPA values are affected; the student simply does not receive credit for that course for college.

Students in the Knowledge Center working hard. Photo courtesy of the yearbook committee.

AP courses were introduced because in the 1950s, following the Second World War, people believed that highschool students were not receiving proper education to best situate them for the workforce and economy of America. The College Board believed that more intense, curriculum-based courses like Advanced Placement courses would be able to prevent students from being undereducated in certain realms of studies. Over time, The College Board continued to add more and more AP courses to better fit a wider variety of students, based on anything from nationality to major interests; as of today, there are eight different language courses offered for AP courses.

But how exactly does the participation in an AP course affect college admission chances or college credit potential? According to Mrs. McClintock, who is Bishop Manogue’s college advisor, “AP courses are extremely beneficial because participation in such courses displays a true dedication to school and learning in general.” Colleges prefer to see students who push and challenge themselves throughout their high school careers, and AP courses are a perfect way to show this dedication. “Although there are many other contributing factors to a college application, such as grade point average, extracurriculars, letters of recommendation, and essays, challenging yourself with regards to your course load is a fantastic way to show colleges how truly dedicated you are to pushing yourself to your educative limits and succeeding in such an endeavor.”

All in all, AP courses are a valuable thing worth partaking in and certainly a crucial part of any college application. If you are planning on attending a competitive university, absolutely consider attempting AP courses.