Over the next few
posts, I’ll be giving away the secrets to wooing those admissions counselors
and luring in an acceptance letter from the college of your child’s dreams. For
academic hopefuls, the junior year matters. Time to spit shine that transcript!
The first (and
probably most important thing) colleges absolutely drool over is AP coursework
and a score of 3 or above on the AP exam.
My daughter never
took an AP class until her senior year. In 11th grade, she was still
planning to be a professional ballerina. College wasn’t even on the radar.
Thus, she crammed four AP classes into her senior year (two were taken online).
It would have been easier for her to do two her junior year and two her senior
year. But we were playing catch up.
colleges like to see even more than four AP classes. But if your child can fit
at least one AP class in before the senior year, he’s doing fine. If you
start thinking about college before junior year, you’re ahead of the game. If
you can toss in an AP class before the junior year, well, more power to ya!
Here is why AP
courses help spit shine your transcript:
AP courses are
equivalent to college courses. In some cases, AP courses are harder than
college courses. Colleges know that if you can handle an AP course,
you can handle college. Please don’t have your child attempt an AP course if he
is struggling with regular coursework. They are genuinely difficult and require
more hours of study.
courses offer college credit if you take the AP exam for the course. Most
colleges give three credits for a score of 3 or 4. Many colleges give six credits
if a student passes the AP exam with the highest score of 5. Most colleges
charge $300 or more per credit hour. That’s a big college savings and a giant
leap toward college graduation. Some very elite schools do not give credit for
AP courses but give admissions preference to students that took them.
A list of all AP
courses offered can be found here.
If you can’t find a
local AP class to attend, there are plenty of online options. A few are listed
Keep in mind that an
AP course’s instructor and syllabus must be approved by the College
Board to count on the transcript. Your student can take the AP exam without
taking the class, but he will not be able to get AP course credit on his high
school transcript without having completed the approved course.
It’s great to have AP
on the transcript. Why not have your child give it a try? Have him choose a
subject he feels strong in and then sign up! Who knows? Maybe he’ll garner some
college credit and a little more love from that college of choice!