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What are AP Classes in High School? (2021)

MAR 22, 2021

With all of the recent changes to the university admissions process, namely the shift to test-optional admissions, students from around the world are looking for more ways to boost their profile and stand out to admissions officers. One of the most popular curriculums in the U.S. is CollegeBoard’s Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

College Board, the organizing body which administers the SAT college entrance examinations, announced this past January that they will be discontinuing both the optional SAT Essay and the SAT Subject Tests from their standardized testing platforms, eliminating them entirely by the end of the summer of 2021.

AP or Advanced Placement exams are being accepted and encouraged as a valid replacement to SAT Subject Tests. College Board CEO David Coleman said, “AP provides a much richer and more flexible way for students to distinguish themselves.”

So you may be wondering, Are APs the new SAT? The answer is… yes! SAT subject tests are out, AP courses are in.

What are AP classes?

AP courses are a set of curricula created by CollegeBoard to give students the opportunity to take college-level courses and, depending on the score a student receives on the exam, receive college credit.

How are AP courses different from Honors and other curricula?

While many schools offer Honors courses in addition to their standard curriculum, APs are becoming increasingly common because of the potential that comes with receiving top scores on the exams. Similar to Honors, AP courses count towards your weighted GPA, but unlike Honors, APs have a standardized exam at the end of the course. Depending on the score you receive (1-5), your goal university may offer you college credit which can set you up early for particular credit-related benefits.

How long do AP classes take to complete?

AP courses run the length of the academic school year, with the exams hosted over the course of 2 weeks in early to mid-May.

You can self-study for these exams in a shorter amount of time but it is very difficult to comprehend the amount of material you would need in order to get a top score on the exams.

Why do AP classes matter?

AP courses are the perfect way for you to demonstrate your intellectual curiosity in ways that traditional high school courses cannot. They allow you to:

  • Boost your candidacy for college applications - Earning top scores in an AP course is the best way to demonstrate your academic ability to colleges.
  • Stand out amongst your peers - Showcasing your academic ability will help you stand out from your peers, whom you are directly compared to in admissions
  • Get a head start in high school - Study college-level material early and gain exposure to the academic expectations of college.
  • Give yourself an edge in college - AP courses allow you to earn college credit and pursue more advanced courses.
  • Take a deep-dive into areas of passion - Explore areas of interest, such as Psychology or Computer Science, and provide a clear indication of your academic passions.
  • Challenge yourself - AP classes are rigorous and demanding, offering intellectual stimulation that you won't get elsewhere.

How can you take additional AP classes?

While many high schools around the US offer APs, there are plenty that do not, or they do not offer the full AP course roster. By taking additional AP courses, you can show admissions officers that you are not only prepared for college-level courses, but are actively seeking out opportunities to learn more, explore your possible interests, and stand out from your peers and the global applicant pool. So how do you get started with additional APs?

Five months ago, we brought together the brightest minds in education to create Crimson Global Academy (CGA). CGA, a fully-registered online high school, offers students the opportunity to take additional AP courses part-time, online, via live weekend classes with extraordinary teachers.

More about Crimson Global Academy

At CGA, we believe in a learning approach based on competency and maturity, not age. This means students are free to unlock their full potential in studying advanced coursework. In fact, over 40% of current CGA students are studying at an accelerated level.

CGA proudly offers Advanced Placement (AP) courses. AP courses allow high school students to take classes at the US university level. They allow students to study 38 subjects in-depth and prepare them for college-level work. Most US universities recognize AP credit as college credit. The AP Program offers several awards for high achievement. Each year, over 2.8 million students take AP exams, with most students taking multiple APs during the course of their high school careers. AP is one of the most recognized curricula for top universities. Our CGA students are currently studying from: Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, UAE, UK, Ukraine, and the United States.

Learn more about Crimson Global Academy!

Shannon F.

Written by

Shannon F.

Shannon completed her Bachelors at Franklin University Switzerland where she majored in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies & minored in Social Justice and Sustainability. Shannon has a passion for environmental and social justice and immersing herself in new cultures. Shannon has worked in higher education and now works as the Community Outreach & Engagement Lead with Crimson. Shannon currently lives in California and enjoys reading, water polo, hiking, yoga, and traveling.