AP Classes For College Prep

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

AP Classes For College Prep

college student at a desk NSHSS

AP classes are a great boost to your college transcripts, even if you don’t follow through with the examination. There are 38 AP classes and exams available, although not all of them are offered by all high schools. Choosing which AP classes to take is an important decision that can impact the college admissions process and whether or not you get into your top school.

Here are the best AP classes for college applications.

AP classes for core subjects

The best AP classes for college admissions are those that show your mastery in a key subject. College admissions officers prefer to see at least one AP class as evidence of college readiness. Choosing a subject related to your declared major will increase your chances of admission. 

Common core subjects for AP classes include:

  • AP Biology
  • AP Calculus A/B and B/C
  • AP Chemistry
  • AP English Literature and Composition or AP English Language and Composition
  • AP US History
  • AP World History: Modern

It is better to have one solid AP class on your transcripts than to have several AP classes with mediocre results. If you are only going to have one AP class in your high school career, make it count by choosing one of these core subjects.

AP classes for college prep

College admissions officers want to see AP classes that prepare you for higher education. In addition to core subjects, these AP classes include AP Research, AP Seminar, and AP Statistics. These AP classes provide high school students with the research, analysis, and presentation required for college-level coursework.

AP classes relating to your major

The best AP classes to take for college are those that relate to your area of study in some way. Some of the most common major- or career-related AP classes include:

  • AP Computer Science Principles and AP Computer Science
  • AP Environmental Science and AP Human Geography
  • AP Government and Politics, both Comparative and US
  • AP Macroeconomics and AP Microeconomics
  • AP Physics 1 & 2, Algebra-based
  • AP Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism and AP Mechanics

Business and public policy students should also consider taking AP European History and foreign languages like AP Chinese, AP French, AP German, and AP Italian. 

Take AP classes for college credit

College credit is possible for most of the AP classes mentioned thus far. However, three AP classes in particular can result in college credit for general education requirements. AP Psychology is one AP class that typically results in college credit, and it fulfills the humanities requirement demanded by most colleges for any degree program. 

AP Spanish Language and Culture is also a helpful course. Spanish itself is a very helpful AP course for life in general because roughly 13% of the population speaks Spanish as their primary language, and that percentage increases every year. 

Take AP classes recommended by your mentors

High school students should take advantage of all resources and support available, including mentorships. Academic mentors such as teachers, faculty, and administrators are the most common. Go to the teacher or academic counselor you trust most if you need help choosing AP classes for college admissions. 

NSHSS leadership programs also offer mentorship opportunities. The NSHSS Collegiate Council is the most important for determining what is needed for college admissions. NSHSS members receive this and other support to choose the best AP courses to take for college and other important college preparation resources.