AP Classes You Should Be Taking

Friday, April 12, 2024
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Beginning your journey into the world of AP classes isn't just about earning college credit or boosting your GPA. These courses offer valuable skills and knowledge to help you succeed in college, trade school, or any path you choose. Even if the AP course does not culminate in college credit or advanced placement, AP classes can provide the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college or trade school. 

The latest data from Advanced Placement shows that students who score at least 2 on one AP class in high school are more academically successful than those who do not take any AP classes. As such, having at least one AP class on your high school transcript proves that you have prepared yourself for the experience and effort of higher learning. 

With over 38 potential AP classes available, it is expected that you will need clarification about which AP classes you should take in high school. There are AP classes that give you foundational skills to succeed in college, AP classes designed to support core high school subjects, and AP classes that focus on a particular major or career of interest.

AP classes that prepare you for college

female student at desk NSHSS

4 AP classes give high school students the skills necessary to succeed in academia. These are the AP Research, AP Seminar, AP Statistics, and AP English Literature and Composition. Students with English as a second language should consider AP English Language and Composition instead. AP Psychology is another AP class that helps you in college. Psychology commonly fulfills a humanities requirement for most universities that give college credit for AP classes.

AP classes that play to your strengths

The most important thing to remember about AP classes is that failing them is worse than not taking them. Make sure you choose AP classes where you are most interested in the subject or have shown aptitude and dedication.

The most common AP classes for core subjects include:

  • AP Biology

  • AP Calculus

  • AP Chemistry

  • AP Computer Science

  • AP Drawing

  • AP Music Theory

  • AP Physics

  • AP US History

AP classes for your career path

If you have time in your schedule, there are many AP classes geared toward specific majors, careers, or areas of study. Here are some common career paths and the AP classes that best apply.

Business Majors: AP Macroeconomics and AP Microeconomics 

These classes are required for most business degrees, and if your chosen college provides credit for AP classes, they could help decrease the cost of completing your degree.

Public Policy Majors: AP European History, AP US History, and AP World History: Modern 

Taking these AP classes could be helpful if you want to compete for the NSHSS Foundation Business & Public Policy scholarship.

Construction Management: AP Arts: 2-D Design, AP Arts: 3-D Design, and AP Physics 1 & 2

These courses will prepare you for working with digital models, blueprints, and solving engineering issues on construction sites.

Computer Sciences and Engineering: AP Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism and AP Mechanics

In addition to the more obvious AP Computer Science Principles and AP Computer Science,  AP Calculus is also helpful for computer science and engineering majors because it could satisfy a requirement for engineering degree programs.

Renewable Energy Careers: AP Environmental Science and AP Human Geography

These AP classes will give high school students the foundations for any career in renewable energy and environmental science, whether going to college or trade school.

Other considerations to decide what AP classes to take in high school

You need to remember a few other things when choosing AP classes in high school. First, make sure that you don’t take on too much. Taking on too many AP classes and failing tells admissions officers that you have inadequate expectations of how to use your time. 

Many parents and high school students ask when you should take AP classes. Students can start taking AP classes as soon as their freshman year. Starting with basics like AP English or subjects of strength are ideal for freshman high school students.


NSHSS supports students, teachers, and schools in making AP classes more accessible to students. NSHSS also works with AP to raise awareness of particular in-demand careers and promote the AP classes that provide their foundations.