AP Classes You Should Be Taking

Thursday, July 13, 2023
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AP Classes You Should Be Taking

There are many benefits of taking AP classes that apply to all students regardless of future plans or current GPA. 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 a 2 on one AP class in high school are more academically successful than those who do not take any AP classes in high school. As such, having at least one AP class on your high school transcript as evidence that you have prepared yourself for the experience and effort of higher learning. 

With over 38 potential AP classes available, it is common to be confused 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

There are 4 AP classes that 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. Internet research, data and statistical analysis, and presentation of the findings are important skills used in every college experience. 

AP Psychology is another AP class that helps you in college. Psychology commonly fulfills a humanities requirement needed for most degrees at 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 at all. Make sure you choose AP classes in your strongest subjects to show your 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

Choose AP classes that match your interests as well. For example, it is only necessary to take one type of AP science courses. There are a total of 4 AP Physics classes, each delving deeper into the subject. 

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. These are the best AP Classes to take senior year. 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 it could decrease the course-load and cost to complete your degree.

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

There are also two AP Government and Politics classes, one comparative and one for the US specifically. Taking these AP classes is important 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

These are 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 satisfies a requirement for college admissions and degree programs.

Renewable Energy Careers: AP Environmental Science and AP Human Geography

Both of these AP classes will give high school students the foundations needed 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

There are a few other things you need to keep in mind 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. NSHSS membership provides many such opportunities for students that cannot pay for AP exams. NSHSS also works with AP to raise awareness of particular in-demand careers and promote the AP classes that provide their foundations.