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Rhea

When do HS kids take AP courses?

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Hi, I tried to find the answer online and didn't. When I was in public HS, AP courses were taken Jr. and Sr. years. Is that the norm? Do public and/or homeschooled students take AP courses sooner? Do they count (by those colleges that count them) if taken earlier than Jr. year? (Obviously I've got to do some reading on homeschooling the college bound highschooler.)

 

Sorry to ask such basic questions.

 

Thank you for your help, : )

 

Rhea

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Like you, when I was in high school, only juniors and seniors took AP classes. That has changed, not just for homeschoolers but even in public schools. About 50% of the 10th graders in my school district take AP human geography; a similar percentage of 10th graders in a neighboring school district take AP US Govt.

 

If student scores well enough on an AP exam for it to "count" towards college credit, it makes no difference when he took the test. Some 9th graders do AP's!

 

My older two only took AP's their junior and senior years because I thought that's when students do AP's. Now that I have learned that nowadays students do take them earlier, my rising sophomore will take one AP next year and we are expecting dd2 to take two AP's her sophomore year.

 

My only concern with taking them earlier is that I think students are less likely to get a 5 just because they are not as mature and don't have as strong study skills and test-taking skills, but hopefully a lower score in an earlier grade will still help college admissions.

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I think it's worth it if kids can manage APs earlier than senior year. For hsers, admissions coaches have told me that the more independently verified mom's grades can be, the better. APs are generally a more impressive verification than SAT IIs, altho generally colleges want to see those, too.

 

If you wait until senior year, colleges will not see those scores during the admission process--while they might get the kid credit, the scores won't be in early enough for the admission process.

 

Colleges might not give quite as much WOW to very early scores, but they do establish a track record of early excellence, and presumably the student has gone on to take more/advanced work in the subject. My dd took AP Human Geo in 8th grade (scored 5), AP US Government in 9th (scored 5) (this year), and next year--10th--is planning on AP Comp Gov and AP Macroeconomics. I think this builds a track record in the social sciences.

 

How young can you take them? Depends on the course and what else you've done. The ones dd has taken so far just require a LOT of reading, ability or effort to remember a lot of terms (hello flashcards), and the capability of writing short paragraphs that answer a question. In previewing, it looks like Macro will require quite a bit of math, so she isn't tackling it until she completed Advanced Algebra. AP Biology really requires that a student have taken a basic biology course--everyone I've talked to had a terrible time if they had not had a high school intro bio course first. The Lit and History APs we probably won't tackle until senior year, because we follow the WTM schedule. French, maybe Latin, we'll probably do in junior or senior year. AP Chem, Physics, Bio and Environmental Science all require labs.

 

Also, be aware that some APs are considered a semester, not a year course--both Governments, both Econs. There's nothing wrong with spreading the instruction out over a year, however, which is what we did on US Gov (family issues took a lot of time this year.)

 

Take a look at some of the prep books for sample tests. I think you'll be less intimidated (if you are at all).

Danielle

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A lot of highly competitive colleges don't give much actual credit to APs. For example, the Univ. of Chicago will give actual credit for AP Chem, Physics and languages, and limited elective credit for others (up to a certain maximum). I think I noticed that Amherst doesn't give credit for AP, but they "like to see" them on a student's record. However, the Univ. of Ill. will give credit for just about all of them.

 

Sometimes you may not want to use up your college electives, tho. It's really crucial to make a list of any possible colleges your dc might remotely consider, look up their AP policies (online or call), then strategize based on that. Or, just have dc take what they're interested in--APs are not the last word, but they are more rigorous than most high school level instruction and a motivated kid will benefit.

Danielle

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AP's even required, or are they? can a child go all the way through with just regular math and science classes.?

aren't ap's for kids that want to get free scholarships?

Mine certainly will not get that, but we want her to at least get an associates degree.

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AP's even required, or are they? can a child go all the way through with just regular math and science classes.?

aren't ap's for kids that want to get free scholarships?

Mine certainly will not get that, but we want her to at least get an associates degree.

 

1) Speeding up passing through college, as many universities grant credit.

2) Reducing number of gen eds to be taken, allowing greater focus on the major.

3) Admission to highly selective schools.

4) Extra challenge for a child who is unchallenged by the high school curriculum.

 

None of these are necessary per se, the community college should have an open admissions policy.

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Like you, when I was in high school, only juniors and seniors took AP classes. That has changed, not just for homeschoolers but even in public schools. About 50% of the 10th graders in my school district take AP human geography; a similar percentage of 10th graders in a neighboring school district take AP US Govt.

 

If student scores well enough on an AP exam for it to "count" towards college credit, it makes no difference when he took the test. Some 9th graders do AP's!

 

My older two only took AP's their junior and senior years because I thought that's when students do AP's. Now that I have learned that nowadays students do take them earlier, my rising sophomore will take one AP next year and we are expecting dd2 to take two AP's her sophomore year.

 

This was my experience as well. My rural high school didn't even offer "AP" classes. I drove 45 minutes to a suburban school to take the two AP tests that went with the subjects in my advanced classes (Chemistry & Calculus).

 

It's so different now in many schools, especially in more urban areas. Some students seem to be taking more APs, earlier, or are in the IB program. But that doesn't mean you, Rhea, should feel that your students must do this. It is perfectly ok to do high school during the high school years, and save college for later! It is also fine to do APs when you feel your student is ready, whether it is in 8th grade, 12th grade, or never.

 

My two oldest self-studied for some APs. I didn't have my son start studying for his three APs until January of his senior year, because I hadn't educated myself about them. My dd took three in her junior year and will take three in her senior year. I don't know about my younger children. That will depend on their interests and abilities.

 

We have compiled a list of pros and cons for self-studying for APs at home. Here it is:

 

Pros:

Can help with college admissions, especially if taken before the senior year.

Get a taste of college-level work in homeschool classroom, supervised by parents.

Avoid liberal bias in classes at secular schools (this is our personal viewpoint).

Self-study is a very inexpensive option, cheaper than community college classes.

Can allow the student to have room in his college schedule for other things, such as a double major, a minor, premed courses, study abroad, an internship or job, a lighter schedule, early graduation, masters in five years, etc.

No travel time, gas, etc., to community college.

Study is validated by a nationally known, impartial source.

Somewhat older edition textbooks can be used, potentially saving a lot of money.

 

Cons:

Many students are not ready for college-level work in high school.

Your student must be a good tester, and very focused.

Credit depends on one test - very stressful.

Will be more expensive than the community college if you take an online homeschool course.

Many students prefer or need to have an expert teacher who can help them with advanced subjects.

Some feel they need classroom experience as preparation for college, rather than self-study.

 

As other posters have said, not all AP tests and test scores count for usable credit for all colleges and majors. I wanted my dc to only take APs that awarded credit that would apply to their majors because of the cost and time involved. How can you decide that when a child is only in 8th or 9th grade? Other folks have the philosophy that APs should be taken even if the student will not get credit because they are good experience. Why hold a student back on advanced study if he is ready? Your stance depends on your child and your family priorities.

 

And finally, parents should keep in mind that if a student has AP credits and attends a four-year school away from home, he will be both taking advanced courses AND adjusting to dorm life. That could be difficult, especially if the student did the AP study several years earlier.

 

HTH,

GardenMom

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Thank you everyone, that was very helpful. I can't imagine doing AP anything this year. GardenMom, great summary of the pros and cons, thank you for sharing that.

 

Rhea

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Hi, I tried to find the answer online and didn't. When I was in public HS, AP courses were taken Jr. and Sr. years. Is that the norm? Do public and/or homeschooled students take AP courses sooner? Do they count (by those colleges that count them) if taken earlier than Jr. year? (Obviously I've got to do some reading on homeschooling the college bound highschooler.)

 

Sorry to ask such basic questions.

 

Thank you for your help, : )

 

Rhea

 

 

My twins are doing AP World History as 9th graders this year. I am not listing it as AP though... just honors and they will take the AP test in May. But I may change my mind and try to get the curriculum approved by the college board.... I am still looking into this.

 

I go with AP level every chance I can dependind on the student's goals and strengths. Both my twins don't want to "waste" doing a high school level course if they can get it done for college credit to get a head in college.

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