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Advanced Placement: Why Take AP?

Why Take AP?

A study done in 2008 by the College Board ( found that students who took AP in high school had better four-year graduation rates in college than those who did not take an AP course.

This study found that graduation rates for AP English Literature students were 62 percent higher than graduation rates for students who took other English courses in high school. This is just one of the many reasons that students may chose to enroll in an AP course students. The following PDF gives more information about the benefits of enrolling in AP.

The Benefits of Taking AP

Courses Advanced Placement courses often come with a common misconception—that they are only available to high achieving students. The reality is that any student can enroll in an AP course regardless of physical or mental blocks that the student might feel may be preventing them from taking AP.

Since AP is geared toward preparing students for college, all students interested in attending a college or university should really consider taking an AP course. However, students must decide on whether or not their schedules can accommodate the rigorous amount of time and dedication needed to take an AP course.

If your child is thinking of enrolling in an AP class, here are some things to consider about the benefits of taking an AP course.

  • Students have more time to take other courses in college. It might be easier for students to pursue a double major or minor or take elective courses that interest them if the college that they attend substitutes high AP test scores (4's and 5's usually) for course credits. Students should check with the college or university that they are interested in attending to find out what their requirements are and if they accept AP exam scores as a substitute for some college credits.
  • Allows students to take up a double major or a minor, or take more electives. Taking AP classes might allow students to fulfill some of their general education course requirements. With those classes out of the way your child might have more time to take up a double major, select a minor course or take elective courses that interest them.
  • Develop college level academic skills. Enrolling in AP courses enables students to develop more rigorous study habits and take on more challenging course work that parallels what they might see in college level courses. AP courses challenge students and allow them to build critical thinking skills while working on their ability to collaborate in groups.
  • Increases eligibility for some scholarships. Approximately 31 percent of colleges and universities will consider a student's AP course work when making decisions about which students will receive scholarships. Students can check,, or for more information on AP scholarships.
  • Increases college interest in a student. Taking an AP course can also help students boost their grade point average (GPA) and gives one additional factor for colleges or universities to look at when they apply for scholarships and on your college applications. Approximately 85 percent of selective colleges and universities reported that they looked at whether or not a student had taken an AP course to make their admissions decision (See:

    College Admissions Counselors see students that take AP course work as having the ability to take on the challenges necessary to further their education and they equate that to a student having a greater success rate in college. They see these students as being hard-working and self-motivated.
  • Students may be able to save money. If students take enough AP classes throughout their high school career they could potentially graduate from college a semester or even a year earlier since many of their college credits would have been fulfilled. Early graduation has its pros and cons but for students that know that they won't apply for financial aid during college this could be a definite way to save money on tuition.
To learn more about AP programs in your school check with your school counselor or visit DoDEA's Website or the College Board's AP Central Website for more information.

Contact Information:

DoDEA Advanced Placement Instructional Systems Specialist
4800 Mark Center Drive
Alexandria, VA 22350-1400