How many AP Courses should I take in high school?
While it varies by high school, many high schools start their curriculum planning process for the following year as early as January or February. As such, we thought we would touch on it here so that you can start thinking about it now, even if the process won’t commence at your high school until the springtime.
The number of AP (Advanced Placement) classes you should take in high school depends on various factors, including your academic abilities, your own capacity and desire and your interests. Here are a few things to consider when deciding how many AP classes to take:
Your academic abilities: AP classes are college-level courses. If you are planning to apply to competitive colleges, taking various AP classes can be beneficial because it demonstrates your ability to handle challenging coursework. Ultimately, there is no better way to demonstrate to an admissions committee that you are ready for college level work than to take various AP classes and do well at them. However, it is equally important to find a balance and not overload yourself with too many AP classes, as this can lead to stress and negatively impact your overall GPA and everything else you do.
Capacity & Desire: It's important to consider whether you have the necessary skills and motivation to not only succeed in AP classes, but to be able to balance these courses with all of your other obligations, extracurricular and otherwise.
Your interests: If you are interested in a subject, you are more likely to enjoy the class and do well in it. If you don't enjoy a subject, you may find it more difficult to stay motivated and engaged. As Aristotle once suggested…. "Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work."
Overall, it's important to consider your individual strengths and goals when deciding how many AP classes to take and our counselors help students to look at the bigger picture in context when deciding how many (and which) AP classes to take. If available, it's generally a good idea to start with one or two AP classes in your sophomore year and then increase the number as you become more comfortable with the workload and the material.