Advanced Placement classes can bolster a high school transcript and improve one’s chances of being accepted into competitive college programs. They’re also good preparation for the rigors of college workloads. Some colleges will let you use a high score from an AP test to place out of entry-level courses.
But is it worth taking an AP course if you don’t know that you’ll get a good grade? Do honors courses carry less weight than AP courses? Because honors courses are usually considered less rigorous than AP courses, you should take an AP class if you think you can get an A or B. But if you think you may get a C+ or lower, you should probably stay in the standard level or honors course.
Honors programs vary vastly from school to school, and colleges recognize this. Many colleges will take into account the context of your high school’s honors program, how many AP courses were available to you, as well as your overall course load. Not all colleges will look at specific honors vs. AP classes. This isn’t something you need to stress out over, but you may want to research how the specific colleges you are interested in applying to weigh AP courses in their admissions processes.
“If [students] are in the class just to get the extra weighting points or have it “look good” on the transcript, then drop back and get a higher grade,” says college admissions counselor Bill Dingledine. “Remember, the purpose of school is learning and a student should be in a situation where he or she can learn successfully without an overload.”