Advanced Placement Courses are the #1 determining factor in predicting the success of high school students once they enter the college of their choice. What Advanced Placement classes provide for a high school student is a rigorous classroom environment and college level material, with the added bonus of an end of the year examination that can earn the a high school student potential college credit based on their performance on an AP exam.
Most significantly, AP classes on a high school transcript shows prospective target schools that a student is ready for the challenge of college level work because they have already been exposed to it at the high school level. Hence, a high GPA without any AP classes does not mean as much; a student has not demonstrated “strength of schedule.” Taking the most challenging classes in high school, (AP classes) means more than a high GPA with only general level classes. If a college is going to invest their time and money (in the form of grants and scholarships) they want to be sure that their “investment” – an incoming freshmen – will “pay off” and not fold under.
Students earning a three or higher on A.P. exams are three times more likely to earn a college degree than students who do not pass, and African-American and Hispanic students who pass an A.P. exam are four times more likely to earn a college degree than those who do not pass, according to the study–National Center for Education.