International College Counselors Weighs in on AP Courses: What, Why and a New Class

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Education consultant Mandee Heller Adler, CEO of International College Counselors, discusses the AP classes and informs of a new AP course and changes in Calculus and World History.

International College Advisors

International College Counselors

Students are advised to choose AP courses based on their interests, their college major, and/or their career goals.

Now is the time for students to start thinking about what Advanced Placement (AP) classes they're going to take. The AP curriculum consists of standardized high school courses that are somewhat equivalent to undergraduate college courses. After completing an AP class, students typically take an AP exam in that subject, which can earn them college credits and accelerated placement in college. Most students take their first AP class in their junior year, but freshmen and sophomores sometimes take them, too.

Why take an AP class?

Be challenged. There are more than 30 different AP-certified courses, including computer science, European history, psychology, music theory, and Chinese language and culture, although a high school may only offer some of these. Educational consultants at International College Counselors advise students to choose AP courses based on their interests, their college major, and/or their career goals. For example, students interested in engineering may take all of the math and science courses, but skip the history. Subjects can also help students determine a direction for their academic career.

Improve college admissions chances. AP classes say to college admissions officers that a student is ready for college-level work. Colleges also want to see that students have taken the most challenging courses available to them. Colleges rank grades and academic rigor over most other factors on the college application, including standardized test scores. If a student plans to go to a competitive school, taking AP courses is crucial.

Be better prepared for college. AP classes cover more material than traditional courses, are faster-paced, and hone skills like critical thinking, research, writing, and analysis. 

Boost GPA. Many schools give weight to AP grades when calculating GPA. AP courses can be worth as much as 6.0 for an A rather than the usual 4.0. School policies differ on this.

Earn college credit. Skip a required introductory course in college and take something else.

Save Money. Student can get some college credits completed without having to pay the full price they would while enrolled in college.

Credit and/or Placement. AP exams are scored on a scale of 1 (lowest) through 5 (highest). Students who earn a 3 or higher can receive course credits and/or advanced placement at most colleges in the U.S. and in other countries.

Win scholarships. AP courses and exam scores help students qualify for scholarships.

New AP Course and Changes

A new AP course in Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) launches this year in the Fall. According to the College Board website, this new course is designed to give students foundational computing skills, and an understanding of the real-world impact of computer programming and innovations.

Other course changes taking effect in the 2016-17 school year are updates to the AP Calculus AB and BC courses and exam. In the case of AP Calculus, the College Board said that there will only be minor changes. The format of the AP World History Exam will be revised and there are also minor revisions to the AP World History course.

For more information on AP courses and exams or high school course schedules, or for information on college admissions, visit or call 954 414-9986.

About International College Counselors

The college advisors at International College Counselors help students from all over the world find, apply to, and gain acceptance into the college of their dreams. The expert educational consultants at International College Counselors are dedicated to helping students and their families successfully navigate the college admission process.

Additional Resources 
From Public School to the Ivy League: How to Get Into a Top School Without Top Dollar Resources by Mandee Heller Adler and Aimee Heller, International College Counselors

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Cheree Liebowitz
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