A false start with AP exams

June 10, 2007, midnight | By Boris Vassilev | 17 years ago

Early graduate students lose in the long run

High school is supposed to prepare us for college. Counselors encourage students to take challenging courses, try their best, maximize capabilities and show potential. And what better way to do this than taking and scoring well on an Advanced Placement (AP) exam? Many colleges currently offer exemptions from their first year courses if students score well enough on the respective AP exams. In light of this, students are using these exemptions in order to skip semesters, or even entire years of their college education. But instead of getting a head start on life, students who skip college courses are cheating themselves out of important life education.

AP tests are designed to give students "a head start on college level work" and "stand out in the college admissions process." Nowhere does it say that the AP tests are a gateway towards getting that bachelor's degree a year earlier or skipping out on the (sometimes) infamous college freshman experience. According to the University of Maryland's credit transfer policy, scores of three to five can earn students exemption from core and advanced courses from the sciences to history. The true intent and worth of AP tests lies in their ability to give students the chance to take more challenging courses earlier in their college careers and progress further in their studies by the time they are graduates. The lasting impact is supposed to be gained practical knowledge in your job, not being the youngest employee at your company.

Many college professors even claim that AP classes do not deliver the full educational worth that a college course on the subject would give a student. They argue that the education given in high school is not up to the standards of a college course and that high school AP courses do not aptly prepare the student for more advanced courses students can take in colleges. Despite the tuition money saved, skipping over the basic courses may lead to an incomplete education.

Getting out of college early might sound like a good idea, but it has its own set of underhanded pitfalls. Graduating before peers will place alumnae in competition with people who have had the benefit of a complete college education. This could place early grads at a disadvantage when it comes to getting employment, as in the eyes of employers, they will have a smaller education.

High school students today should seriously re-evaluate their desire to enroll in as many AP classes as possible. While high scores on certain AP tests can bring exemptions from beginning courses, in the long run, students could be losing worthwhile learning and experience.

Boris Vassilev. THIS IS BORIS'S FIRST BIO EVER! Squirrels in the Montgomery Blair area have recently filed a restraining order against Boris. He copped their nuts and borrowed their hairstyles. (Just look at his legs!) More »

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