Advanced Placement class enrollment on the rise

As college admissions become more and more selective and college tuition skyrockets, more and more students are looking to AP classes to get ahead. The number of students in AP classes has increased 20% in the last 7 years. Juniors taking AP classes account for the largest increase in students. The recent addition of AP Studio art classes also make up a percentage of new students in AP.

AP classes provide students with a college level class that prepares them for the future and gives them an opportunity to earn credit. The number of students, as well as the number of classes, is rapidly increasing at BSM.

The leading factor in the increase of AP classes is the increasing selectiveness of college admissions. Colleges and universities place a great amount of weight on a student’s rigor when determining admission. “The reality is that to be competitive in top tier admission pools, you have to have taken all of the APs possible.” said BSM AP coordinator Ms. Amanda Anderson.

In addition to covering college level material, the learning style of AP classes is a big draw. It allows students to experience what a college class will be like and prepare them for the future. “Part of it is a self taught aspect so you’re no spoon fed the answers. It teaches you to dig for the answers more.” said senior Katie Segner.

Students can earn college credit by doing well on the $39 AP exam instead of over $2,000 at the University of St. Thomas.

— Ms. Anderson

The possibility of earning college credit is a very enticing factor in the decision to take AP classes. Students are always looking for ways to cut down on the exorbitant price of college and AP is one of the best way to do so. Students can earn credit by doing well on the AP exam. “Students can earn college credit by doing well on the $39 AP exam instead of over $2,000 at the University of St. Thomas.” said Ms. Anderson.

At some colleges and universities, AP credit allows freshmen to bypass general requirements and directly pursue their major. It permits them to take more electives and have more freedom in their coursework. “One BSM student earned credit for 7 AP classes and started college at UW-Madison as a sophomore” said Ms. Anderson.

The intense curriculum and pressures from AP classes can push students over the edge. In order to stay competitive, students will take as many as 5 AP classes in one semester. The College Board, the leader of AP, recommends no more than 3 AP classes in a given year.  “Junior Year, I opened my study guide for an AP US History test and had a panic attack and mental breakdown. I ended up dropping the class, only to pick it back up a week later.” said Katie Segner.