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What's the point of taking AP's senior year?

RiseAndGrind8RiseAndGrind8 1 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3 New Member
Sorry if the question sounds stupid or amateur but I only recently finished Freshman year.

Anyways, I was wondering why people often take several AP courses as a senior when college applications are generally submitted near the beginning of senior year? I know that colleges will sometimes check your grades and the classes you are taking the first semester of senior year and maybe at the end of the year but that's mainly to ensure that your grades don't plummet.

Do colleges still consider the AP exam scores you submit at the end of senior year in their APPLICATION process? Wouldn't it make more sense to complete the "important" AP's such as Calculus or Physics at the end of Junior year so colleges are guaranteed to consider them?
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Replies to: What's the point of taking AP's senior year?

  • shawnspencershawnspencer 3098 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,110 Senior Member
    You list the classes you are taking when you apply and transcripts often show them anyway. Even if they may not see the grades, colleges want to see you are still challenging yourself senior year and plus it is still a good way to still get college credit
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  • T26E4T26E4 23243 replies1031 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 24,274 Senior Member
    1st semester really matters b/c grades and class choice is viewed particularly hard by the colleges. How and what you accomplish senior year is the best predictor of how you'll begin your college freshman year. Why are seniors allowed the most APs? B/c they're the next through the breach.

    Only few are ready for AP Calc or Physics in the 11th year. For them, definitely take them. For most others, it's not an option and colleges know this.

    You're right in that the May AP exam scores aren't in play for seniors -- they never were. But valuable for them if they want acceleration or credits once in college.
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  • CorinthianCorinthian 1782 replies61 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,843 Senior Member
    edited August 2015
    The vast majority of colleges don't ask for official AP score reports in the admission process. They let you self report them on the Common App. Taking AP classes, when available, is a way to show you have taken the most rigorous curriculum offered at your school. That includes senior year. In the Common App you list your senior year classes in progress, and colleges will get confirming information from your school about what you're taking, so you don't want to slack off senior year. Yes, it's impressive if you have taken "important" AP's junior year and done well in them.

    Also, colleges vary in how much credit they will award for AP courses. I've known students who go to our local state universities and are basically entering as sophomores due to AP credits and dual enrollment credits. That can amount to a substantial cost savings that can be used for graduate school.

    Even if you end up at a college that doesn't give you much credit for your AP exams, the scores can still be used for placement. For example, my D just started at Pomona. She had six 5's on AP exams, but Pomona awards credit toward graduation for no more than two. But her scores in Calculus BC, and Chemistry were used for placement purposes for Fall semester. In future semesters she may want to take classes in statistics and psychology and her scores in those AP's can satisfy prerequisite requirements so that she doesn't have to take the most introductory class.

    So, no, schools don't consider your senior year AP exam scores in the application process. They do, however, make your offer of admission conditional on keeping up your academic record senior year. So the admission office won't be looking at your senior year AP scores, but will be looking at your senior year grades. If you get C's or D's, you will probably at least get a warning letter and in the case of D's may get your offer rescinded.
    edited August 2015
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  • T26E4T26E4 23243 replies1031 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 24,274 Senior Member
    Also, if you slack off and take cream puff schedule your 4th year, you can bet that selective colleges will red flag that immediately.
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  • KKmamaKKmama 3041 replies41 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,082 Senior Member
    In addition AP classes help prepare you for college by keeping you in rigorous classes. You stay in the habit of working hard and studying. Many students are not prepared for the self discipline required in college.
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  • happy1happy1 22475 replies2196 discussionsForum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 24,671 Forum Champion
    edited August 2015
    1) Colleges absolutely consider the strength of your senior year schedule and check grades before acceptances are determined. Any huge drop off in grades or change in the rigor of schedule is grounds for an acceptance to be rescinded.
    2) If you do well on the AP exam you could get college credit and might waive out of some required core classes, leaving you with more time to take classes in your area(s) of interest.
    edited August 2015
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  • ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad 6202 replies163 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,365 Senior Member
    My D2 is a ChemE. Because of her AP courses, she can do her entire undergraduate with 4 classes per semester. It allows her to be happy and involved. That's a huge advantage because doing 5 courses per semester is really hard.
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  • billcshobillcsho 18315 replies91 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 18,406 Senior Member
    edited August 2015
    The main reason for taking AP is not just for demonstrating course rigor. AP is for advanced placement in college. You take AP classes in order to take the AP exam for potential college credits and fulfillment of pre-req courses. That is the main purpose and original reason for AP exam.
    edited August 2015
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  • IrisShadowIrisShadow 194 replies81 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 275 Junior Member
    Everything everyone has said above. It's extremely obvious to colleges that you took AP's only for the weight and college admissions, you can get credit/placement and save money, graduate earlier, take a lighter course load, or take electives that interest you. They prep you for college material, bring up your weighted GPA, and actually brought the kid ranked 3rd in the class to val as a junior, and will possibly affect rank again because the girl ranked ~5 is taking no unweighted classes and an extra one after school while those ranked above her typically have at least one unweighted and a regular courseload. My former debate captain is a freshman at Yale and is convinced she wouldn't have been accepted had she not taken AP Bio and Chem (both 2 period classes), AP Gov, AP Lit, and AP Calc BC, and an aide period (not included in GPA). It brought up her GPA as well. While that wasn't the only factor (she got a 2350 SAT and had impressive EC's), there was no way an admissions officer wouldn't be able to tell she was taking AP's just for college had she not taken such a rigorous load as a senior.
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  • BeeDAreBeeDAre 1156 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,168 Senior Member
    edited September 2015
    To get college credit for those courses - which is the original purpose, I believe, of AP courses in high school.

    eta: Sorry to be redundant, didn't see that others answered this before me.
    edited September 2015
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