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AP Classes Vs. College Classes

nhi1605nhi1605 Registered User Posts: 146 Junior Member
edited January 2010 in College Admissions
Hi, which type of classes (AP vs. College) look for favorable to colleges?
My sister's argument: College classes look better because they show I know how college classes are like
My AP bio teacher's argument: APs because they're harder.

My thoughts: College classes are way easier to pass and get an A in in contrast to getting a 5 on the AP exam. Some college classes even offer more credit than the AP equivalent and they only last for a fraction of the school year. For example, I'm debating between taking US History at the local community college or at school via AP. The equivalent of US History at the local college is Hist 11 and Hist 12, 3 units each. Therefore, if I take it at the college, I will get 6 units in total, while if I get a 5 on the AP exam, I will only get 5 units. Furthermore, I am really bad at timed essays, so getting a 5 on the AP US Hist exam will be VERY hard for me.

So, what are your thoughts on this subject? AP or college classes?

-Many thanks

PS. I'm sorry if someone already made a thread on this. If this is so, please link me there =D.
Post edited by nhi1605 on

Replies to: AP Classes Vs. College Classes

  • newest newbnewest newb - Posts: 751 Member
    Do you realize how ridiculously funny that first line in your post is?

    Hmm, what do colleges like more, college classes or imitation-high-school-classes? It seems to me that the obvious answer is that like attracts like (or like likes like, if you will). Obviously college classes are more representative than AP classes.
  • BeautifulnightsBeautifulnights Registered User Posts: 648 Member
    ^What? Obviously AP classes are better- you stick with them the entire year, you take the test, you are on the same AP standard as everyone competing- which is a good thing, because colleges know that a AP 5 is the best you could do. On the other hand, getting an A at a college may not mean the same as making the most of your own high school experience. I definitely choose AP!
  • nhi1605nhi1605 Registered User Posts: 146 Junior Member
    Newest newb: I'm sorry, I'm still an English learner.

    See, even these 2 replies contradict each other... >.<'

    And that's true, getting an A in a community college class is a lot easier than a 5 on AP test.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 25,518 Senior Member
    AP exams are designed to measure whether or not you have learned what is normally taught in a college course on that subject area. Classes labeled "AP" are designed to prepare you to take that exam.

    Real college classes (yes, even those taught at community colleges) are real college classes. "AP" classes aren't real college classes, but when taught well, they can cover the same material as that offered in the college course the exam is designed to demonstrate equivalent knowledge for.

    If you want guaranteed proof that you can perform in a college environment (and college credits that will transfer anywhere) take the class at the community college.
  • zoosermomzoosermom Registered User Posts: 25,968 Senior Member
    take the class at the community college
    I agree but with the caveat that you must make sure that you're not taking dual enrollment classes. If the classes are taught on the college campus as part of its curriculum, that's perfectly great. If they're part of your high school transcript, take AP classes.
  • ModadunnModadunn Registered User Posts: 6,263 Senior Member
    You couldn't convince me that biology taught at our local community college would be even remotely similar to the AP Bio taught at kiddo's high school. In fact, I would say the same for kiddos AP Latin, English and Econ. My point is that it depends on the quality of teaching at the high school your child attends. There is a big deal made of the fact that our AP classes do not teach to the test and are taught with the same expectations found in a college classroom. However, the results are that most kids get either 4 or 5's on the exams.

    So while our situation is not always the case, I think you have to look at the individual schools and make the determination as to which would be the most academically rigorous.
  • mysoncollegemysoncollege Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    I teach at a college.
    AP courses are NOT same as college classes.
    For example, if one has AP calculus BC, the person will not be ready for calculus 3.
    AP physics will not be enough for rigorous college physics courses.
  • PaperChaserPopPaperChaserPop Registered User Posts: 1,291 Senior Member
    ^I think it depends on the AP teachers.

    I had no problem picking up Calc 3 at a top 20 uni after taking Calc BC followed by a year of no math in hs. Of course, this was many many years ago. I had a very good Calc BC teacher.

    S1 is taking AP Physics C now and his classroom tests are harder than the AP. So, again, it depends on the teacher.
  • ModadunnModadunn Registered User Posts: 6,263 Senior Member
    While I might agree on the surface, I do know that AP calc AB as taught to my kid was certainly good preparation for college Calc II. Not his major and now he's done with taking Math. AP Bio? Since that's his intended major, even a 5 on the exam didn't entice him to test out or skip the intro series as offered by his school. Had he not been a science major, it would be a different story.

    The question, however, is which is more impressive to colleges. And I contend that it is the rigor that is most weighted. Neighbor's kid takes classes at the local community college instead of attending classes at the HS for certain courses. What was required of her for an English lit class was about half of what was done in the year long AP English Lit class son took. However, comparatively her kid was better served by taking advantage of the CC credit whereas my kid is better served by AP and CIS courses.
  • mysoncollegemysoncollege Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    I agree it depends on teachers.

    But, one of the problem is that there aren't too many teachers with actual math/physics/chemistry... degrees.
  • poetgrlpoetgrl Registered User Posts: 13,334 Senior Member
    All things being equal (which is never the case), the college course is "better" because it also teaches pace. One of the things a kid with AP credit is not prepared for when he/she enters Calc 3 is the sheer pace of a college course. 15 weeks vs. 35-36 weeks to cover the same amount of material. 5 days a week vs. 2 or three days a week. Pace is a big difference in the college environment and one which takes some slower high achievers off thier game.
  • keylimepiekeylimepie Registered User Posts: 495 Member
    Most colleges will give you college credits for 4's or 5's on the AP exams. Depending on what college you'd go to after high school, you might get no credits for the CC classes.
  • nhi1605nhi1605 Registered User Posts: 146 Junior Member
    Well, I specifically chose transferable classes at the college, so hopefully those will count for the university. Regarding teachers and school type, I go to an average public high school, with average public high school teachers. I've decided that college classes are better because 1) they're easier 2) they meet only twice a week 3) they only last half a school year and 4) they ensure that I get college credit for my courses (I doubt I'll get all 5s on my APs). However, I'm worried that since it's community college classes, the calibre is less than of AP.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 25,518 Senior Member
    nhi1605 -

    Some community college courses are indeed the equivalent of that course taught at a 4-year institution. Some AP courses do indeed cover material equivalent to that covered in the course the exam is designed to show proficiency for. But the simple truth is that the instructor can make all the difference. You can have good or bad results in either case. Unless you have hard evidence that the particular AP class you are "replacing" with a particular CC class is indeed taught better and/or covers more demanding material, don't worry about your choice of CC over AP.

    What you can just about guarantee, is that credits at a C grade or above will transfer from the community college to the 4-year institution. Yes, some individual colleges/universities won't transfer the credits from an individual course or from a particular community college, or if the courses were taken in dual enrollment. However, an initial denial of transfer credit, or refusal of placement in a higher level course, is something that often is negotiable. With AP exams, if you don't earn the score that will get you credit/placement, there isn't much that can be done.

    Considering the tough job market for qualified college faculty, lots of really good instructors are landing at CCs these days. The possibility that your CC class is indeed equivalent to that at most 4-year institutions is better than ever. Take the classes that you want. Do your best in them. Chances are that everything will work out just fine.

    Wishing you all the best.
This discussion has been closed.