Do Colleges View Online AP Classes In A Bad Way?

Quick question: Do colleges prefer it if you take an AP class in person or online? Do they happen to see online AP courses as easier classes where students are able to get As more easily due to the easier material and by cheating? I am asking because I am taking 4 online APs. However, I do not want to put in a year’s worth of effort just to find out that colleges are not as impressed with my course-load simply because the classes were taken online…

With the pandemic, no college will look askance at online classes.

An actual on-line class following the College Board curriculum is fine. What they typically take a negative view on is “self-study”.

What is the difference between self study and college board curriculum. My courses are college board certified, but I do not know what you mean by self study.

I don’t think I understand your response. What does “askance” mean?

Meaning you study on your own - no class, no teacher - and usually just using a prep book like Barron’s

with an attitude or look of suspicion or disapproval

“Askance” is a word students learn in an in-person AP English class but not in an online AP English class.

Why do you think they would disapprove of self-study?

They want you to maximize the course offerings available to you and use your time out if school for meaningful ECs. No top US college is looking for one-dimensional academic grinds.

Self-study typically means no graded writing exercises- which for things like US History are really the crux of the AP curriculum.

If you self-study and get a 5-- that’s validation that your skill level is more or less on par with other students who also got a 5 (you probably didn’t work as hard as they did, but you covered the material). If you self-study and get a 2- then yes, you’ve wasted the time you could have spent developing your skills- analytical, writing, etc. taking an actual course with an instructor, whether online or in person.

Because an AP course is supposed to replace the experience of a college course. That means attending lectures, learning all the material, doing the homework, completing the hands-on labs, where appropriate, doing the reading, etc. Cramming with “AP prep guides” to learn just what’s on the test and how to write your essays in away to impress graders doesn’t get your that.

Maybe in a good on-line class, probably not from Barron’s study guide.

I will throw in a different perspective - if you school does not offer AP courses (many strong independent schools do not) - then self studying and taking the exam should be viewed in a positive light by many colleges.

To not give away my children’s school - but a competitive private school often brought up on CC due to college placement rates does not offer AP courses - yet 40% of the graduating class report at least 2 AP scores of 4 or 5. This is listed in the school profile with the majority for Calc A/C, B/C, Chem, Comp Science and US History. So, to be a more competitive applicant from this school - you need to self study and take AP tests.

@coffeeat3 IMO the case you described (which also occurs in our HS which does not have AP classes) is different from self studying – in the scenario you described the students are taking a related class in HS (even if it isn’t designated as an AP class). They are learning from a teacher, taking exams, doing assignments throughout the year etc. They may self-study for any gaps and to learn the format of the AP exam but most of the learning is done in school. In the OP’s case he/she is planning to study just from a review book and take an AP exam with no related coursework.

@happy1 - the way I read the OP’s post was the plan to take the course online and then the exam - not without course instruction. I thought they were concerned it wasn’t a traditional in person experience - and may not be viewed as the same by colleges, so I provided an example of another less traditional way.

That was the original question. It then morphed into “What about self-studying?”

I understand. Thanks for the help guys, but would colleges still view online classes the same way as in-person classes considering that I am doing all the work?

My school only offers three AP classes that I am ineligible to take with the exception of CS Principles. The classes that I am ineligible for are AP History and Bio. Seniors have a HUGE variety of AP classes, but juniors don’t for some reason… What is worse is that I cannot take any honors classes besides Latin so I am stuck with one AP and one honors, which definitely isn’t rigorous at all… That is why I am taking online APs and was worried they may be looked down upon in comparison to in-person AP classes. Do you think colleges would be skeptical as to why I did not take these APs in person? Could I explain that there was a scheduling problem because I am a transfer student? I am just worried colleges will not think these courses are as rigorous or as validated as in-person courses.

A few comments:

– If you were unable to take AP classes because you transferred into a school then that must be addressed by your guidance counselor in his/her letter of recommendation to colleges. It is definitely not something you should explain.

–My guess is that with your weighted GPA of 3.1/5 (from another post) that you simply did not qualify for other AP classes in your HS at this time.

–I recommend you spend your time and energy doing as well as you possibly can in your actual HS classes.

–In another post you said you were taking two APs in school this year (Comp Sci and Environmental Science) – now you are down to one? What happened?

–If you have extra time get involved in ECs you care about. Colleges are looking for people who are involved in their school and or community – not just academic drones.

–To be clear self-studying does nothing for you in terms of college admissions.