How important are APs?

<p>I was planning on self-studying for two APs this year (Im going to be a highschool freshman 2010-11 school year) but I hear people saying that colleges don't pay that much attention to APs. I am also taking the SATs in January this year. Should I instead focus more on the SATs? Is it worth it to self-study for them (My school only offers AP English senior year. That is the only AP course.) Also, some of our classes aren't very 'challenging' compared to other schools. Would it be worth it to take the AP tests after self-study? Would it look good on applications? Please help........</p>

<p>Additional info: My future schools that I am looking at are in the realm of MIT, CalTech, Virginia Tech, etc. Currently, I want to major in Mechanical Engineering but that may change to another field of Engineering. I don't know if any of that helps but I thought I would let you know.</p>

<p>It is critical to your college application that you take the most rigorous courses available to you. In many cases, AP courses are the most rigorous courses available. SATs are important, but GPA and course rigor, as shown by your high school transcript, are the #1 factor for admissions at most colleges.</p>

<p>Any reason you're taking the SATs your Freshman year?</p>

<p>But, yeah, from what I gather not many colleges use your AP scores for admissions, just class placement. You should still self study if the subject interests you. </p>

<p>Colleges will want to see that you will be taking the hardest classes available to you. Don't worry about only having weaker classes.</p>

<p>^Correct. AP grades are used for granting college credit. They have little, if any, bearing (more like no bearing whatsoever) on your admissions decision. The course is what is important to colleges.</p>

<p>Does self-study look impressive on apps? I'm taking them freshman year because I want to get comfortable with the test so that come junior/senior year I might be a little bit more relaxed.</p>

<p>^A lot of people have asked that question and nobody seems to be able to come up with a definite answer. Self-study, especially as a freshmen, may be taken into consideration but nobody is really sure.</p>

<p>AP scores aren't really sued in admissions. Course rigor and GPA are some of the most admission factors. </p>

<p>Again, self study if the subject interests you.</p>

<p>Alright, thank you everyone. In that case, I think I will just study hard for the SAT and save myself from giving collegeboard too much more money. Anyway, I was going to take Psychology and Environmental Science, neither of which have too much to do with my future major.</p>

<p>Applicants are always judged in the context of their school, so if your school offers only 1 AP class, then you will not be penalized if that's the only AP class you take. However, make sure to take the most rigorous schedule available to you at your school -- particularly the highest level math and science classes.</p>

<p>Self-study for AP exams if you really want to, but I personally think you would be better served spending your time on getting the highest GPA/class rank you can, preparing for the SAT (or ACT), and getting involved in some ECs with leadership roles. (By the way, there's no need at all to take the SAT your freshman year. Spring of your sophomore year is still pretty early, as most students take it in their junior and/or senior years.)</p>

<p>Agree with worried_mom.</p>

<p>Here's my understanding: Colleges want people who have a genuine interest in their learning, and self-studying for AP exams not offered at school is one great way of demonstrating an initiative and that desired intellectual curiosity. On the other hand, there are other ways of showing initiative and passion in learning as well.</p>

<p>...so if your school offers only 1 AP class, then you will not be penalized if that's the only AP class you take.</p>

<p>Partly agree: If you attend a school that does not offer that many AP classes and so the idea of self-studying has never entered your mind, you're not necessarily going to be penalized for the lack of opportunity available to you, but you will be expected to have gone above and beyond in other areas. Why would a college admit you, someone who was not able to take a challenging courseload, over someone who has and is perhaps better prepared for harder classes in college? Schools want people who not only can handle a rigorous courseload but also love what they learn and want to challenge themselves both in and outside of the classroom-- you can of course demonstrate that through self-studying for AP exams, or you can show that through other means (being the best of the class, ECs, SAT, awards, etc.). Just my two cents.</p>

<p>I am going to take APs I'm just not sure if it I should this year. I will be taking AP English in school senior year. I will also be taking a French class at a local college along with French VI at my school and some self studying to take that AP exam. I might also take the calculus exam even though my school does not offer AP Calc I might just self study along with my regular class. Same thing with Bio. Does that sound good?</p>

<p>Self-studying APs in freshman year is ill-advised and won't be particularly impressive. I'm inclined to say the same thing about taking the SAT freshman year. there are mock tests, practise tests, and other ways of "getting comfortable" with the test.</p>

<p>I kind of know how you feel. Luckily I took the SAT in 8th b/c of Johns Hopkins CTY and that really opened my eyes as to how to approach it in the future. Good luck, don't make school your entire life though.</p>