Why Your High School Student Should Take AP Classes

Many of my moms have children in high school.  If your student is bright and doing well in school, he/she may be aksed or encouraged to take AP classes.  Your highschooler  may resist because the AP class is harder and that this will affect his or her GPA.  Your highschooler might argue that after all the teacher is teaching the same class but not in the AP setting.  So you as a parent might think:  “Same course, same teacher, what’s the difference? ”

The difference is the other students in the classroom.  AP students are motivated.  They want to succeed.  The dialogue and debate in the class will be more analytical, informed and incisive.  For that reason, an AP class is an entirely different class.  Your highschooler will be challenged.  Better a B in an AP class than an A in a standard class.  College admissions will give greater weight to the B in an AP class.

Having spent fifteen years in the classroom, I can speak of the difference the caliber of students makes in a classroom.  It’s not that I lower the bar for them but rather they are not interested in clearing the bar or struggle to clear the bar.  AP students sail over the bar or set it even higher for themselves. 

Not only do your child’s classroom peers matter but those your child associates with after school.  In high school, peers have greater influence than a parent.  What is their attitude toward school?  If it’s a poor attitude and they disdain learning, your child will be influenced.  So pay attention to these friends and steer your child toward activities and sports where he/she will be with kids who have positive attitudes toward school and learning.

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