… a student’s experience
By Aidan Kramer (BCHS Class of 2020)
In high school, there are many opportunities available to students. Athletics, academic clubs, theatre and music, and a variety of extracurriculars give students a chance to get involved in and try new things. During my four years at Bishop Chatard, I participated in a lot of activities outside of school. But one opportunity that Bishop Chatard provided that was impactful was the variety of Advanced Placement classes offered.
Advanced Placement (AP) classes are essentially classes that have the potential to earn a student college credit. This can save both time and money in the long run. AP classes can also offer a boost on your high school GPA transcript that colleges see when you apply, as well as give you a better sense of college-level coursework.
As a result of the 12 AP classes that I took during my time in high school, I was able to start college with 33 credit hours of coursework completed and on my transcript. As a freshman at Indiana University, this meant I had credits for a lot of GenEd classes and was able to save time by skipping over those extra classes that are built into my degree program.
AP classes aren’t for everyone, and for me some were definitely “easier” than others. AP classes can take time and dedication to the topic, so while I encourage a high school student to take as many as he/she can manage, it’s also important to consider all of the other responsibilities when signing up for these college-level classes.
There are a wide variety of AP classes offered, and this gives high school students the ability to knock out GenEd credits that they may struggle with in college. For example, if you are nervous about taking a science class in college, you can take an AP science class in high school and work toward getting credit for that class before even setting foot on a college campus.
There are hurdles to earning college credit for AP courses. To receive any credit, a student must pass an AP Exam given by the College Board. I believe that Bishop Chatard did a very good job of preparing me, and I felt confident going into these tests. Even if I didn’t pass the test, I knew the material well and would be able to easily retake a similar course in college, if needed.
The college credit that AP classes can provide is amazing, but the skills developed in my AP classes have been an invaluable tool that I carried with me throughout my first year of college. Study skills, accountability, time management, and even self and peer teaching are all important aspects of learning found in AP classrooms.
The coursework found in an AP classroom can be intimidating, especially when it comes to taking more than one AP class in a school year, but it’s a great way to start making a shift to a college mindset of academics when personal accountability is at an all-time high.
The college credits that I earned from AP coursework in high school has helped me to save time and money and has set me up for success in my academic career. AP classes are not essential to having a good college experience, but they have been significant in my journey.