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How Many AP Classes Should You Take?

This is such a common question! And, unfortunately, it’s one of those questions that is best answered “it depends” because the right number really depends on YOU, your academic strengths and weaknesses and your long term goals.


However, here are a few things you can think about as you make this decision: 


(Ps- are you a visual learner? Check out our video on this topic by clicking here


I like to think of course rigor and GPA as a unique equilibrium point for each student. The question you should ask each year as your signing up for classes is: Can I take THIS set of classes and still achieve the best possible grades??


Now, that doesn’t mean you should just take all easy classes to maintain straight As because colleges want to see that you are willing to challenge yourself. Keep in mind an AP class may be advanced for the high school level, but it’s really just a slow-paced introductory level college curriculum. Meaning, when you get to college ALL of your classes will be at that level or harder. Taking AP classes now will show colleges that you are prepared for college-level work. 


You should be willing to challenge yourself most in the areas related to your field of interest. If you say you want to be an engineer, but you are not interested in taking the most advanced math and science courses at your school, that should raise a red flag for you because it will for colleges.


It’s also good to challenge yourself with an AP class in something outside your chosen field like the engineer above could consider taking AP English or History at some point in high school to show colleges that you possess intellectual breadth—you are not just a one trick pony.


Above all, your default mode should not be to take every AP class available IF the evidence is that you cannot maintain solid grades while taking all the hardest classes at your school. Be strategic, take the classes that make sense for YOU and will still give you time to be involved in your school community, your broader community and do things outside of school that bring you joy.


All the best, 

Team Insight 

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