AP Classes: To Take or Not To Take?

Student Query: 

Is it better to get a lower grade in an AP class rather than an A in a non-AP class?

Stef’s Response:

I get this question often in my practice. The answer is, it is better to get a higher grade in an AP Class! For those who are unfamiliar with the term AP, it is an acronym for Advanced Placement, a program in the U.S. and Canada which offers college-level curricula and exams to high school students.  While many colleges and universities offer course credit to students who score well on the AP examinations, taking AP level classes demonstrates a student is willing to challenge himself with the most rigorous courses available.  And, many high schools will “weight” your GPA, giving a “boost” to your grade in recognition of the additional challenge, thus potentially increasing your GPA and class rank.  This is why we are seeing so many students with GPAs of 4.3 on a 4.0 scale.  It is not uncommon for candidates to the most selective schools to have upwards of 10 APs.