AP credits allow students to put themselves ahead before college

Mary Morris

Contributing Writer

According to a report by Bill Chappell on National Public Radio’s website, Dartmouth College has decided that “beginning with the class of 2018, AP [Advanced Placement] exams will be used to place students in the proper classes, not to replace college credit.”

The change comes after debates over whether an AP course should really be considered on the same level as a college course. Now with Dartmouth taking a stance in opposition to the value of the AP curriculum, other institutions of higher education may be considering similar courses of action.

I ask Dartmouth and those that criticize AP programs this: shouldn’t college students be able to put themselves in the best position possible to succeed? College is expensive. In order to make the most out of their time in places of higher education, students should be able to get the most bang for their buck, which means they should be allowed to take courses that interest them.

Many times, colleges require certain courses to ensure that their students are well-rounded individuals. If a student is willing to put in the extra work required by an AP course, then why hold him or her back? By knocking out some of these credits through AP exams, students achieve the institution’s goal of a well-rounded education and are able to spend their money and time continuing that process as double majors or by exploring more academic opportunities.

AP testing is also to the advantage of these institutions. Each student taking an AP exam is subject to the same test and held to the same standard. Comparing students based on AP grading should be more valuable than comparing them by the standards of their high school honors classes, where the curricula and grading scales vary between teachers and classrooms.

Students taking these AP courses are typically more prepared to succeed in places of higher education. While brain dumping is a problem, it happens both in and outside of college, so why make someone pay thousands of dollars for a semester-long review of what he or she has already learned? Instead, use the AP exams in conjunction with SATs and transcripts to achieve a more detailed picture of the students being admitted, and continue to reward the students who have worked hard to get a head start on pursuing their college degrees.

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