Advanced Placement Information
Advanced Placement (AP) is an international program. The program offers college-level rigorous courses and examinations. Valley High School currently offers 24 classes to prepare students for the examinations each May. Advanced Placement coursework and examination scores are used for college admissions and acceleration. College credit is granted if an acceptable score has been earned on an Advanced Placement examination given in May. Each exam has a cost that will be incurred by the student.
There are many factors to consider when deciding on advanced classes, but you should start with the recommendation of teachers. They may not be able to give you a definitive answer, but they can help you weigh your options.
- AP classes are challenging and help prepare students for more academically rigorous college classes.
- AP classes sharpen students’ writing skills, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving abilities, which helps them in all classes.
- Strong performance in an AP class signals to admissions counselors that a student is ready for college.
- Students can potentially earn college credit, get a jump start on first-year requirements, graduate early, or have room in their schedule to add a second major or minor. (AP policies vary widely from school to school.)
- AP classes can improve a student’s GPA. AP classes are scored on a 4.5 scale rather than the standard 4.0 scale, which can enhance a students’ cumulative GPA. Students who take the AP exam in May will receive an additional .5 bonus, meaning they'll be graded on a 5.0 scale. This is called a weighted GPA.
Another important tool that can help with this decision is Characteristics of Effective Learners. Download the PDF and answer the 15 questions with your student.
- Coursework is time-consuming and may impact time dedicated to non-AP courses and other non-curricular activities.
- There is a cost to take the exam at the end of the year. ($97 in 2023.) Additional fees apply when signing up late, dropping a test after the ordering deadline, or rescheduling exams, in certain circumstances.
- If an AP class is a dual credit class (meaning a student simultaneously earns DMACC credit as well as VHS credit), a college transcript is started for a student. This college transcript must be submitted when applying to any future college or university. Poor performance in the class must then be reported on a college transcript.
- No two colleges award credit for AP classes/exams the same way, which means some will not award credit.
Yes, but with caution. With the extra time and effort associated with AP classes, students must consider the time commitment and stress load of taking multiple AP classes.
No, but it is highly advised to take the Advanced Placement exam as a culmination of the AP course curriculum.
Starting with 2022-2023 school year, students will automatically receive a .5 weighting for taking an AP course. If the student takes the associated AP exam in May 2023, they will be awarded an additional .5 weighting for the class.
Regardless of exam participation, a student's transcript will reflect the title of the AP course they enrolled in.