Advanced Placement Program
The Advanced Placement program is sponsored by the College Board, a non-profit organization dedicated to preparing, inspiring, and connecting students to college. The College Board writes and administers advanced tests and studies in almost 40 subjects from Art to Statistics. These tests, representative of freshman level college knowledge on that subject, form the basis of what is studied in Advanced Placement courses. Currently, SHS offers seven Advanced Placement courses with the intent of challenging our students and to better prepare them for college. Each May, students take a national test that measures their knowledge in the areas they study during the year. If the receives a qualifying score, they may receive college credit at over 3000 institutions nationwide. While the amount and type of credit the student can receive depends upon the college he or she attends, most will award credit for at least one college course.
Why take an AP course?
One advantage of taking an AP course is that it allows the student to experience the rigors of a college-level course in the more supportive high school environment. It allows students to remain in the high school setting rather than commuting to a college campus. AP courses can help ensure that your high school career is productive instead of taking courses that are lacking in challenge (which is important to college admissions offices). Credits achieved through the AP program will also be less expensive than typical college tuition. It also provides students with an opportunity to build advanced study skills necessary for success at the college level. Any student who is planning on attending a four-year university should consider taking at least one AP course in high school.
What is an appropriate course load?
Course load should be determined on an individual basis as students have unique ability levels, outside commitments, and motivation to stick with a challenging course for a full year. Consulting with parents, teachers and counselors can provide the most insight. Having a student be successful in one or two AP classes is better than floundering in more.
Some things to consider are:
- Previous experience in honors or AP courses
- Motivation of the student
- Co-curricular activities
- GPA (generally 3.0 or higher)
- Non-AP schedule of classes
- Volunteer commitments
How are AP grades weighted?
AP course grades are weighted to reflect the increased levels of rigor, workload, and expectations as compared to traditional high school classes. This means that the value of the letter grade on a student's transcript is increased by 1.0 in calculating the student's GPA. GPAs are calculated at the end of each semester.
Weighted Grade Scale: A=5.0 B=4.0 C=3.0 D=2.0 F=0.0
Students will only receive weighted GPA if they take the corresponding AP exam in May. If a student does not take the exam, no additional weighted credit is awarded.
How many college courses can I get credit for by making a qualifying score on an AP Exam?
For more information about Sylacauga High School's Advanced Placement Program, please contact the school counselor, at 256-249-0911.