Should I Take AP Classes Freshman Year? 

Should I Take AP Classes Freshman Year

Picture this: First day of high school. You are walking down the hallway, saying hello to new folks, and sharing jokes. And then someone drops a bomb -Are you taking AP Classes?

So, now instead of thinking about going to Jessica’s party, you are wondering “Should I take AP classes freshman year?”

Well, my dear friend, you are not alone. I have been there. Now, I cannot take that decision for you but I can guide you.

I have penned down everything you should know before taking on an AP responsibility. Let’s look at them one by one.

Checklist to Decide if you should take AP Classes Freshman Year

Ask yourself these questions before committing to AP classes in your Freshman Year:

  1. Does your High School have provisions for AP classes?
  2. Does your High School allow Freshman students to enroll in AP classes?
  3. Are you someone who can handle several projects simultaneously?
  4. Do you have extra time at your disposal to study for AP classes?
  5. Do you have access to study materials for the AP subjects?
  6. Do you have a teacher/tutor/guardian to instruct you throughout your AP course?
  7. Are you a tenacious individual?
  8. Do you believe in discipline?
  9. Are you planning to go to college?
  10. Can you support yourself through the AP course financially?

If you answered Yes to at least 5 of them then you are ready to take AP classes freshman year.

Important Factors to Consider before taking AP Classes

The main benefit of taking AP courses in Freshman Year is to produce a strong transcript. Your transcript, in turn, will help you get into a college of your choice.

Should you even be thinking about college when you are in High School? My advice as an ex-High School student will always be to think ahead of time.

Having said this, let us look into the factors that will help you determine whether you should take AP classes in your Freshman Year.

1. Can you handle the workload?

person with lots of papers

Freshman Year, or your High School career for that matter, should be about developing yourself holistically You have other commitments to fulfill in this student-life phase, such as:

Regular Classes: You cannot graduate High School if you don’t take regular classes. Therefore, you have to take at least five solid and versatile courses, ranging from English, Science, Social Studies, Maths, and Foreign Language.

Honors Classes: If you are one of those students who loves to handle a challenge, then you should enroll in Honors courses in your Freshman year.

SAT and ACT: High School is the time when you should start thinking about the SAT and ACT. Since SAT and ACT are all about applying critical thinking and reasoning skills, you should start your preparations early on and not wait for the last moment.

Extracurricular Activities: You should partake in extracurricular activities to show your merits apart from academics. There are many options, from debate and sports to drama and music. As I had mentioned earlier, High School is about over-all development and not only about scoring perfect grades.

Volunteering: Volunteering in your Freshman Year is a noble way of conveying that you are aware of the hardships that prevail in the world. It is time to get out of your tiny bubble and volunteer for good, be it in a dog shelter or a community service to show the caring part of yourself.

Part-time Jobs: Taking up part-time or summer job in your Freshman Year shows that you are a responsible adolescent.

So many things to do when you are in High School! Therefore, choose your struggles wisely.

2. Where does your interest lie?

I reiterate every opportunity I get: Select a subject that interests you.

It is okay if you are not into STEM courses. Not everybody has to be.

For that artistic persona in you, take up AP Art and Design.

art classes in AP

Among the 38 AP subjects offered globally, I am sure you can come across one that will interest you. If you are still looking for an AP that falls under your choice of interest, you do not necessarily need to enroll in one. My point is, don’t enroll in an AP for the sake of doing it.

3. Do you want to gain college credits?

College credits are the one best thing that I like about APs. I took AP Chemistry in my Freshman year, which later transformed into college credit when I decided to pursue a career in Organic Chemistry.

Therefore, all the hard work you are putting into APs now will bring you happiness in the form of college credits!

4. Do you have enough free time at your disposal?

As a student, ask yourself, “Do I have enough free time to dedicate to APs?”

I understand that life in High School is the most crucial aspect of an adolescent. How you navigate this critical period in your life will determine the college or career you get into.

laptop and books

However, don’t let the thought of this future life pressurize you! And most importantly, don’t overburden yourself.

Remember that APs need you to dedicate at least two hours of your daily life. If you feel that other commitments will not allow you to spare those two hours from your regular life, I suggest you not move forward with enrolling in AP in your Freshman Year.

Things to Know before taking AP Freshman

If you are reading this, I assume you have decided to take AP in your Freshman year. Congratulations! Let me tell you a few things you should know before taking AP Freshman.

1. Number of AP classes to take in freshman year

The number of AP classes that you can take in your Freshman Year depends on the school you are going to. According to your school, you will be allowed to take one or more AP classes.

But, since you are in your Freshman year, you are only required to take up to one or two APs.

2. Regular courses vs. AP courses

Most students misunderstand that AP Courses are more complicated than the regular courses that their school provides. But that is not the case.

AP courses are more advanced and are taught in-depth than regular courses. But regular classes play a significant role in constructing a stronger foundation for AP courses.

Do you want to score a perfect grade in your APs?

Read Life of a Successful AP Student to know more.

3. AP needs dedication

freshman AP needs dedication

Yes, AP subjects need a lot of dedication. Likewise, I had mentioned studying APs need a minimum of 2 hours every day if you intend to score 3 or above.

Considering all the workloads, you need extra willpower to enroll in AP courses and do well.

4. Do things differently

When I was in Freshman Year, I only decided to take AP U.S. History because my friends were taking it. In hindsight, making important decisions based on not feeling left out seems stupid!

Therefore, dear Freshmen, take a step back, look at your personalized schedule and do your research on AP. Please don’t take the popular AP classes only because your classmates are taking them or because your parents told you to.

5. If you score poor grades in AP

We take up AP to do well in it. Nevertheless, circumstances, which are not always in our control, hamper our progress. As a result, we end up doing poorly in our AP exam.

When we receive the result and see our GPA, we think it’s the world’s end. We will not get into the college of our dream! Our world is crumbling down!

However, that is far from reality. A lot of other factors are considered by the college admission officers.

Learn more about Advanced Placement Courses

How Much Do AP Exams Cost? Life of an AP Student
How Long Does AP Test Take? Most Popular AP Classes
Benefits of AP Classes How to Prepare for AP Classes?


Are two AP classes enough for Junior Year?

You must enroll in three to five AP classes in Junior Year to attend an Ivy League school. On the other hand, if you want to attend a less demanding institution, taking two to four APs would be sufficient.

How many APs should I take in my Sophomore Year?

Aim to enroll in one to three AP courses in your Sophomore Year. Add an AP course that is a bit harder, like AP US history or AP World History, and alternate it with more accessible classes.

Are taking 9 AP classes enough in Senior Year?

Typically, 9 APs are sufficient to be strong candidates for elite universities. Colleges are more interested in the challenging AP courses you take rather than the quantity of APs.

Are taking 6 AP classes too much?

If you are aiming for highly selective institutes, try enrolling in five to six AP classes. But keep your limitations and timetable in mind while doing so. Adding one additional AP class might not significantly influence your likelihood of getting into college. But it might shorten the time required for college applications.

What AP classes should I take in Junior Year?

Based on your test results and prior learning, take APs in introductory courses, including AP English, and AP Calculus in your Junior Year. Take as many classes as you can fit into your calendar without making it too busy. Ensure you set aside enough time to study for the SAT or ACT.

learn ap

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Final Verdict: Should I Take AP Classes during Freshman Year?

Do you remember the questions posed at the beginning of this article?

If you have said ‘yes’ to:

1 to 3 Don’t even think of AP Classes
4 to 7 You can manage
7 to 10 What are you doing here? Go and enroll in AP courses right now.

The entire decision of taking AP classes in Freshman year is on you.

However, if you are, remember not to overburden yourself. Therefore, take up to two AP classes in your Freshman Year. Try to take one science and one social science subject if that interests you.

Lastly, the Freshman Year, or your High School career as an extension, is not limited to the grit. Find a balance between your social and academic life. Take breaks and hang out with your buddies!

But, above all, stay curious, keep learning and make memories!


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