Managing to stay focused, getting your reading done and actively participating in class discussion can be hard enough for some high school seniors, especially in the months leading up to graduation. For students in AP classes, there's no time to be on cruise control during second semester of their senior year if they want their hard work to turn into college credit.
"With AP classes, you really have to give that extra effort and try to really grasp and understand the material otherwise you won't do well in AP classes," senior Sean Catangui said.
Catangui and fellow senior Sarah Ermer have been taking AP classes since they were sophomores, each adding to their work load as the years have passed. Now both seniors are deciding where they want to take those AP Credits.
But some colleges, they're finding out, are no longer accepting them if they don't score high enough on the final exam.
"I find that sometimes you can get a 5 or they won't even take it because they want you to take their own classes. But with a four you could get less credit, or sometimes with a three you don't get any credit. You really have to score highly if you want to get credit," Ermer said.
Ermer has applied to a wide range of schools, from ivy leagues to state schools. She discovered quickly though that schools outside of the area tend to be tougher in AP acceptance.
"I think it makes sense because you don't know how their high school taught it. You don't know if they really do know the material. So I see where they are coming from," Ermer said.
According to O'Gorman High School Principle Kyle Groos, getting AP accreditation doesn't come easy.
"For us to have AP transcripted on our high school transcripts, we have to go through several steps," Groos said.
Principal Groos says those steps are Number one: everything that is taught in their AP classes has to be approved by the College Board. Step two: All teachers have to be certified through the College Board. And for students, they not only have to take the class, but they also must take an AP exam provided by the College Board. They will have to get a score between a three and a five to get a credit depending on what their college requires.
"We feel good knowing that we a sending students off to college with a very strong academic background. So why not give them the opportunity to earn some credit to get them started off on a higher level than maybe those who are coming out with general classes out of high school?," Groos said.
But Groos admits he has heard of some schools wanting to use AP classes as a way to place students, but not allowing students to bypass certain classes all together. Still, Groos doesn't want students to think AP classes are a waste of time.
"We hope that that's not something that is going to be taken away and then seen as a disadvantage. They are able to earn credit and we want to see that continue because that's a great opportunity and as long as we adhere to the proper certification," Groos said.
Regardless of what colleges and universities accept, Groos hopes students continue to take AP credits because those classes are preparing students for college even more than before.
"AP courses give students the chance to feel what a college course is going to look and feel like to them. The rigors of a college course are brought into a high school setting," Groos said.
That's something seniors like Ermer can appreciate.
"You have to do more of the work outside of school and you have to do way more reading, not as many grades which is more like how college would be you will like have three tests and a paper. I think you have to do more of the work on your own instead of being spoon fed by the teachers," Ermer said.
For both Ermer and Catangui AP classes have already proven their worth.
"Overall, I am just going to be more prepared with study habits, time management, and jut really trying to understand material," Catangui said.
"I think it really helped me develop time management skills, study habits and I know it is a much faster paced class so it prepares you in college for that too," Ermer said.
Groos says all colleges are different, the major colleges and universities in our area are still accepting AP credits. To find out what colleges still accept AP Credits visit the College Board website.