How to Take AP Courses Outside of School
Advanced Placement (AP) courses offer students the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school. These courses are rigorous, challenging, and can provide a head start for college. However, not all schools offer a wide range of AP courses, or students may not have the option to take them due to scheduling conflicts. In such cases, it is possible to take AP courses outside of school. Here’s a guide on how to make it happen:
1. Research AP Course Providers: Start by researching online providers that offer AP courses. Some popular options include Virtual High School, Apex Learning, and EdX. Make sure to check their accreditation and reputation.
2. Confirm College Board Approval: Ensure that the course you’re interested in is approved by the College Board. Only approved courses will allow you to take the AP exam at the end of the course.
3. Discuss with School Counselor: Talk to your school counselor to discuss your intention to take AP courses outside of school. They can provide guidance, advice, and may even assist with the enrollment process.
4. Check Prerequisites: Before enrolling, make sure you meet any prerequisites for the AP course. Some courses may require prior knowledge or specific grades in related subjects.
5. Determine Course Format: AP courses can be offered in various formats, including online, in-person, or a combination of both. Choose the format that suits your learning style and schedule.
6. Create a Study Plan: Taking AP courses outside of school requires self-discipline and organization. Create a study plan that outlines your weekly study goals and deadlines for assignments.
7. Set Up a Study Space: Dedicate a quiet and distraction-free study space where you can focus on your coursework. This will help you stay motivated and productive.
8. Manage Time Effectively: Balancing AP courses outside of school with other commitments can be challenging. Learn time management techniques and prioritize your tasks to stay on top of your coursework.
9. Seek Support: While studying outside of school, you may face difficulties or have questions. Reach out to your course instructor, virtual classmates, or online forums for support and clarification.
10. Stay Engaged: Actively participate in online discussions, complete assignments on time, and engage with the course material. This will enhance your learning experience and prepare you better for the AP exam.
11. Practice Past AP Exams: As the AP exam approaches, practice with past exam papers. This will familiarize you with the format, timing, and types of questions that may appear on the actual exam.
12. Register for the AP Exam: Once you’ve completed the course, register for the AP exam through your school or directly with the College Board. Make sure to check the registration deadlines.
1. Can I take AP courses outside of school and still receive college credit?
Yes, if you pass the AP exam at the end of the course, many colleges and universities will grant you college credit based on your exam score.
2. Can I take AP courses outside of school even if my school doesn’t offer them?
Yes, taking AP courses outside of school allows you to expand your learning opportunities beyond what your school offers.
3. How much do AP courses outside of school cost?
The cost of AP courses outside of school varies depending on the provider and course. Some providers offer financial aid or scholarships to help reduce the cost.
4. Will taking AP courses outside of school affect my GPA?
AP courses taken outside of school may not be factored into your school’s GPA calculation. However, colleges and universities may consider these courses when evaluating your application.
5. Are AP courses outside of school as rigorous as in-school courses?
Yes, AP courses outside of school are designed to be just as rigorous as in-school courses to prepare students for the AP exam.
6. Can I take multiple AP courses outside of school at the same time?
Yes, you can take multiple AP courses outside of school simultaneously, but make sure to manage your time effectively to avoid overwhelming yourself.
7. Can I take AP courses outside of school during the summer?
Yes, many providers offer AP courses during the summer, allowing students to complete them in a shorter timeframe.
8. Do I need special software or equipment to take AP courses outside of school?
Most AP courses outside of school only require a computer or mobile device with internet access. Some courses may have specific software requirements outlined by the provider.
9. Can I receive a refund if I drop an AP course outside of school?
Refund policies vary depending on the course provider. Make sure to review the provider’s refund policy before enrolling.
10. Can I transfer the college credit earned from AP courses outside of school to any college or university?
Most colleges and universities accept AP credits, but the specific transfer policies vary. Check with the institutions you are interested in attending to ensure credit transferability.
11. Can homeschoolers take AP courses outside of school?
Yes, homeschoolers can take AP courses outside of school as an additional educational resource.
12. Are there any age restrictions to take AP courses outside of school?
No, AP courses outside of school are open to students of all ages, as long as they meet the prerequisites and requirements of the course.