Advanced Placement (or AP) classes in high school provide students with the best possible glimpse into the college workload and actually give students a great opportunity to get college credit for their high school work. Normally when high school students graduate they have no idea what to expect when they head off to college and become buried by their workloads without any idea on how to get organized and produce the best academic results.
Exposure to workload
By taking AP classes, the student is slowly introduced every year to a little larger workload until they reach the point where their senior year is as challenging (sometimes more challenging) than their freshman year in college. The workload that freshman college students receive is something that a student needs to be prepared for over time and have experience with over his or her years in high school.
AP classes also give students the opportunity to earn college credit, some even to the point where they can skip their first year of college and go straight into the elective classes they choose. Whether a college will give a student credit or not all depends on how the student performs on the AP exam at the end of the class and what scores the college accepts as high enough for credit.
While taking the Advanced Placement class the student does receive an extra point towards their GPA in the weighted GPA system. For example, if the student scored a 90 (A) in an Advanced Placement class he or she would receive a GPA score of 4 on a 4-point scale, instead of a 3 if he or she was in a regular class.
However, this GPA score does not affect college credit. What does is the AP exam that is taken at the beginning of May at the end of the class year that is graded on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest score possible).
With the Advanced Placement Program spreading into almost every public school, now there are more students than ever taking the AP exam and submitting for college credit. From this new movement the college system has begun to reject credit for scores that are a 3 or lower and only giving credit to 4s and 5s. Lower-end private schools and some public schools will still give credit to scores of 3 or higher. But when you are looking at Ivy League schools, they mostly only accept 5s.
Advanced Placement classes in high school are essential for preparing a student for college during his or her high school years where the regular public school system has failed to accomplish.