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Student Experience: Don’t Be Afraid of AP Courses

Riley Corbett knows that she has to work a little harder than her peers to achieve the same success in school. That hasn’t stopped her from taking three Advanced Placement® classes this year.

“I take the mindset that at least I'll have a head start when I go to college, no matter how well I do,” says Corbett, a senior at Knob Noster High School in Missouri.

Daisy Grover, a fellow senior, has a similar approach to learning. “Even if I don't get straight A’s in my AP classes, I like challenging myself, so I feel like they're super worth it that way,” she says.

Wondering whether AP® courses are right for you or your child? Taking a break from a NMSI Study Session at Knob Noster in February, Riley, Daisy and other students shared why the benefits outweigh any worries you may have about these college-level classes. 

One common concern: not getting a qualifying score (a score of 3 or higher) on the AP exam and missing out on receiving college credit. What you may not know — scoring a 2 means you’re college-ready for that subject.

After taking AP Language Arts last year, senior Kaenani Fernandez, who has connections to Whiteman Air Force Base, says it was “not a big deal” that she scored a 2 on the exam. “I think I learned a lot, and I think it prepared me for college,” she says.

Students at Study SessionIn high school, students generally have a stronger support system from teachers than they will in college, where the environment is more independent. That’s why Corbett finds it’s better to begin taking college-level coursework when this support is available.

“I've gotten help from teachers who aren't even my teachers regarding AP classes, and that makes it easier,” she says.

Along with teachers, the NMSI Study Sessions, led by master teachers, are another opportunity for AP support.

“I'm kind of struggling in AP Calculus right now but going to the Saturday study sessions helps re-solidify things because a lot of the time, they're going over things that you just learned or you're about to learn,” Grover says.

While Corbett was initially worried about taking AP classes, once she began doing the coursework, her confidence grew, realizing there’s “not that much to be afraid of.”

Download our program overview to find out about NMSI’s College Readiness Program and urge leaders to bring it to your students’ schools!