teaching tips blog


Nov 14, 2012

Looking for a Challenging Course for a Motivated Teen? Consider AP!

Diane Kummer

   Advanced Placement (AP) courses and tests are available to homeschooled teens interested in studying a subject in depth and may also be a way to earn early college credit.  What are AP courses, how does a homeschooler register for AP tests, and what are the advantages of taking an AP course?

   AP courses are taken in high school but taught at the college level. They are demanding courses that may require 10 – 12 hours of work per week. In order to use the term “Advanced Placement” or “AP” to designate a course, the AP Central Department of the College Board must review the course syllabus. 

   Many online providers of AP courses have had their courses reviewed and recognized by the College Board. Homeschool parents may also submit their course syllabis for review to the College Board for AP courses they desire to teach at home. Once the review has been finalized, the AP designation may then be used in the course title on the high school transcript. 

   An AP course not only covers the subject matter, but time is also spent preparing for the AP test. AP tests are offered once a year in May on a specific date. Homeschoolers desiring to take an AP test must contact a public or private school in their area that administers AP tests for arrangements to take the test. Contact the AP coordinator of a local school early in the school year in order to be accommodated. The College Board website provides test taking information for homeschoolers.

   What are the advantages of taking an AP course and test for homeschoolers? Taking an AP course is one way to show college admissions officers and others that your teen had the initiative and academic ability to take a rigorous course. Another benefit is that grades earned in AP courses positively affect the grade point average (GPA).  When calculating the GPA, an “A” in a standard high school course receives 4 points, while an “A” in an AP course receives 5 points, a “B” in a standard course receives 3 points, while a “B” in an AP course receives 4 points, and so on. The boost in GPA is beneficial when applying for scholarships or when applying to selective schools. As another benefit, doing well on an AP test may earn your teen college credit at many colleges. Each college determines the minimum score necessary on an AP test in order to earn college credit.

   Patrick Henry College Prep Academy offers many online AP courses to homeschoolers. A distinctive of PHC Prep AP Academy courses is that all of the courses are taught from a Christian worldview.

   If your teen is up to the challenge, check out more details on AP courses and tests, as well as AP course providers.

Happy Thanksgiving!