Should You Load Up With AP Classes?

College Success Bulletin Special Report

Easy A’s Versus Harder Classes

Dear Subscriber –

What looks better to an admissions officer – a “C” in an AP (Advanced Placement) course or an “A” in a regular class?

The short answer – an “A” in the AP course!  🙂

The real issue posed by this question is whether a child should load up with every available AP in an effort to impress top colleges, so she gets in and earns a ton of merit scholarships.

The answer:  “No.” Well, amost always “No.”

The most important factor weighed by admissions committees is whether the student demonstrated mastery of college-level material.  In other words, did the student take challenging classes and earn high marks?

Top colleges like to see applicants who showed a thirst for learning, for pushing themselves and achieving.

Taking challenging courses is great, but only if you’re going to pull an A or a B.  Not a C.

A common scenario in my practice is when a child, who excels in one area such as English, History or writing, feels pressure to take AP Physics because it will “look good” on her college applications.  However, she has less than zero interest in majoring in science in college.  And she feels like she’d be lucky to pull a C in the class.

Yes, admissions officers look at weighted and unweighted grades.  Maybe an AP C equals a non-AP A.  But psychologically, a C stands out more in a transcript compared to an A, even though it may have resulted from a less challenging class. 

For all of these reasons, I’ll tell 100 out of 100 kids not to kill themselves with AP Physics.

I’m holding two workshops this week – tonight in Hauppauge, tomorrow night at the South Huntington Public Library.   If you’re not on the yacht or touring Europe, please feel free to register.  You can even bring a friend – just send them this e-mail.

Most of the workshop will be about financial aid strategies for middle-class families, but I will spend a little time talking about admissions “secrets” as well. 


Once school resumes, Class of 2013 parents and kids will be “in the weeds” with regular school commitments, PLUS the heavy-duty pre-college stuff.  Even though it’s summer time and the living is easy, NOW may be your last chance to truly focus on your college planning.

Your Correspondent,

– Andy Lockwood

P.S.  No truth to the rumor that J. Lo will host this week’s workshops.  American Idol signed her to a non-complete that specifically forbids her from conducting college finance workshops. 

Andrew Lockwood, J.D.
Lockwood College Consulting
497 South Oyster Bay Road
Plainview, New York 11803