Jamestown High School students titrated a sample of the fish tank water collected and began testing for dissolved oxygen. The students took two samples of water from a fish tank and melted snow, to observe, document and compare which has the better water quality. The lab, in their Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science class with Kim Barber, is part of a larger unit on water pollution.
“AP classes like Environmental Science challenge you,” said Hannah, a JHS junior who has taken four AP courses this year and will take five next year. “Also, I plan to go to college for pre-med or engineering. By taking and excelling at AP courses, you show colleges that you are a serious student and stand out when applying.”
Hannah is right. Taking AP courses during high school will help students impress college admissions counselors by looking at students who are willing to work hard and challenge themselves in high school, it makes them more attractive during the admissions process.
At Jamestown High School, students have the opportunity to take 13 Advanced Placement Courses and Tests in the 2011-12 school year. Besides AP Environmental Science, JHS offers AP Chemistry, AP Psychology, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Literature and Composition, AP Studio Art, AP US History, AP European History, AP Biology, AP Physics C: Mechanics, AP Physics Electricity and Magnetism and AP English Language and Composition.
Research shows that AP experiences in high school will benefit students in important ways when they reach college. If students take enough AP classes, they can potentially graduate from college a semester or even a year early and save thousands of dollars. Many former JHS students have accumulated enough credit through AP and college-level courses that by graduation have started college as sophomores. AP students also qualify for more scholarships. AP classes require the type of high-level calculating and critical thinking that students will encounter in their first year of college.
“I love the AP science and math classes and just really love school. I plan to major in pre-med and I know colleges look at your course load and the types of classes you are taking,” said JHS junior Zachary Eklum who is taking six AP courses this year and plans on taking five next year. “I think one of the reason JHS should continue offering such a wide variety of AP courses is that it helps students stay motivated to learn. We are interested in acquiring additional knowledge subject areas and AP courses help us develop our skills and interests.”
AP classes can help a student select a major by proving in-depth introduction to a specific subject area. By opening up electives through AP credits, students can try different interests and make it feasible to add a minor or even a second major.
“I need the challenge of AP courses,” said JHS senior Haley Kulakowski who took eight AP course last year and five this year, She is interested in majoring in International Relations working in the Peace Corp or women’s rights in the Middle East. “They are challenging and I know, for example, if score high on my AP English exams, I may have a enough credit to go into college with a English minor or maybe even a major depending on the school. We are lucky to have so many AP courses to choose from and that the fact that we can even take five in one year is such a benefit to us as students.”