Have you heard about the benefits of the AP program, but been frustrated because your student’s school doesn’t offer the program?
Or maybe your student is homeschooled and would benefit from the challenge and college credit that can come from preparing for an AP exam. Or, perhaps your student would like to try an AP exam in a class that isn’t offered at their school.
Regardless of your situation, your student can still get in on the benefits of taking an AP class and the particular AP class does not have to be offered at your studet’s school. They will just need to register for the exam, and then find approved online AP courses to help them prepare.
Here’s what you need to know!
Not all AP Classes are Created Equal
There are thousands of online courses that claim to prepare your student for a specific AP exam. However, not all classes live up to these claims.
The good news is that there is a way to know before you spend the money. You can look for specific criteria to help you distinguish the good from the bad.
The other thing to keep in mind is that AP classes online will take more focus and discipline from your student than an in-school class. There is no one to force them to sit and listen for a specific period of time, manage their distraction, and keep them entertained!
Most online classes are self-paced, which can be great for motivated students but a real drawback for those who tend to procrastinate.
What to Look For in AP Classes Online
There are a variety of things to look for when you compare various online AP courses. Here are some criteria to consider.
#1 Is the online class accredited?
Accreditation is vital. If the class is not approved by the College Board in your state, then you have no guarantee that it will cover the material your student needs to pass the exam.
Here are some AP accreditated online organizations to check out:
#2 Is the teaching style engaging?
Teaching style is the next thing to consider. Is the material presented in a way that is engaging, interesting, and clear? Does it fit your student’s specific learning needs? There are a variety of learning styles, and no one is better than another. However, having the material match the style of your student will help them succeed.
#3 Are teachers accessible and give good feedback?
Teachers should be accessible. Your student should be able to get timely, useful feedback on their assignments and papers. Sitting for the exam when your child still hasn’t heard back on work they submitted will not give them a lot of confidence.
#4 Is the workload bearable?
The workload should make sense for an AP exam. Make sure your student understands how many hours per week is expected for the class. You may want to help them make a schedule so they aren’t cramming every Friday to catch up.
#5 Is the online interface easy to use?
The interface and tech support should both be easy to understand and accessible. Using the class interface online should be intuitive, and there should be someone to ask questions of if something goes wrong.
#6 How well do students of the online class do on the AP exam?
Graduates should do well on the AP exam. Before you choose a course for your student, find out how graduates have done on the AP exam. If graduates have done well, that’s a good sign.
Finally, reviews should be a major factor in your decision. Look beyond the course’s website for testimonials and experiences from other families. You can often Google the name of the course with “reviews” to find information.
Finding Free and Reduced-Fee AP Classes Online
Don’t assume that you’ll have to fork out major cash for AP classes online. In fact, many state-related providers offer a lower fee to in-state students.
You may be able to find free AP classes online if you look at virtual high school providers. You’ll probably have to prove that you live in the appropriate state, community, or school district before your student can sign up.
It may be worthwhile to take highly-rated courses rather than classes that are local to your state, however you may find yourself paying quite a bit for these classes.
Finally, if your student is able to learn well on their own through reading, you may want to let them self-study through AP preparation books. This can save you a lot compared to structured online courses, but there won’t be interaction or anyone to ask questions of. This can be a major drawback for many students.
Prepare Your Student for AP and College Wisely
Before your student commits to an online AP class and AP exam, make sure that the colleges they’re targeting reward AP scores with credit.
You also want to target schools where your student’s AP classes will help them stand out. There are a variety of schools that are very generous with merit aid. Want to know more? Check out our Merit Scholarship Toolkit today!
If your student is not quite sure if online AP courses are for them, check out how APs compare to dual enrollment classes to see which are right for your student.
Once your student has selected the AP course they are interest in, they may need help registering for the AP exam.
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