How Many AP Classes is Enough? — Elite Educational Institute (2024)

There’s no doubt that AP classes offer a number of benefits. For one, these college-level classes tend to be of great quality, which can actually make them kind of fun—in the sense that you are surrounded by focused, active learners and purposeful, quality instructors all working toward the common goal of passing a big exam. In addition, AP classes can boost your motivation to learn since passing AP exams will give you the chance to get college credit. This can save you college tuition money, allow you to register for college classes early before they fill up, and help you graduate early. Furthermore, keeping your eye on the worthwhile goal of passing AP exams will boost your academic success in high school and help you feel better prepared for the years to come.

Now that you’re (hopefully) as excited as ever about continuing on your AP adventure, let’s evaluate the common question, how many AP classes should you ideally take?

How Many is Too Many?

Generally, AP courses are more difficult and require more time than regular classes. Consequently, taking more APs than you can realistically handle can bring down your GPA, not to mention cause undue stress. Plus, if you don’t have the time and energy to dedicate to the material, you could end up forfeiting passing grades on AP exams and any college credit that comes with them. Being honest with yourself, decide whether you’re likely to pass your classes with As or Bs as getting a C or below, and/or not passing the AP exam, communicates to colleges that you are either not ready for college success or that you are simply piling on AP classes to impress them.

How Many is Too Few?

Choosing not to take AP courses when they are available to you and when you are capable of doing well in them will likewise detract from an otherwise competitive college application. Colleges look for students who are ambitious with a high likelihood of contributing to society, so avoiding challenging opportunities (i.e. AP courses) can lead colleges to question how strong of a candidate you are for their schools.

The Key Number

By now, hopefully you have a pretty good idea of how to determine the appropriate number of APs to attempt. In a sentence, the ultimate recommendation is, take as many of the most rigorous classes available to you as you can as long as you can do well in them.

If that answer isn’t fully satisfying, here is a look at the average number of APs students tend to take over the course of their high school years, broken down by college selectivity:

  • Selective schools: around 7–12 APs

  • Semi-selective schools: 4–8 APs

  • Less selective schools: 1–5 APs

Lastly, as you assess your abilities and how many APs you’re likely to succeed in, consider these final recommendations:

  • Think about your extracurricular involvement, including SAT/ACT prep, to ensure you don’t overcommit yourself.

  • If you find yourself needing to choose between two AP classes, pick the one that will better demonstrate your interests to colleges.

  • Don’t forget that senior year is a great opportunity to take multiple APs, and colleges do look at your senior year--if not at your GPA, then at least at the rigor of the classes you plan to take.

I wish you all the best in your classes. Put in that work, learn a lot, and enjoy the process!

How Many AP Classes is Enough? — Elite Educational Institute (2024)


How Many AP Classes is Enough? — Elite Educational Institute? ›

Selective schools: around 7–12 APs. Semi-selective schools: 4–8 APs. Less selective schools: 1–5 APs.

How many AP classes is reasonable? ›

This is when you should start taking your AP core classes. Take three to five if you are aiming for a highly selective school, and two to four if you are aiming elsewhere. Note that many students describe this year as significantly harder than past ones. And you'll also likely be taking your standardized tests.

What is an impressive number of AP classes? ›

How many AP® classes should I take?
Ivy LeagueMinimum of 8 AP® Classes
Top 20 schoolsMinimum of 6 AP® Classes
Top 100 schoolsMinimum of 4 AP® Classes
All other schoolsMinimum of 1 AP® Class
Mar 1, 2022

Is 10 AP classes enough for Ivy League? ›

How Many AP Classes Should You Take for Ivy Leagues and Other Top US Universities? For students aiming for the Ivy League and Top 20 schools in the United States, a good target is to take (and pass) 10-14 AP classes throughout your high school career — or 3-4 each year.

How many AP classes do I need to take to get into a good college? ›

College counselors recommend that students strive to take 5-8 AP classes throughout their high school career, especially if they are interested in attending a highly-selective institution such as an Ivy League college. That said, you shouldn't feel pressured to take more AP classes than you can comfortably manage.

Is 8 AP classes enough for Ivy League? ›

Most students who attend extremely selective schools have taken anywhere from 7 to 12 AP courses in high school, although there are exceptions to this rule. If a high school offers only a limited number of AP courses or none at all, colleges will not fault students for taking fewer of these classes.

Is taking 7 AP classes too much? ›

Most Selective Schools (Top 20): APs in most or all of the core courses (English, Mathematics, Science, History, and Foreign Language), plus additional AP courses that relate to your goals, future major, or interests. This will end up being between 7 and 12 AP courses.

Is 6 AP classes in one year too much? ›

Applicants aiming for highly selective colleges usually take 5-6 AP classes this year, but keep your limits and schedule in mind. At this point, adding one more AP class might not have a huge impact on your college chances, but it could reduce the time spent on applications to a great extent.

Is 6 AP classes too much senior year? ›

Taking 6 APs might be perfect because you already have taken 6 APs before and got all As and 4s and 5s on your AP tests. Or it might be getting over your skis as the expression goes. I think it depends on what your track record is thus far.

How many APs does mit want? ›

There is no minimum or recommended number of AP courses.

Is 7 AP classes enough for Harvard? ›

Going up the selectivity chain, the average at Harvard is eight AP classes. To be competitive at some of the most highly selective colleges in the country, 8-12 AP courses may be the sweet spot amount, assuming the student can handle that level of rigor.

How many APs does Stanford want? ›

While there is no specific number of AP classes required for any college, including Stanford, it's important to challenge yourself academically and demonstrate that you can handle rigorous coursework.

How many AP classes average at Harvard? ›

While Harvard does not set a hard-and-fast rule for AP coursework, the average incoming Harvard student has taken eight AP classes. Keep in mind that Harvard's admissions department weighs several factors, so don't count on AP classes alone if you want to get into Harvard.

What is the hardest AP class? ›

United States History, Biology, English Literature, Calculus BC, Physics C, and Chemistry are often named as the hardest AP classes and tests. These classes have large curriculums, tough tests, and conceptually difficult material.

Should I take more AP classes junior or senior year? ›

Most people take APUSH their junior year. Also, it is recommended to take more AP's your junior year than senior year since you can have a "last minute" gpa boost and colleges tend to look at your sophom*ore and junior year grades more. Senior year grades are just to see if you are still keeping up that rigor.

Is taking 3 AP classes too little? ›

'No magic number' for students

Students and counselors alike agree that AP courses offer many academic benefits beyond college admissions to students in terms of the skills including time management, critical thinking, and writing skills they learn in these courses that prepare them for college work.

How many AP classes does the average person take? ›

The Key Number

If that answer isn't fully satisfying, here is a look at the average number of APs students tend to take over the course of their high school years, broken down by college selectivity: Selective schools: around 7–12 APs. Semi-selective schools: 4–8 APs. Less selective schools: 1–5 APs.

Is 4 AP classes too much? ›

However, students who take 4-5 AP courses can still qualify for good schools, including many of the country's top public research institutions. Students should balance taking AP courses with maintaining a healthy schedule to avoid burnout.

Is 3 AP classes too much sophom*ore year? ›

I recommend taking only 2 APs sophom*ore year, 4-5 Junior year, and 3 to 4 Senior year. That puts you in the 9-11 range which more than enough. Also keep in mind that if you apply to Brown with 12 APs, you've wasted your time since they give you ZERO AP credit.

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