AP Course Information

What are Advance Placement Courses?

Advanced Placement courses are COLLEGE LEVEL courses offered by the College Board.  Students can expect to spend at least 40 minutes, if not more per night for each AP course they take.  Therefore, students need to choose their AP courses wisely.  

How Many AP Courses Should I Take?

  • Colleges want to see students choose AP classes that they are most interested in, and can handle well.  
  • Students should not load up and pad their transcripts to “look good” to colleges.  Taking 1 or 2 AP courses while earning strong grades is the goal. Students should avoid taking 4-6 AP courses and then perform poorly
  • Students should choose courses that play to their individual strengths. AP courses demonstrate college readiness and academic rigor.
  • Students should connect their academic coursework to other areas, such as extracurricular activities.  This will enrich their exploration of a subject area.  For example, students who enjoy math and science should choose AP courses in those areas, and then expand on this knowledge by participating in internships or volunteer work that involves these areas of concentration.

What Advance Placement Courses Should I take?

  • AP courses are open to all students.  However, there are pre-requisite classes that are often required, with qualifying grades.  
  • All AP Course descriptions and prerequisites can be found in the FUSD Course Catalog.
  • Students should consider taking AP courses that they are passionate about and can dedicate time to.

Can I drop an AP Course?

AP courses are a year-long commitment. Students are expected to remain enrolled in the AP courses they have chosen for the entire year. If special circumstances arise and a student requests to drop an AP course, there may not be space available in a college-prep or other elective class. 

How do AP Courses Affect My GPA?

AP Courses on the A-G Course List may be given one extra point in the G.P.A. calculation for a grade of C or higher  (A=5; B=4; C=3). These “weighted” grades are determined at the UC/CSU admissions level.  American High has an unweighted G.P.A. and we do not rank.

College Credit for Advanced Placement Courses

  • Students can receive college credit and/or courses can be waived at the college level for those who successfully passed an AP course and exam. Each college makes its own decisions about how they award credit and placement. Refer to each college for specifics and guidelines.
  • Colleges do cap the number of AP exams they will award credit for, so don’t assume you will receive credit for every AP course you take.
  • Universities award credit for AP Courses differently, depending on the major you apply to.

Self-Study vs. Taking the Course

  • Colleges prefer to see an AP course on your transcript vs. self-study.
  • If the course is offered at Mission San Jose and you have a high interest in the course, take the class.
  • Sign up for the AP exam after you have taken the course. Do not self-study, take the exam then take the course.

AP Contract Information:

American High School supports any student who wishes to accept the challenge of Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Please remember that Advanced Placement classes are college level courses. With this challenge comes certain expectations regarding the maturity and capabilities of the enrolled students. Students should be motivated to take an AP class by an appreciation for the subject. Students who are overextended with academics and/or extracurricular activities should give careful consideration to whether they have time to devote to an AP class and also to the number of AP classes that they can successfully complete. American High School suggests a maximum of two AP classes per semester.

Students who enroll in an AP class are expected to:

  1. Be independent learners, willing to read, learn, ask questions, pursue outside reading and research, integrate and discuss material from diverse sources.
  2. Meet any prerequisites prior to enrolling in an AP course as outlined in the FUSD course catalog.

  3. Prepare for and take tests on time. 4. Accept that enrollment in an AP course does not guarantee an A or B grade.

  4. Spend a significantly greater amount of time on work outside of class compared to peers in non-AP classes.

Students who enroll in an AP course and their parent/guardian must sign the following written contract:

  1. 1. I recognize that I have to demonstrate independence and responsibility. AP courses typically require more homework compared to non-AP college-prep courses. (for each AP class, approximately 40 minutes per night or 3 hours per week)
  2. I commit to remain enrolled in the AP courses I have chosen for the entire year. If special circumstances arise and I request to drop an AP course, I understand that there may not be space available in a college-prep or other elective class.

  3. I understand that American High School does not recommend students to take more than two AP classes per semester each year.

  4. I acknowledge there is no summer school opportunity or online remediation if I perform poorly in an AP class.

  5. I agree to uphold American High School’s Academic Honesty Policy.

  6. I will speak with my parent/guardian, teacher, or school counselor if I start feeling overwhelmed with my academic workload.

  7. I will complete the Time Management Planner located on the back of this form to the best of my ability and use this tool in selecting my courses to maintain a balanced life.

If you need a copy of the AP contract and/or time management planner, please use the link provided below.