AP Courses

What are Advanced Placement (AP) Courses?

Advanced Placement courses are COLLEGE LEVEL courses offered by the College Board.  Students can expect to spend at least an hour 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 and earning strong grades is preferred over taking 4-6 AP courses and performing 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 history and art should choose AP courses in those areas and expand on this knowledge by participating in clubs, internships, and/or volunteer work that involves these areas of concentration.

What Advanced 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.  For example, AP Calculus AB requires that students complete Pre-Calculus with a grade of A or higher or Honors Pre-Calculus or Accelerated Algebra 2/Pre-Calculus with “C-” grades in both semesters.
  • 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?

MSJH has a student-driven Master Schedule, which means that the number of seats we dedicate to students is based on the number of students that request the course.  For that reason, AP courses are a year-long commitment.  There is no room for students to drop AP courses that they have applied for. 

How do AP Courses Affect My GPA?

AP Courses that are underlined on the A-G List are given one extra point in the GPA calculation: A=5; B=4; C=3.  These “weighted” grades are awarded at the University of California admissions level.  Mission San Jose High has an unweighted GPA 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 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 as opposed to self-study.
  • If the course is offered at Mission San Jose and you have a high interest in the course, take the class here.
  • Sign up for the AP exam after you have taken the course. Do not self-study, take the exam then take the course.