The cost of Advanced Placement


Sarah Liu

Money or AP?

November. AP fees are due: $93 per test. In comes May, AP-testing month: whether or not you pass lies upon your own shoulders. So, is $93 affordable? Is it worth it?

Each student has his or her reason for taking or not taking AP classes. Usually, students take AP courses to raise their GPAs, make their transcripts look better, get college credit, and prepare for college courses.

“I think [APs] are very challenging, but they’re a good way to be ready and prepare for college, and it gives you an outlook on what college will be like,” Elena Murtaugh (9) said.

AP is not necessary for a student to graduate and go to college. Students who do not take AP do so for various reasons. Sometimes they are simply not interested in AP, or they view AP as being very difficult, expensive and time-consuming.

“The biggest thing that drives me away from it is the idea of it conflicting with my extracurriculars,” Emily Garrison (11) said.

People have differing opinions on the price of these classes. Some feel that $93 is too much, while others feel that it is a good deal in comparison to how much each college course is worth. For example, each credit hour at the University of Memphis is roughly $300, but in colleges like Harvard, one credit hour can hit $1000 or more.

“Personally, [the price] is not an issue, but I can understand that for some people it would drive them away from taking all the APs that they want to,” Xintong Wang (11) said.

Not much can be done to change the price because College Board sets it, and the price includes the money necessary to pay AP graders, test manufacturers, test creators and the like. However, if the finances are a struggle for students, counselors always are available to help figure out a payment plan.

“I think the main the thing is let students know that if you don’t qualify for a fee waiver, we will always work out a payment plan with you,” counselor Leslie Fleming said. In the end, it is up to each student to decide whether or not AP classes are the right choice. Fleming offered some strategical advice for students who may consider joining the AP level.

“Do you need all APs?” Fleming said. “No. You need the right ones for you, and everybody’s right ones are different. And everyone can be successful. It just depends on what goals you’re setting for yourself.”