There are various reasons why you might wish to take online AP courses. Your school does not offer all the courses you want to take. You will have to consider various things prior to taking the plunge.
What to know about an online AP Class?
An online AP class is one that mimics the material and workload of an in-person AP course. In general, it prepares you for the AP exam. You are likely to have readings, quizzes, lectures and exams just like in conventional school. However, all your communication with the teacher will take place through your computer via email, virtual lectures or video chat.
All AP classes you could take online are likely to be a bit different. This is the reason why if you do decide to take one, doing research on which course to enroll in is highly important. There are some which are accredited by the College Board. And some are not. There are some which are graded independent study.
Top benefits of taking AP Courses Online
You can take AP classes in an online school which are not offered by your school. You need to be able to earn credit toward graduating high school. However, it might just be pass or fail credit on your official high school transcript. You are likely to have some flexibility when you get the work done. Thus, if you have an unusual schedule, a virtual course might be a great option for you. You might just be able to connect with like-minded students with similar interests. This might be a great benefit if you are homeschooled or stay in a rural area. On the basis of your location, you might be able to take the class for free. There are many states that have one program which is free to residents. In case you are self-motivated, you are likely to enjoy the semi independent-study format of most of the classes.
Now, there are some drawbacks to taking AP courses online. In spite of the benefits, there are certain key drawbacks to taking a virtual AP course. The class may or may not strengthen your official high school GPA. There are some high schools that will put the letter grade on your transcript. Some would not count the class at all. Some will enable you to count the class as credit but only as pass or fail.
Certain classes can be expensive. On the basis of the class and your level of motivation, it might make a good deal of sense to self-study for the AP test and then take the assessment. In case you stay in a rural area, you might still need to find a conventional school where you can take the exam. This is not a bad thing. However, you will be required to keep in mind that the online course would not coordinate your exam arrangements for you. In case you have a difficult time getting work done without a certain level of supervision, a virtual course may not have adequate accountability for you to get the work done.
There are some classes which are highly text-based.
Should you go for an online AP class?
If you are homeschooled and want to take an online AP class
Now, your homeschool teacher might not feel well-equipped to teach you the material. In that case, you can certainly take an online course. One other benefit is that a virtual course could help you connect with other students on the basis of the platform. If you are worried about taking the exam, you might consider self-study. Homeschoolers can certainly list their exam prep “class” as “Honors” even when their home course is not accredited by the AP.
If you have an unusual schedule or scheduling conflict
In case you have some kind of scheduling conflict with the in-class AP course of your school, online courses would be a great option for you. However, remember that you might be unable to get a letter grade for the virtual class on your high school transcript even when you can get credit. If this is the case and you are a junior, you might want to take the class through your school the following year.
If your school is not offering valuable AP courses
Now, you might not have another way of taking the class and you might have invested in the material. In such a case, you are an ideal candidate for taking virtual AP classes. In case you stay in a rural area, you must check to see whether your school already partners with a virtual AP course provider. If that is the case, you will be able to take the class for free. You might be able to get time during the school day to do coursework. You might have the class appear on your official high school transcript.
If you wish to take an AP Class over the summer
If there is a certain AP class you want to take over the summer which does not work for you during the school year, virtual courses can be a good way to make that happen. However, you might have to spend a good amount of time reviewing the material during the following school year.
If you want to boost your GPA
Now, your school might not enable you to count your letter grade in a virtual AP course on your high school transcript. They may not provide credit. Or, you may only get pass or fail marks on your official transcript. Thus, if you want a GPA boost, discuss whether the class will factor into your GPA prior to enrolling in it.
If you are clue less
If you do not know exactly why you want to take an online AP course, make sure not to do it until you figure it out. When you have a sense of purpose, you would not be motivated to put in the additional work, mainly because online classes tend to be self-directed.