Students say AP classes hurt more than they helped

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A growing number of Utah students earn college credit in high school by taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes.

KSL News recently spotlighted that accomplishment in our KSL Schools project, but we heard from several students who say the program that's supposed to help with college almost wound up hurting them.

College graduation for Stephen Bradford was almost in jeopardy for a time, ironically because he worked hard to earn AP college credit in high school.

"It wound up almost hurting me because I got, by my fourth year, I had so many credits I was in danger of losing my scholarship," Bradford said.

On paper, he was a senior but still hadn't met the requirements of his major. He couldn't afford college without the scholarship.

"If, like, I had not been as good with the appeals deadline there was a possibility that I could have lost it," he said.

Ryan Lindeman agrees AP isn't all it's cracked up to be. "In a lot of ways it isn't. There's no guarantee that you will even get the credits after you pass the exam," he said.

He took AP, paid hundreds of dollars for the tests, then struggled to get his university to accept the credits.

"You pay a fair amount of money, then you have to pass it with higher than a [score of] three in some cases in order to obtain credit at a college level," Lindeman said.

He added, "Sometimes those credits don't transfer very easily from one college to the next.

Both students still recommend AP classes because they're more challenging, but they want students to be aware of the downsides so they can stay on top of their status in college.

"Don't invest everything in those AP classes because there is no guarantee that they're going to pay off for you all the time," Bradford said.


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Nadine Wimmer


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