What are AP courses, and why are they so important?

Advanced Placement Courses for high schools were originally founded in the 1950s as a way to help students get a head start on college-level education. AP courses are the American equivalent of IB courses (International Baccalaureate), both of which are recognized worldwide. Since then, AP courses have become increasingly common, with at least one AP course now being offered in about 70% of US high schools. It is clear to see that this is becoming a vital tool for students looking to apply to college. 

Advanced Placement courses offer high school students valuable insights into the rigors of a college education. Although this may seem like a daunting endeavor to students at first, instilling the work ethic required to thrive in college and getting the inside track on how these studies work while in the comfort of high school is an incredible opportunity. The ability to learn something new in a familiar setting is the perfect introduction to higher education in a new school, a new city, or even a new country. 

The advantages of AP courses are clear. Studies have shown that those who pass AP exams are more likely to finish a 4-year degree thanks to the experience and understanding learned in their school. Simply put, if you are well prepared for something, you are more likely to succeed.

Now that we know a little bit more about Advanced Placement courses, let’s dive deeper into the virtues of the courses and how they can set students up for a better future.

AP courses are not only about the final exam, though that certainly will factor in later. These courses allow students to learn how to learn. There is a particular methodology to college learning. Although this may vary slightly from subject to subject, the core methods have similarities, and those small differences are taught in the AP classes. 

When students start to think about applying for college, setting themselves apart from the average student with high AP exam scores can have a hugely positive effect when their application is being considered. Showing that you are ready for a college education with proven scores will give students a big head start over those that did not complete an AP course. AP grades are generally weighed more heavily than regular coursework, meaning their applications to popular colleges will be more seriously considered than those without them. 


Advanced Placement Courses at NIVA American International School.

Although these courses have become more prevalent in the USA, NIVA is still only one of a handful of international schools in Thailand that offer Advanced Placement Courses. There are two immediate benefits to this. The first benefit is that Thai students looking to study in the USA have limited chances of obtaining this level of education in high school. This means education at NIVA can put you on a track that few other schools can offer. The other benefit is for students of families from different countries that are currently residing in Thailand. Being able to offer your child the chance to study AP courses and study back at home or in other countries is of incredible importance. International schools in Thailand have come a long way, and the choices are now excellent, but not all can offer Advanced Placement Courses.

AP courses are very much encouraged at NIVA, with students being able to take one in grade 10 and up to 7 in grades 11 and 12. A full list of the courses on offer at NIVA can be found here, but we will look more in-depth at one course in particular in this article.

AP Capstone

The AP Capstone course at NIVA focuses on developing skills such as research, analysis, evidence-based arguments, collaborative work, writing, and presenting. This highly valued qualification is a 2-year program and offers one of two different awards. As mentioned previously, learning how to learn for college is hugely beneficial and sets students up for success later on in life. 

Choosing suitable Advanced Placement Courses.

One thing to keep in mind is that a student’s course choice is incredibly important. Although AP exam results are a great way to stand out in a college application, it would be remiss not to mention the effects of a poor score. Simply taking the exam is not enough. A respectable score will be required to impress admissions officers. For this reason, it is important to choose a course that aligns with your interests and strengths. Right throughout education at NIVA, from early years to high school, we believe that quality learning occurs when students are naturally engaged in the subject at hand. 

If you have any further queries about Advanced Placement Courses at NIVA, please, feel free to contact us