As you help and guide your child during middle school and high school, you are hoping they will thrive in many ways.  A primary area you want them to succeed with is academics.  The rationale being: they can then do well and enjoy the process of being an IT major and an IT professional.  As you look for recommendations and resources on how best to guide and encourage your child, you will find that you have many options.

One of the options is for your child to take Advanced Placement, (AP) classes. It is an excellent way for your child to hone the disciplines they will need if majoring in IT when the move on to college or university. AP classes can sharpen the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the IT college program of their choice.  Many colleges want to see AP courses on students’ high school transcript, but college programs specializing in information technology will especially want to see courses such as AP Calculus, AP Statistics, and AP Computer Science.

Signing up for an AP course is easy; if your high school offers it, it’s part of the curriculum. If your child’s high school doesn’t offer any AP classes, talk to a counselor to see if your child can take the course and exam at a neighboring school that does offer the program.

The Many Benefits of Taking AP Classes

  • Your Child will be Challenged: The challenging nature of AP classes will enable your child to build the skills they’ll need in college and beyond. This type of preparation is invaluable.
  • Your Child Will Be Adding Valuable Courses to Their High School Transcript: By having your child add these beneficial courses to their high school academic accomplishments, they are increasing the possibility of getting into college. Remember, you and your child should always discuss what’s best for them and it may or may not be something you ultimately decide upon.  However, admissions counselors do look for things that make a student stand out from the crowd. And, AP classes are one of the unique indicators of ability.
  • You’ll Save Money: If your child takes an AP class and then passes the exam, they’ll be eligible to receive college credit for the course. This could potentially allow them to graduate early (and that will save money).  An $87 exam (or less with financial aid) is much more affordable than the average college course.
  • Your Child Might Win Scholarships:  Taking part in the AP program will increase your child’s chances of getting a scholarship. According to the CollegeBoard, 31 percent of colleges and universities consider AP courses when determining scholarships.

But is AP Right for My Child?

Talk with your high school student and with their academic counselor to see if an AP course (or two, or three) would be helpful to their future.

Although these classes can be a big plus in terms of future success, ask your child if:

  • They think it might make their course load too challenging?
  • Are they already very busy with lots of extracurricular activities?
  • Will it interfere with personal responsibilities, like a part-time job?

Remember, the AP program is one (very solid) way of preparing your child for her future career, but it’s not the only one.

Financial Assistance

There is no fee associated with each AP course, but each exam will cost $87. The College Board provides a $26 fee reduction for students who demonstrate financial need. For each exam taken with this fee reduction, the school waives its $8 fee. This means that you’ll pay $53 per exam.

Additionally, new federal funding has allowed some states to waive the entire cost of the exam for low-income students, bringing the cost of the exam down to $0 for these students. Visit this College Board webpage for the details.


Parents of Middle-School students can also discuss with their children the possibility of taking Pre-AP courses.  Qualifying sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students may take Pre-AP courses in English, Social Studies, and Science. Qualifying Spanish Immersion students may take Pre-AP English, Spanish Immersion Pre-AP Science, and Spanish Immersion Pre-AP Social Studies.  Students may apply when entering 6th, 7th or 8th grade.  Applications are made available in January of each year.

Although not part of the Pre-AP program, Accelerated Mathematics might also be available at your child’s middle school, for qualifying students.  Fifth grade students in district elementary schools can be assessed for potential placement in Accelerated Mathematics.  Decisions regarding placement in Accelerated Mathematics are made by your local Education Service Center. Enrollment in Accelerated Mathematics can lead to AP Mathematics in high school.