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College Classes in High School: Is AP or Community College Better?

Mar 23, 2023

Is AP or Community College Better?

If your high School offers various AP courses, you undoubtedly know which ones are available and how they perform. AP courses are meant to be on par with initial college courses. So to answer the question, do AP classes count as college courses? Well yes! AP classes are equal to introductory-level college courses. 

However, as a high school student, you might also have the chance to enroll in an actual college course at your neighborhood community college. So, which option should you pick?


Both community college courses and AP classes can be worthwhile additions to your resume, but depending on your needs, you might need to choose one over the other. The article discusses the benefits of each and shall provide you with all the necessary details to help you make a perfect choice.

What are AP Classes?

The College Board created the AP (Advanced Placement) program to introduce college-level topics to high-school students. Most students believe AP classes are the most challenging courses to pursue in high School.


To receive AP credit, you must pass a final exam assessing your understanding of the course material. The exam is measured on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 representing the highest result. Therefore, you might be eligible for college credit if you receive a 3, 4, or 5 on an AP exam. However, regulations vary from institution to institution. 

So, are AP classes and college classes the same? AP courses are meant to be on par with initial college courses. However, as a high school student, you might also have the chance to enroll in a formal college course at your neighborhood community college.


What are Community Colleges Classes?

Community college classes are offered at nearby community colleges to high school students. In addition, numerous high schools provide programs that let students enroll in community college courses while finishing their high school careers. It would help if you took these classes at the community college, which you can take during the daytime or at night.

In the following section, let’s discuss the benefits of AP and community college classes for high school students.


Benefits of AP Classes Compared to Community College Classes

Let’s start with a few advantages of enrolling in AP classes in high School.

You can receive College Credits while still in School.

AP programs are the best way to get college credits without delaying your schedule. Students involved in extracurricular activities and athletics find it challenging to incorporate community college classes into their daily schedules.


If you do well in a core subject on an AP exam, you may be able to finish your college and high school requirements simultaneously. Not all colleges will offer you credit for your AP work, but most will at least let you skip introductory courses that might end up being unrealistic.

You’ll be there in a Class with other High Achievers.

Another benefit of AP classes is that these classes are full of top-grade students. You can improve the experience by being in a class with other students who are genuinely interested in studying (not everyone who enrolls in AP courses is a model student, but they may be at least slightly intellectual).


Some community college students may enroll in the course to fulfill a primary requirement. It could indicate that they’re not as enthusiastic, which would reduce the intellectual stimulation of the classroom.

The Information is more Reliable.

Since the AP curriculum is standardized, you can prepare for each exam with the assurance that you’ve learned what you need to know. A tonne of review materials and practice exams are available to assist you in mastering the knowledge and abilities assessed on AP examinations.


Additionally, you’ll be familiar with the test’s format, which allows you to become accustomed to it and reduce test-day stress. In a community college class, the design of the assessments may vary, and the details of what you are required to study may not be precise.

Benefits of Community College Classes Compared to AP Classes

Now that you know the possible advantages of taking AP classes, let’s check the benefits of community college classes.

You’ll Experience What a Real College Class is like!

Even though AP classes are designed to be roughly similar to first-semester college classes, they can only imitate college classes to a certain extent. Enrolling in community college classes will allow you to observe the format of college courses and tests.

Additionally, you’ll keep how the classroom operates and have the chance to listen to senior students’ perspectives, which may enable you to view the topic from other angles. However, the student body in AP classes appears to be more similar, so there may be a lack of diversity in viewpoints.

You may Find it Easier to Obtain College Credits. 

Most of the time, credits from community college classes can move you to a public school or a state school. Additionally, you might be able to skip college introductory courses. It also occurs when students earn AP credit, but since AP courses don’t exactly mimic the college experience, students are not ready for actually advanced college classes.

If you’ve already attended a real college class and excelled at the foundational subject, your chances of getting comfortable in a community-level high class will increase.

There will be more Course Options for you.

The academic content covered in AP classes is somewhat constrained. AP classes majorly cover all core disciplines, while a community college class covers courses that more closely align with students’ preferences. Thus, before attending AP classes, taking classes at a community college can help you broaden your horizons and develop your ability to select courses from a wide range of topics.

A Biased Teacher cannot Impact your Credit.

Although the AP curriculum and examinations are uniforms, the AP teaching strategies are not. As a result, the effectiveness of different teachers varies. It can be a problem because it impacts students’ performance on AP examinations, and a poor exam result affects the value of the AP class on your transcript.

For instance, if a university where you are willing to apply for admission only accepts 4 or 5 grades on an AP exam or if you don’t pass the test, you cannot achieve any college credit for your contributions to the class. On the contrary, in a community college class, it’s conceivable that you can still acquire some college credit even if you have low grades in an inadequately taught course.

Do Colleges Select One Over the Other? Which One Should You Choose?

Which college class, AP or community college, will seem superior on your college applications for high school students? The kind of college you’re interested in will determine this. An AP exam score is evaluated by a standardized system recognized and understood by practically every School. Most of the time, you can use your AP exam results to get college credit or bypass introductory courses.

Colleges can determine whether you are a hard-working student or capable of working at a high level by looking at your GPA and AP test results. A challenging high school course may place significant value on AP programs. Top universities may consider AP scores more accurate gauges of academic aptitude than community college classes.

Are AP Classes and College Classes the Same?

Community college classes make it more difficult for institutions to determine how well you understand the topic and how challenging the course is. Since you won’t be taking standardized tests, institutions will base their decisions on the reputation of the community college and your academic performance.

It might be OK to apply to a public institution, whether in-state or out-of-state. Still, more selective private universities are less likely to consider credits from courses taken at community colleges that they are unfamiliar with. They might not view the course material as being on par with an AP course.

Thus, considering AP classes over community college classes is a better option if you are willing to apply to a highly selective private university. In addition, admissions personnel consider APs a more recognized indicator for measuring academic motivation and the capacity to manage a demanding course load in the students. 

Do AP classes count as college courses? AP is a widely recognized course; it is viewed as a more accurate indicator for analyzing students’ skills than community college programs. On the contrary, community college classes might be a better choice because the credits will transfer more readily if you apply to a state or public School. It may also be wiser if you wish to reduce your overall tuition fees (in the long term).


Your choice is influenced by your hobbies as well. If your community college offers the class you want to take, but your high school doesn’t, you should choose the community college course over an unjustified AP. Learn more about the methods available at your high School and the community college in your area, then decide which ones appeal to you. You can take one class from each type to decide on the best option more intelligently.

AP or Community College Better


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