"AP" doesn't really stand for "Awesome People," but it could. 

Those of you who hang with AP® courses are a step ahead of the game, studying at the college level while still in high school. Earning college credit and valuable experience by taking a rigorous course and a bend-your-brain exam before even setting foot on a university campus? Amen, preacher. Amazing & powerful. Also, priceless.

Studies show that students who grab the Advanced Placement gold ring by scoring a 3 or higher on AP exams tend to do better in college. We like shiny things. We're here to help you nab not only that gold ring, but also that magna cum laude medal at university commencement. If the medal comes with a shiny new job offer after graduation, even better. 

But you probably can't achieve all of that without some blood, sweat, and tears. That's why we're serving up a list of four reasons to remind yourself why you're bustin' your butt during AP season.

Why should I take AP classes?

1. To get into your dream college

You've probably heard of the #collegestruggle, but we'll remind you: college is challenging. With college acceptance rates dipping lower and lower at elite schools, 10 AP classes is the new 5 AP classes. Competitive schools want to see you challenging yourself, even more than they want to see stellar GPAs. That one AP class you dragged your feet to sign up for could mean the difference between an acceptance and a rejection. 

2. To help you choose a career path

With over 30 AP classes that directly connect to college majors and career choices, you could get a head start on planning that elusive thing called your "future" now. Post-HIMYM marathoning, did you really want to be an architect? AP Environmental Science may surprise you as a connection. Ever wondered what a Nutritional Sciences major may entail? Take AP Statistics to take the first step. The College Board has really stepped up its cool factor with this Find Your Future tool.

3. To help you save time and money at college

If you score a 3 or higher on your AP exam, you could earn college credit before you even get there. If you're taking 15 credits per semester at college, already having credits checked off could save you up to $5000 per semester. Not only are the financial benefits of AP classes a win-win, but getting generic requirements out of the way will allow you to spend more time taking classes that are truly the bomb dot com.

4. To get the most out of your high school education

No matter where your future takes you, APs will make you feel like a lion taking down an antelope. Challenges are good for the soul. And the application, the wallet, and the stable future you'll have built a foundation for.

No matter how together you feel, there are going to be times you want to give up AP studying and just watch cartoons in your pajamas. First things first: that's okay. Everyone's allowed a pajama cartoon once in a while. Once that's out of your system, though, think about why you're even taking all these tests. Whether it's to help you get into your dream college, help you choose a career path, or just because Big Brother made you do it, remember what prompted you to start. Let that motivate you as you sprint toward the finish line.

"And the geek shall inherit the Earth..."
–Bill Gates (Well, that's what we imagine he would say if we could get him in a room to do a Shmoop interview.)