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AP Classes or Music?

Which will help your college application more: AP classes or music? AP classes show a commitment to rigorous academics, a willingness to do extra work, and a desire to be challenged in the classroom. But what about musical talent? An oboe player for four years in band, a few summer music camps and performances might show those same qualities of challenge and work ethic – and show creativity. If you are struggling to find time and know that you can only commit to one – AP classes or music – which should it be?

Choose based on developing commitment and personal qualities

College admission counselors are looking for qualities, not a pristine and crisp list of activities. Thousands of students have long lists of accomplishments. It is not only the accomplishments that will make you stand out, but what those accomplishments show. Just as choosing extracurricular activities, choose based on developing commitment and personal qualities.

For instance, if you are a writer on the school paper, an AP literature class will show intellectual commitment and growth in a linguistic way. If you are in a math club, it makes sense to show perseverence by taking AP math classes. If you have been in choir for three years and are pondering whether or not to audition for a specialized group, consider that the new group will show your growth, accomplishment, commitment, and talent in singing. If you choose to spend your time in an AP class that will take that opportunity away, you might be cutting yourself short.

Show a willingness to challenge yourself intellectually and creatively

Music is intellectual, and academia is creative. Bifurcating and mutually excluding qualities into either music and classes will hamper your pursuits, so keep an open mind. That said, you can challenge yourself creatively and intellectually in both music and AP classes – it depends on who you are and where your talents and interest lie.

Consider the relative gains by taking an AP class. If you are in a school where regular classes are known for being challenging, you might want to extend your abilities and commit to a musical activity. On the other hand, if you play violin and are used to orchestra rehersals on the weekends, maybe it's time to increase your class load.

A last note – before deciding between "either A or B," consider realistically – can you make it "A and B." If not, keep the above points in mind when you choose. If you have the opportunity to do both AP classes and music productively and happily – go for it.

Talk with a teacher, counselor, or tutor to consider the right choice for your own situation. We are always available at Top Test Prep for your questions. Good luck!

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This post is titled, "AP Classes or Music?" It was written by Marta Casey, a writer on Top Test Prep's team.

To learn more about Top Test Prep's programs, call (800) 501- Prep.