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AP Academy FAQs

Wilkes Central proudly announces the addition of it's Advanced Placement (AP) Academy for the 2017-2018 school year.  Below we provide answers to some of the questions you may have about the academy.
1. What is Advanced Placement?
  • In short, Advanced Placement courses (aka AP) have been designed to prepare students for 4 year university courses. AP courses are taught by highly qualified high school teachers who use the work of College Board to guide them. The course descriptions outline the course content, describe the curricular goals of the subject, and provide sample exam questions. Those outlines have been created in conjunction with university professors and fellow AP teachers. All AP courses are required to select a college textbook and syllabus they must utilize when teaching the course. While the course descriptions are a significant source of information about the course content on which the AP Exams will be based, AP teachers have the flexibility to determine how this content is presented. Students who successfully complete the classwork must then take an AP exam each May for each course.  Students who score 3 or higher can submit their score to the university of their choice for course credit.  As always, it is up to the university to determine how that credit will be applied to their requirements just like they would a community college course. 
2. Isn't AP only for the really smart student?
  • No. In fact, the purpose of the AP Academy is to help every student who is accepted learn the skills and habits necessary to successfully complete the course work.  It is true that the courses will require more out of class reading and writing than a standard high school course.  Students will be required to think and apply what they learn.  This may be challenging at first because many students have become accustomed to teachers telling them what they should know and do.  If you are willing to work hard, you'll find that the qualities you use in other parts of your life can help you achieve your goals. AP brings the college experience to your high school with the opportunity to earn college credit at thousands of universities. More students are ready for AP than you’d think. Roll up your sleeves and find out what AP can do for you. Our goal for the AP Academy is to enroll a variety of students with a variety of background and experiences.  AP Academy will provide support if you are willing to provide the work necessary to be successful.
3. Do I have to take every AP class offered?
  • No. This program requires that you successfully take and pass 7 AP/Community College courses.  As we have stated up front, this program is new and will continue to grow each year.  With our initial class in 2017 we will be adding AP Earth and Environmental for the 9th grade year.  This class will only be offered to AP Academy students as regular students will not have the support structure to be successful in the course. Students will be able to choose a pathway that fits their future career plans whether that is STEM related, a humanities focus, or college prep.  As a student enters the 11th and 12th grade they can choose AP courses that fit their future plans and we grow our AP program. We will also consider and utilize appropriate college transfer courses from Wilkes Community College (the student will have a $20 fee for each WCC course they select- this fee is applicable to high school students in traditional high schools) should an AP course not fit within their plan of study. In most cases, students should be able to complete the program at no cost through the AP offerings.
4.  Do I have to take and pay for the AP exam?
  • The state of North Carolina recognizes that AP courses add to the readiness of high school students for their 4 year university experience.  The state covers the cost for each exam given in May.  We do expect students who are part of the AP Academy to take the exam at the end of every course.  Keep in mind, while our goal is to help students place out of college courses the ultimate goal is to help students learn how to study, prepare for rigorous courses, think and apply learning at a higher level and walk into a college classroom prepared for the level of work that will be required. Even if a student doesn't pass every exam, the experience they will gain by being in a class each year at high school will be valuable as they enter their university setting. 
5. So is there really an advantage to such a program?
  • We believe so.  After all, today's college enrollment process has become highly competitive- especially for programs like Duke, NC State, Wake, and Carolina.  Even Appalachian State has become competitive in recent years with it's increase in popularity and regional draw.  
The following information was taken from UNC-Chapel Hills website regarding it's 2016 Freshman class- http://admissions.unc.edu/apply/class-profile-2/

First-Year Students


35,875 applied
9,386 admitted (26% of all students applying; 49% of NC applicants; 15% of out-of-state applicants)
4,228 enrolled (45% of all students admitted; 60% of NC admits; 21% of out-of-state admits)


1st in high-school class 8% (of those whose schools reported rank)
1st or 2nd in high-school class 13%
Top 10% of high-school class 78%

25th-75th percentiles * (Middle 50 percent)
—SAT Critical Reading 600-700
—SAT Math 610-720
—SAT Writing 580-690
—ACT Composite 28-33

Appalachian State University provides details regarding how they accept the credit and what courses those translate to with required scores. (click on the blue link)
Every college/university will accept AP courses for credit with a passing score.  It is up to the individual school to determine how they accept those credits just like they do any community college course.  
6. How is the AP Academy different from just signing up for any AP course?  Can't I take AP regardless?
  • Yes, students who meet prerequisite requirements can register for AP courses.  The difference is most of the courses are for upper level students (11th and 12th graders).  While we work to provide the support needed in any AP course, students in 11th and 12th grade courses do not receive the support structure that will be built into the AP Academy.  We do not allow Freshman or Sophomores to take AP courses because they typically do not have the maturity to do so.  The advantage of the AP Academy will be a small community in which you have the support of Ms. Snow- AP Adviser and Ms. Jill Masten-Byers- Counselor.  Both of these individuals will work closely to assist students and help them learn the skills needed.  Our AP Earth/Environmental Science teacher will also work to assist students as they learn how to take on a more rigorous learning environment. After all, most freshman have never had to carry a textbook much less read a college level text. The AP Academy will have Ms. Snow as their homeroom adviser and will participate in college visits, complete required community service and build a community of support with their peers. Students will not be "tracked" or scheduled together all day but will be required to meet weekly as part of SMART Lunch for their AP Academy support sessions and will have access to help if needed. If after the first year a student feels this program no longer fits them, they are not required to continue in the program.  We do, however, require that they complete the year as the AP courses in many cases will be a 2 semester course due to the amount of material covered. Since students will have two semesters of the AP courses this will also mean they will delay their World History until Sophomore year.  The World History course will be an AP course offered to students in the Academy. We will have tentative 4 year plans posted soon to illustrate course sequences. 
7.  Is this just something that WCHS is doing?
  • No- this is growing in many areas of the state of North Carolina.  While this is a new program for many high schools, it is seeing tremendous growth. Wilkes Central will continue to adjust the program to meet the needs of students without compromising the integrity of the overall experience.  Students must be willing to complete the work and participate in the extra curricular activities and requirements such as community service.  Failure to comply with the expectations can and will result in removal from the program. Each AP Academy has different requirements based on the schools offerings, needs, and preferences.  As this program grows, we believe we will continue to learn more about how to best serve our students.  We will, however, work to provide a quality experience to the inaugural class that enters Fall of 2017. 
8. Why the community service requirement?
  • There are several reasons:
    • It builds community within the AP Academy- working together helps students learn more about each others strengths and weaknesses
    • It provides a strong resume for college admissions.  Colleges are looking for students who give back to their community.  Volunteering alone is challenging; volunteering as a group is fun and allows you to do more for your community. 
    • It builds character for our students.  Sometimes being put into an uncomfortable situation such as talking to strangers, learning to manage my time when I would rather play video games or hang out with friends, and learning how to respect the opinions of others can be some of the most valuable life lessons.  This is especially true as you mature and look to leave home to attend college.  
9.  How do I apply?
  • Applications for a new 9th grade cohort will be accepted in the spring of each year as a part of class registration for classes for the following school year.  The application process requires written essays as well as interviews.  
The AP Academy is purposefully designed to be small.  We anticipate only accepting 30 students.  Students who are not accepted may still take AP courses once they have met the prerequisites and requirements for those courses. We look forward to welcoming every freshman and building this small community at Wilkes Central.  Thank you for your interest and allowing us to share this experience with you and your family.
For more information
Click on the link below for 8th grade presentation.
Ms. Savannah Snow: AP Academy Advisor
Ms. Jill Masten-Byers: AP Academy Counselor
Portions of this information was taken from https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/exploreap.  Visit this site for more information directly from College Board.