At John Bapst, we have had a strong AP program for decades. Encouraging international students to take advantage of our experience and success, we opened a boarding program in the fall of 2011. In America, AP is the de facto national honors curriculum. Virtually all colleges and universities accept AP either for placement into courses beyond introductory courses or for actual course credit. Significantly, colleges and universities also look for AP on students’ transcripts as evidence that they have taken an ambitious and demanding high school curriculum. John Bapst administers roughly 400 AP exams annually for its students.
Each AP course is a self-contained course. Most are year-long, functioning as the English, science, mathematics, history, or language course for a student working at the top high school level. Students take the AP class every day, expect to do significant nightly homework, and take a national — international, really — AP exam in May for each of the AP courses. At John Bapst, the exams are not optional as they are at some other schools. We want our students to find out how their learning compares to that of their peers across the nation and world.
AP is a program of the College Board. Curricula are well organized; they are developed by some of the best high school and college teachers in the US and elsewhere. These teachers work on test development committees to insure that the content and skills of an AP course really do mirror the content and skills of college courses.
In the US, there are no guarantees when it comes to college and university acceptance. Unlike other countries where getting a certain score on a national test may mean acceptance into a particular university or a tier of universities, in the US each university tends to make its own entrance decisions. What we know is that taking AP courses and then scoring well (3 or higher) on one or more AP exams are an effective way to improve the student’s chances of being accepted by a selective university.
AP exams are taken mostly by high school juniors and seniors (grades 11 and 12) after they have shown promise in earlier courses. AP exams can work well for students from any country in the world who are considering college and university in the US and Canada.
The AP program is growing. Last year, for instance, more than 700,000 students worldwide took one of the AP English examinations. The growth is spreading to China and India as the AP program becomes better and better known. John Bapst entertains more inquiries and applications than it has space for because of the interest in American education and the AP program specifically.
John Bapst’s programs are marketed through the school’s website (www.johnbapst.org), through recruiting trips and school fairs, through the school’s participation in “StudyMaine,” and a number of other means. We also count on word of mouth and are delighted when our current families recommend others on the basis of the positive experience their children have had.