Should My Gifted Child Take Advanced Placement (AP) Classes?

Should My Gifted Child Take Advanced Placement (AP) Classes?

Consider the following story as it relates to this blog’s topic.

At the suggestion of his teacher, we had our son tested to check whether he was gifted. The results showed that he has a lot of potential, so we spoke with his guidance counselor and teacher about adjusting his classes. They suggested enrolling him in advanced placement classes once he reaches high school. The thought of our son taking advanced classes and increasing his chances of getting into a good college is very exciting to us! In the back of my mind, though, I wonder if these courses may push him to the point that he’ll lose interest. We plan to speak with his therapist about it. 

As a parent, you always want your child to reach their full potential. If he/she/they are gifted, you might think life will be a breeze, especially in school. Getting a head-start by enrolling them in advanced placement (AP) classes seems like the most logical step, but is this truly the go-to option for parents of gifted kids? Let’s explore this below.

What to Consider

According to an article by, we know that many gifted kids shine when they are interested in what they are studying, and they struggle with work that they deem is too easy, without purpose, or is too repetitive. If your teenager opts for AP classes, we suggest you consider the following:

  • Are they interested in the subject?
  • Do they enjoy reading large amounts of text and are willing to do significant amounts of independent work (think homework)?
  • Can they, and do they, want to handle a faster-paced curriculum?
  • How many AP classes should they take at once and over the duration of their high school career?
  • Are AP classes really worth it? Would a dual enrollment opportunity be better for your child?

Wondering if your child will settle in well with an AP course is normal, but studies have shown that gifted kids thrive in these courses. The Davidson Institute claims that many highly gifted children can benefit from:

  • Higher-level instruction
  • A faster-paced curriculum
  • Access to advanced materials

However, the Institute also claims that gifted children can also thrive in non-traditional school settings like homeschooling and even world schooling. The bottom line is that you’ll have to sit down and talk with your teen about how they feel about taking AP classes based on the requirements and specific courses offered. Then you can decide whether it is the right course of action for their education.

Please remember you are your child’s top support system. You are their biggest advocate and cheerleader. Understand what your child tells you, and don’t brush their concerns under the rug. They are preparing for their future, so what they have to say should be considered, and at times, even take precedent over what you believe is best for them.

Working with Us

Rice Psychology Group wants to remind you that, yes, it’s good for your child to be challenged in school, but don’t forget to let them be a kid. They should have fun, make friends, and do everything else that kids should be doing. Encourage them to attend school events or join a school club. There are so many ways for them to grow as a person that education can’t provide.

If the decision to pursue AP courses is off the table because your child can’t handle it, do not consider this a weakness. Maybe it just isn’t for them. Please allow your child to have a say in what he/she/they think is their best learning environment. Help them identify the types of classes that will excite or challenge them, where they believe they will excel both academically and socially and where they can become their best selves. Support your child and help them make their wishes become a reality if possible.

No matter what your child faces in life, it can be difficult as a parent to point them in the right direction. Our licensed psychologists and therapists in Tampa want to help you in any way we can. For more information about our services or to schedule your free, 10-minute consultation, contact us in Tampa today.

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