Ambitious Students Strive for Excellence

One of the “Grad at Grad” attributes that St. Joseph’s Prep looks to instill in its students is for them to become Academically Ambitious. One area of our overall student experience where this proves evident is the Prep’s thriving Advanced Placement courses, where our young men accept the challenge of completing college-level work. Upon enrolling in one or more of our twenty-one Advanced Placement courses, they join other qualified students across the United States in this academically ambitious endeavor and sit for the College Board’s cumulative exams in May. 

In 2022-23, 475 students took 955 AP exams, nearly doubling the same number from a decade ago. Of that group, 149 were named AP Scholars, with 47 earning distinction and 32 with honor. These numbers are all higher than the Pennsylvania and National averages. 

“The continuing growth and success of our AP program is a wonderful indication of how our students want to push themselves to high levels in the classroom,” says Andy Cavacos, Principal. “It’s notable as well that while the number of those taking AP tests is rising, so too is the number of those achieving notable recognition for their learning and performance. Academic ambition and challenge is not limited to teachers and students enrolled in these courses alone, as the entire program, grades 9-12, supports and prepares students to succeed in college-level work, both now and in the future. Further, AP courses are complemented by diverse, challenging, and engaging electives that our faculty have crafted as a result of our years-long curriculum review.”

In 2003-24, the Prep anticipates administering more than 1,000 AP exams for the first time in school history. This is partly because of the addition of AP courses in Art, Pre-Calculus, French, German, and Physics I (algebra-based).

“We have seen a great desire from our students to expand our offerings,” Cavacos says. “I am grateful to our faculty and academic council for their willingness to offer new AP courses that challenge our students.”

AP Scholar Awards Breakdown (149 total)
  • AP Scholar: scores of 3-5 on three or more AP Exams (79)
  • AP Scholar with Honor: an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams (32)
  • AP Scholar with Distinction: an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams (47)