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But even as some college department heads downgrade the value of APs, admissions officers continue to regard them as a hallmark of the student who enjoys a challenge. "If the school offers APs, we expect that the students are taking them," says Marilee Jones, dean of admissions at M.I.T.
"This is not a case of whoever has the most APs wins," insists Stanford director of undergraduate admissions Anna Marie Porras. But as kids like Adam Capulong and Nayla Scaramello know, it certainly doesn't hurt. This fall 424 students at McNair Academic signed up for AP courses. That's three-quarters of the student body. •