My daughter is a freshman this year fulfilling a desire she had at a young age to be a wolverine like her mom and dad. I do think taking her to Michigan football games at a young age had something to do with it, too. She remembers very clearly that she was at the first overtime game ever at the Big House.
Anyway, AP courses are important to demonstrate a willingness to take an academic challenge and those courses really do prepare kids for college. I took 0 AP classes back in the day. My daughter placed out of two semesters of chemistry, a semester of calc, needed to take one semester of spanish to fulfill her language requirement. She is taking freshman physics and it's just like what she did in high school, so it's easy for her while it kicked my butt. She's taking organic chemistry and it seems easy to her. Proves the point. AP classes get you ready to meet the challanges of college academics.
Contributing to the university and being involved can only help. I've been a steady contributor to the Engineering school fund (not big $$, just contribute annually), stay in touch with the engineering alumni office, attend alumni events on homecoming weekend, and made sure they knew about my daughter's interest in attending Michigan. She met the dean of the Engineering school, took tours, got to see what it was all about when she was a sophmore in high school. She got her application in early and received her acceptance letter on Dec. 20th or something like that. Oh, yes, she's in LS&A right now, but I anticipate a transfer to Biomedical Engineering soon. The apple never falls far from the tree.
Good luck. You have a long journey ahead and who knows what will happen, but football saturdays do help.