Smart Q & A: Senior Year Honors or AP Classes?
May17

Smart Q & A: Senior Year Honors or AP Classes?

We’re kicking off our new Q&A series with a question from a current high school junior about what combination of honors vs. AP classes to take her senior year in order to remain competitive. QUESTION: “My high school is on block scheduling and I have to make a decision about what classes I want to take. I can either take 5 APs, 2 Honors, and 1 Regular or I can take 4 APs, 2 Honors, and 2 Regular. Unfortunately I do not have the option of taking 4 APs, 3 Honors, and 1 Regular. I will have Varsity tennis and college apps in the Fall semester. What should I do? I want to get into a competitive liberal arts college and my current GPA is 4.9.” ANSWER: by: Jeannie Borin, M.Ed. , founder of College-Connections It is important to understand that although GPA and a challenging curriculum are extremely important factors in an admissions decision, they are not the only ones. Many things are taken into account as well such as your activity resume, recommendations and application essays. You are undoubtedly an exceptional student and if you do well with 4 AP’s 2 Honors and 2 regular courses, you will be a viable candidate for top schools. You can handle an additional AP course if you want to gain extra college credit. This could be a factor in completing your degree earlier. Know, too, that only some Honors Courses (such as chemistry and physics) at various colleges will weight your GPA. Jeannie is a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association...

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A Higher Higher Education
Jul14

A Higher Higher Education

If you've been an honor student in high school, it's only natural to consider that option for college. When planning your campus visit, be sure to ask questions about the school's honors program or make an appointment to meet with a representative. Better yet, ask to speak with current honors program students. Corey Bobco weighs the pros and cons of honors in higher-ed below:  Are you registered for an honors class or teetering on the edge of “I’m too freakin’ lazy to challenge myself”? Before you “yay” or “nay” the big league, you need the inside info to decide if the honors track or an honors course is worth the extra work — and whether you can take the heat.    Back in the Day In high school, what generally distinguished honors (or advanced placement) courses from their standard-level counterparts was that honors classes issued more homework, required more studying and demanded more self-initiative. (But, hey, they looked damn good on your college apps!) Some high schools require a recommendation or certain GPA to get into a higher-level course. Some offer rewards for taking honors, such as a weighed GPA (on a scale of 0 to 5.0, rather than 0 to 4.0), which explains why those studious, overachievers put themselves through the pain of it all. Other high schools offer no tangible benefits besides a challenge and the risk of ruining a near-perfect GPA. In the Big League Your college will have its own unique requirements and policies regarding eligibility and grading scales, so you should definitely check that out sooner than later. One consistency: Like in high school, honors classes in college can be a hell of a lot harder than basic-level courses. So why bother? Not to sound like Mom, but you’re in college to challenge yourself. And you have little to lose, since your college grades often carry less weight than your high school grades. (That is, unless your GPA is securing financial aid, maintaining your parents’ financial support or going on your med, law or grad school applications. In such a case, take extra caution in assessing your capabilities, since risking damage to your GPA can mess up your chances of staying in school and moving on up to bigger and better.)  Clearly, honors courses differ at every school. Here are general details, pros, cons and tips: Class Size Pro: Typically, honors classes are smaller seminars with only 10 to 25 students. A small class size means you can develop a relationship with your instructor — and that he or she may actually know your name! This could prove handy when you need extra help, guidance...

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