High school is a perfect opportunity to challenge yourself and prepare for college admissions, unless you want to be the “typical” teenager whose only challenges come from Xbox games (which can be very challenging, mind you).
The best way to better yourself and improve your chances of getting into college? Take Honors, AP, and/or IB classes.
Honors classes, AP (Advanced Placement), and IB (International Baccalaureate) are tougher than the average high school class, both in content learned and speed in which they are taught. They can shift your high school experience from being one long nap to an ideal stepping stone for your college, career, and life.
The differences between these types of classes are simple. Honors classes move at a quicker pace than regular classes, usually involving additional topics covered in greater depth. AP and IB classes, on the other hand, are college-level classes, which are identical if not more rigorous than college classes. These two types also give you college credit if you score high enough on the final exams.
But why would you want to put so much extra effort into your four years? We’ve put together a list of 5 reasons why these classes are worth it.
Reasons to Take Honors & AP Classes
#5: Learn More Interesting and Worthwhile Subjects
In regular high school classes, the majority of what is taught is just enough to keep students awake and competent in the real world. But that changes with these advanced classes.
Honors classes give students a broader scope and more critical analysis of the subject, learning topics that might otherwise go ignored. AP and IB courses feature more challenging subjects, such as European History.
You also have the opportunity to study these unique subjects with other like-minded students, which enriches your education experience. If you’re a student that is bored by the minimum, enroll in these classes pronto.
#4: Prepare Yourself for College
I don’t have to tell you that college is immensely different from high school. You’re on your own, and someone will never be there looking over your shoulder to make sure that you’re doing your work.
Honors, AP, and IB classes ready you for these new responsibilities and workload that might otherwise go unchecked. Many students drop out of college even in their first year because they can’t handle the adjustment of high school classes to college classes. You can improve your writing and problem-solving skills and develop effective studying techniques while in high school because you’ll already be working at the same caliber.
#3: Challenge Yourself
According to The College Board, only about 17% of all U.S. students from the class of 2010 completed high school with a successful AP experience, and that’s a vast improvement from 10 years ago. But the question is, if you have any ambition to succeed, wouldn’t you want to be a part of that group?
Clifford Adelman from the U.S. Department of Education said that studies have shown that the rigor of a student’s high school curriculum is the single best predictor of success in college. I’m pretty sure that you want to succeed in college, and there is nothing more rigorous than honors, AP, and IB classes.
#2: Save Money
This might be #1 for some people, but I’m keeping it at #2. With a high enough grade on your AP or IB exams, you earn college credit that can take semesters off your college career. The exams cost a fee, yes, but that’s nothing compared to the future savings in your educational career. Colleges vary on how many credits they give for your score (a 4 or 5 on your exam usually gives you credit, and many schools also give credits for a 3), and some scores can earn you 8 or more credits.
Honors classes, while not giving you college credits, are nothing to be scoffed at; by readying you for the difficult collegiate path, you can do better in your future because of your high school classes.
#1: Make a Good Impression Before Your First Impression
I’m pretty sure if you’ve read this far, you don’t need any more convincing, but let me give you the best reason of all: you’re more likely to get into the college that you want.
Enough emphasis cannot be put on honors, AP, and IB classes in terms of importance to college admissions officers. Before you’ve even started looking for colleges, in your first year of high school, you can build up your transcript for the future college of your dreams.
According to The College Board, admissions officers are not impressed by straight A’s when they are all earned in easy courses. Research continually shows that students who score a 3 or higher in their AP exams are more likely to succeed in college than their non-AP peers. Dan Saracino, assistant provost for enrollment at the University of Notre Dame, said, “Nothing is more important than the quality of the course load.”
If that’s not reason enough to take these classes, I don’t know what is.