We know how important your involvement is in your child's education - we also know how difficult it can be to stay on top of all of the important steps in planning and preparing for college.  

Below you'll find this month's content - LEARN (info to know), DO (action to take), and TIPS (insights for success)


LEARN

Are AP & Honors courses necessary for college admissions?

The short answer is no. However, when choosing classes, your student should enroll in the ones that are the most challenging in which he/she can still be successful. 

College admissions, as you may know, is becoming increasingly more competitive each year.  At one time, Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses were only taken by the “smartest” kids, in the top of the class who would likely be attending the elite level colleges and universities.  That's not the case anymore.  

Currently, more and more students are participating in honors and AP classes.  While some students take these courses for the wrong reasons (competition or for weighted grades), the vast majority of students benefit from taking these courses because of the skills developed and the material learned.

In many high schools, honors courses represent both a faster pace and a deeper understanding of the content covered.  Students who have great passion and interest in the subject matter often enjoy the pace and have a desire to continue to learn more.
 
AP courses are often taught more like a college course, so they are very good preparation for the level of learning and rigor that is to come.  Typical AP courses encourage students to take a national exam at the end of the course in May and, if passed successfully, they may be awarded college credit or advanced placement into a higher level college course.  The benefits to AP courses are plentiful; students can potentially graduate college early, save money, or focus on their major with a lighter course load.

So back to our original question – Do colleges really want to see these courses?  Well, colleges want to see that students have challenged themselves throughout their high school experience.  That means that if your student easily gets A’s in regular level courses, it’s probably time for them to try a step up.  

On the inverse, however, if your student is taking higher challenge courses (honors and AP) and not doing well, that challenge is likely too much.  This situation puts students at high risk of stress, poor health, and a negative perception of school and learning

Help your student assess their strengths and choose the most challenging course in which they will do well and earn a grade that is an accurate representation of their effort, abilities, and interests.  


DO

Help them pick wisely!

Now is the time to start thinking about high school courses.

Be sure to work alongside your student on choosing the right courses for HS – the courses that meet graduation requirements, college entrance requirements, and are aligned with their career ambitions. 

Partnering with them and their school counselor and teachers can help identify which areas they can handle a more challenging course and in what areas they may need extra support. 

The transition to high school is already difficult for many students, if they begin with a strong foundation of their coursework, they have a better chance of finding success throughout high school and beyond graduation.


TIP #1

Did you know that asking good questions is often a better skill than being able to answer them?  The formulation of a complex and thoughtful questions requires a depth of understanding and knowledge that our teens will need in the future.  They are still naturally curious, encourage them to ask really great questions.

TIP #2

Friends and frenemies. There is a vast difference.  Help your student understand the difference.  True friends share trust and build each other up, while frenemies knock each other down and sap their self-confidence.  Help your student avoid toxic friendships. 


Know a school that could use some college readiness support?

We also offer Student Curriculum to schools and provide Parent Education on College Planning.  Additionally, we work with schools and districts to increase the college readiness of their students.  Learn more by clicking here.