Advanced Preparation

Students taking AP classes get better preparation for college

Lajla Raske, Staff

Sophomore Sabrina Davis works in her AP human geography classroom on Feb. 2019. This class is taught by social studies teacher June Morris. Photo Credit: Karissa Lamonte

On any day, the life of a teenager may seem quite overwhelming. Whether it is keeping up on class work, expectations,
or things at home, it can feel like an intense schedule. For a student taking college-level courses, this schedule gets even more complicated.

“The challenges with taking college classes at the same time as high school is that you have to set up your own means of transportation to the college at specific times,” senior Ethan Duncan said. ”The work doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does, it is a lot. I had to do a 120 short-answer assignment on electronic systems troubleshooting.”

Ethan says an advantage is he has more opens during the semester and more free time in the afternoon. His advice for those who take college classes while in high school is to avoid procrastination because you will be doing a lot more work each day. Instead, do the work long before the deadline. Ethan is involved in the mechatronics program and involved in other college classes such as destination graduation, industrial pneumatics, and Solidworks one.

According to AP European History teacher June Morris, she starts out the year with about 100 AP students at the beginning of the first semester, but numbers drop by at least two fewer students per class in the first week. The difference between taking an AP class and a college class is that at a college, the class is three hours once a week as opposed to a 90-minute class two to three times a week.

Students begin taking college-level classes while in high school, such as AP classes, to better prepare themselves for college. They will have better skills in things such as prioritizing. AP Biology teacher Shana Hains said that her students generally get good grades like A’s and B’s because it is a topic they have interest in, making them want to take the class.

“When I check in with some students, I usually hear that they feel the work they did was hard, but it helped them understand how hard colleges are,” Morris said. “You are reading a college-level textbook. There are greater expectations, like memorizing information, and they will [have to] apply it and discuss it, and be able to understand
it.”

Morris says that students are expected to remember what they learned as far back as September. They will need the information when taking the AP exam in May or June. While some may feel the class is too difficult and drop it, others continue with the class because of the advantages they think will help them long term.

“Taking AP classes helps you prepare for college,” said sophomore Sabrina Davis. “It helps you know what to expect while in college.”

“A disadvantage is that it is harder, and a lot of people have a more difficult time keeping up with the work,” sophomore Bella Forney said, comparing AP classes to a regular high school class. “Learning is
more difficult for some students.”
Classes such as AP Chemistry offer up to 10 College Now credits. College Now is a free program which offers students
in high school the opportunity to earn credits for college while taking AP courses.

“[AP courses] look better to colleges,” said Forney. “I think it helps prepare you for college classes when you have to go to college, instead of just taking high school level classes.”

Students taking AP classes need to learn specific skills that become useful when taking the class. AP teacher Jodi Howell says one of the best traits for AP students to have is self-management. Students need to be more self-aware, increase their time management skills, prioritize things, and learn how to use resources such as Google Classroom, as well as information given by teachers.

“Starting to make [students] more self-aware and to manage their grades is huge,” Howell explains. “Having higher expectations and holding students to that [is important].”