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Posted by: Elizabeth Frayre
Plan for the Future - Newsetter Articles
Myths about AP Classes
Things you thought you knew about AP classes
First of all, what is an AP Class? AP stands for Advanced Placement. An AP class is the most advanced course you can take at the high school level -even more advanced than honors. In order for a class to be considered AP a teacher has to prove (by completing certain requirements) that the class has the same rigor as a university course. Once you’re in the AP class your teacher will prepare you to take the AP exam in May. The exam is graded by AP teachers across the nation using a score of 1-5. Passing scores are 3 (qualified), 4 (well qualified) or 5 (extremely well qualified). The score is used by colleges and universities to determine if you will receive credit for what you’ve already learned or you will be allowed to skip that class once you are in college, otherwise known as “advanced placement”. Now that you have an idea of what AP is, here are common misconceptions about these courses.
1. You have to be “smart” to take AP classes.
False. Any student can take an AP class during high school. As long as you have the motivation to work hard in the college-level class, you are welcome to try it. Some classes are teacher recommended or your counselor may suggest them; but, in the end, if you want to take the class or classes, and you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you are allowed to sign up.
2. I took the class, but I didn’t pass the exam. What a waste of time!
False. Okay, so you took the exam, tried your best, but you didn’t pass it. You’re thinking: I should’ve taken the non-AP class. Guess what? You will still benefit from your hard work and effort. Colleges and universities appreciate the challenge and when they compare your transcript to other students who didn’t
take AP classes, you will look more favorable because you took the initiative to take on challenging course work. Also, by taking an AP class, you benefit from the extra grade point average! If you get a B in the class, your GPA will reflect an A. If you get an A, your GPA will reflect an extra point so instead of 4 points you’ll receive 5.
3. You have to pass the AP Exam to pass the class in school.
False. The grade you receive in your AP class reflects the effort and hard work you put into the class. The grade you receive on the AP exam reflects your understanding of what you learned while you were in the class. Obviously, there is a correlation between the two because if you put in a lot of effort and if you work hard while you are in class, there is a high probability that you will pass the exam.
4. The AP Exam is too expensive.
False. You’re a teenager. Anything more than twenty bucks is too expensive especially if you have to spend it on something for school. The fee for each exam is $91. That’s nothing compared to taking the same class in college where you’ll have to pay you’re your own textbooks, tuition and other costs involved with being a college student. Also, this year anyone who takes the exam will only have to pay $15 per exam! Yes, you read it right -only $15 and that’s not all… Once you take the exam, you can get back $10. So, all you’re truly paying for a college class is only $5!!! So, there’s really no excuse to not take the exam.
I’m a Freshman, Why Should I Start Worrying About College?
Being well prepared for “after” high school
You’re a freshman, you must have heard the phrase: “Time flies when you’re having fun”; well, that’s not the only time that it flies. It may be your first year of high school, but before you know it, you are planning for your high school graduation. Then, you’ll be saying to your friends: “Wow, it went by so fast!
For this reason, start thinking of your goals. Start thinking of what you might want to do after high school. When you plan, you end up having more options for yourself. If you plan to do well in your classes and to receive good grades, then you won’t have to limit your choices about which college or university to attend.
Let’s say you currently have no plan in your future that includes going to college. Maybe you plan on taking over the family business? Maybe you plan on inheriting money from a rich relative or winning the lottery? Okay, that last one might be a little far-fetched, but you get the idea. Guess what? Things change. Unfortunately, we can’t always control what happens in our lives.
What if, your family decides they need a new accountant for the family business, but since you didn’t pay much attention in your math classes or any other classes, it’s going to take you longer to get your degree because you have to make up some high school math classes in college before you are admitted into the more advanced class you need for your major. There are so many what ifs, not worth worrying about; instead, start doing your best now so you can take your future “by the horns!” In other words, so you can be in control of your future whether it’s an expected one or not because what’s worse than a “what if?” an “I should have…”
Stop by the College and Career Center in room 332 (upstairs) or the College Advisor’s Office in room 129 (main office) to get questions answered about planning for life after high school.
The College Board’s Big Future website - www.bigfuture.org
Big Future is a new link created by the College Board to help you create a plan for your future. It’s very exciting!
Visit the link and then click on the far right tab titled: Make a plan. Once there, click on the grade you are currently in and the site will guide you to create a customized plan.