Taking college prep courses in high school is one of the many ways a student can prepare for college. For an overview of all the college preparatory options available to students today, read our “What is College Prep?” blog.
College prep courses are designed to prepare students for colleges and universities. Students who take college prep courses have a head start in college by being well-prepared before they even get there.
Students might take these challenging academic courses in high school to position themselves well for college and stand out from other applicants during the admissions process.
What are the different types of college prep courses?
Honors courses are more challenging than regular high school classes but less intense than AP or IB courses. Educators designed these courses for strong students looking to challenge themselves, but aren’t ready for AP or IB classes.
The curriculum in honors classes is usually broad rather than deep. This provides a solid foundation for students who plan on going into that subject as a major in college.
However, unlike AP and IB courses, honors courses do not typically count for college credit.
AP courses cover material taught in the first two years of college and they provide high school students with an early jump on that material. AP courses are designed like college courses. If you take AP classes in high school and get a good score on the corresponding exam, then you can earn college credit for that course.
AP classes can help students learn more material faster, and they’re a good way to find out whether you like the subject before committing to it as a major in college.
IB courses follow an international curriculum. Students often take them as part of the IB Diploma. These courses can be more rigorous than honors or AP courses.
IB programs place a heavy emphasis on creative, critical thinking about global topics. This is why they are particularly useful for students looking to pursue a major with an international element in college.
Just like the AP classes, students who score well on the IB exams often receive college credit.
How to Pick the Right College Prep Courses for You
If you’re a high school student who wants to take college prep courses, the first thing you should do is create a plan that fits your interests and goals.
Your high school guidance counselor is a great place to start. If you know what subjects you want to take, they can help you select courses and explain how colleges will accept them.
It’s also completely fine if you don’t know what you want to major in. College preparation courses may help you discover new interests and decide which ones you like the most.
If your counselor can’t help you, they can point you toward someone who can. This may include college admissions websites that map out their requirements and preferred qualifications, other students and teachers at school, and current college students.
The Learning Team also offers support to high school students looking into college prep. We offer college advising to help you decide which courses are right for you. In addition, we offer one-on-one tutoring to help support you as you take these more challenging courses.
As you can see, college prep courses in high school can help students in many ways. By preparing for college now, students can save time and money down the line. If you’re thinking about taking college prep courses, contact The Learning Team today to learn more about how we can help you.