By Marcus Hixenbaugh
February 2, 2018
Class registration season approaches. Students often struggle to think of the future while stuck in the grind of current classes. However, planning ahead pays off in more ways than one; students should make sure they take advantage of opportunities like Honors, Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment classes.
Anyone from rising freshman to soon-to-be seniors can sign up for an honors class. Honors is like an introduction to more rigorous workloads in high school. In my experience, honors does not differ much from a College Prep class, but they assign slightly more homework. I advise students to take honors classes to see if they would be up for the challenge of AP or DE.
AP classes are offered freshman through senior year, as well. Students are cautioned before signing up for them that the workload is intense. When counselors communicate this warning, they’re not exaggerating. AP classes do give your GPA a boost, though, because they add 5 points to your final class average at the end of the semester.
English department head, Mrs. Sullivan, is a resident expert on AP courses at Central. We all know that homework is important, and in most classes, homework is a big portion of our final grade. “The biggest reason students aren’t successful is because they don’t do homework,” says Ms. Sullivan. “I think it’s important to do hard things, and AP classes are hard, and…our AP students are students [who] are going to college, and college is hard.” Heed these wise words of advice from Ms. Sullivan because she knows what she’s talking about.
The final courses offered are DE or Dual Enrollment, which are classes that you can take in high school that actually give you college credit. These courses are beneficial because students can basically start their college careers in high school. In order to qualify for DE classes, a student needs to have taken the ACT and scored a 20 or higher in math and english, and have a 3.0 GPA.
Be warned, though; after your first and second DE classes, which are free, the third and fourth become more expensive. So the first two are pretty inexpensive, but the third one costs around $298 and the fourth would cost around $498.
When asked how to decide between taking an AP or DE class, Mr. Wise gave his thoughts, “If we offer the AP class here at school, and the college they’re looking at is going to accept their score on the AP test, then that’s the way to go. AP Language, which we offer here, has a high writing level and [it’s] highly recommend that students interested in English 1010 and 1020 should take it. If we offer AP here I’d rather have them take it here (as opposed to college).”
Mr. Wise is proud of the DE courses at Central due to the number of students who attempt them and gain the college credit. He says it, “shows students want to be successful and it’s up to them to be a college student while still in high school.”
Whether it’s Honors, AP, Dual Enrollment or a nice mix of the three, these classes are important to help prepare you for college. They provide a more intense workload that challenges students and makes them push their limits to be the best student they can be. Everyone should attempt to take at least one of these courses while in high school.