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Difference in Honors, AP, College Prep??

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#1 Samiam

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 10:56 PM

What's going to be the huge difference in Honors, Advanced Placement or College Prep courses?

Is one going to look better over the other on a transcript?

BTW, these would be outsourced classes, so it's not me putting the label on the course, it's the school/instructor.

#2 creekland

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 06:52 AM

In my experience, colleges prefer to see AP. The big differences is that AP goes more in depth, moves more quickly, and is capped at the end (in May) by an AP test which covers material from the whole year. These courses are good for those who are up to the challenge, but not so good if a student isn't ready for them.

Many schools (but not all) will give college credit for most courses if a student scores a 4 or 5 on the exam. State schools we've come across also give credit for a 3. (Highest score is a 5.)

Since these are considered college level classes, colleges like to see them for competitive entry even if they don't offer credit for the courses. Their content is standardized and they know what is covered on the tests. This is not always true about other routes.

When visiting one top university this past summer an admissions rep told me they like to see at least a couple of AP test scores as those correlate better than GPA or ACT/SAT to how a student will do in their college. When we visited another top school this past Friday they told us their typical accepted applicant has between 2 and 7 AP courses.

For homeschoolers aiming toward higher colleges they aren't an absolute requirement, but if I had it to do over again, I'd have had my top academic guy do more than the one he did. He did still make it into the second school, but it might have affected the merit aid he'll receive as I look at all the courses his "competition" did. I don't know yet if he'll make it into the first school. I have my doubts. The competition is far stiffer there.

For colleges lower than top tier or state school there isn't quite as much competition and Honors Classes or general College Prep classes would be perfectly fine. Many students also take a "normal" class prior to taking the AP class (regular Bio before AP Bio).

#3 Heigh Ho

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 06:55 AM

The huge difference is the amount of time available for study.
Honors and college prep cover the same material, but college prep has more 'support', i.e. homework to make sure the content is digested. That leaves less time for actually learning how to study and study. Honors sometimes has more writing assignments than college prep, especially in English.
AP has a set syllabus.

The quality of the course is going to depend on the instructor.

On the transcript, the most challenging course is considered AP, then honors, then college prep.

#4 Samiam

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 12:41 PM

Thanks....exact information I was looking for!

#5 GGardner

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 12:46 PM

What's going to be the huge difference in Honors, Advanced Placement or College Prep courses?

Is one going to look better over the other on a transcript?

BTW, these would be outsourced classes, so it's not me putting the label on the course, it's the school/instructor.


The advantage of the AP test is that it is a known quantity to colleges. "Honors", "College Prep", or even Community College classes have no standards, so it is hard for a college to tell what's really going on there, especially if the college doesn't have much experience with that particular course.

However, I would say that AP classes without the corresponding AP test look suspicious.

#6 Barbara H

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 12:59 PM

The flip side is that college classes suggests your homeschooler can play with others and function in a classroom environment. For those who still fuss over the socialization of homeschoolers, this can be a helpful boost.



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