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AP Credits didn't quite help like we thought


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DD got home from college orientation today. He said his AP Bio & Chem were basically worthless. Obviously the knowledge is not wasted, but we could have saved the child some stress & saved some $$.

 

He's in a pre-med major. We were told by an advisor (prior to the chem test) they would at least count as elective credits. Today, he was told they do nothing.

 

Not sure how we could have prevented this, and I suppose if he changes majors the value of those classes could change.

 

Just thought I'd pass this along in case it will help anyone else!

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He was told they are 'redundant' credits. He's not the best verbal communicator & he's tired after & a bit frustrated. Do you think that means its tied to the pre-med major?

 

The advisor he met with today is the dean of the honors college, who apparently advises all pre-med honors kids. Would you get involved, or just let him handle it?

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We went through something similar. Ds had AP Biology and did get credit for it BUT it was to his advantage to take the intro biology course in case he ever wanted to go to med school. It's med school that wants to see the course on the transcript as I understand it. Same goes for Chem. As parents we were spilt on this but I felt that it was important to get the fundamentals cemented and to get college lab experience too. Eight credits in Biology are down the drain and ds was less than thrilled about the wasted effort but I contend that it will serve him well regardless. Sorry for the frustration this has caused. Sounds like the advisor is looking out for your son though.

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Redundant? Did he take a course at a college or something as well? Or another advanced standing exam?

 

I could see disallowing them entirely, but redundant sounds like he's already got something counting for those credits and can't count them twice.

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I am very surprised to read of your experience.

 

At the same time, though, I never have understood that any college is obligated to issue course credit for a good AP exam score. What does the college catalogue say about customary policy? or the college website?

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Yeah, that's been the experience of most of my friends. APs counted as random credits, but often not towards anything they needed, and they often had to retake classes. Most of my friends in college (last couple of years) regretted stressing about them so much.

 

As for pre-med, most medical schools don't accept AP credit for pre-requisites in science and some not at all, so that could explain it. My husband is a second year med student, and we just went through this. We got to spend an extra couple of semesters in undergrad to get the right credits, so I got to learn about all about that the fun way.

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There was more to the story...it's the med school he's hoping to go to that won't accept the AP credits, as MeaganS (above) mentioned.

 

And, I do faintly remember seeing posts warning people about med school requirements, so many 'senior year' things going on at the time, it didn't click what they were saying.

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It probably helped him with admissions. That's the main thing.

It shows drive, initiative, and competence.

The credit is really not that important compared to those other things.

 

Maybe there is an honors track at college that this will help prepare him better for. That's what happened to me. I did well on the AP Chem test and was told that I could either skip the first quarter of freshman chem, or just go into honors freshman chem. I decided on honors, and it worked out great. It was well worth it! The AP Chem helped me get into my major and also helped me to get a scholarship.

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Yeah, that's been the experience of most of my friends. APs counted as random credits, but often not towards anything they needed, and they often had to retake classes. Most of my friends in college (last couple of years) regretted stressing about them so much.

 

As for pre-med, most medical schools don't accept AP credit for pre-requisites in science and some not at all, so that could explain it. My husband is a second year med student, and we just went through this. We got to spend an extra couple of semesters in undergrad to get the right credits, so I got to learn about all about that the fun way.

Hm. That does make sense.

 

Different example but same transcript issue: My husband applied for a PA program in 2005 and was told he would have to re-take the Anatomy & Physiology and other science classes. He graduated with a B.S. in Kinesiology. But his transcript had the classes in question over 20+ years ago. The college had the policy none of those courses should be more than 6 years ago. He would have had to take an entire year as an undergrad before being accepted to the graduate program for PAs.

 

Always check with the college -- is the moral of this story? It does sound like the college advisor is looking out for the OP's son? So sorry this happened.

Edited by tex-mex
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Edited to add that I just realized there was a 2nd page where my point was understood already. Sorry! Too early in the morning to be 100% on track I suppose...

 

As was reported before by another poster (just don't want it lost):

 

MED SCHOOLS do not want AP Bio or Chem credit given!!! This has been drilled into us by EVERY college we've been in contact with.

 

IF your son accepts AP credit (and the college is WISELY not allowing this), he's got a nick on his application to med school. Considering the last stats showed more than 42,000+ students applying for 18000+ slots med school is VERY competitive. You don't want ANY nicks.

 

Med schools DO NOT consider AP to be the same level as a 4 year college class. Maybe sometimes they are. If so, the classes will be an easy A and will help the GPA. That's a plus. ;)

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We are a very pro-AP family. 13 AP exams taken so far, two more next year, and probably 3-4 more after that. The College Board is used to a steady influx of money from our bank account.

 

So why do my kids keep on doing AP classes? Why have they taken so maany AP exams?

 

1) The content of the classes. The coursework of an AP class is rigorous, and through several online providers we have found some excellent teachers and classes. For my kids, in high school an AP class was the next step in their education.

 

If AP classes were not available, I probably would have looked into having my kids take more classes at the local 4-year college, but that gets EXPENSIVE in a hurry.

 

2) College admissions / outside verification. Having a 5 or several 5's on a transcript provides additional "outside verification" that a student's education was truly rigorous. Strong AP scores strengthen a student's application.

 

3) College credit. Perhaps the least valuable reason my kids do AP courses is the question of college credit. We chose AP in order to provide my kids with a great high school education. At no point were we focusing on trying to get them through college quicker.

 

That said, my kids did find their good AP scores useful. My older two kids both attend an top-20 LAC that does give credit for many (though not all) 5's on AP exams. Because of their AP policy, my dd1 was able to get a double degree with an additional minor and ds1 is hoping to be able to triple major. Without their AP credits allowing them to be exempt from some gen ed requirements, they never couldn't do this!

 

Note -- at my kids' college, a 5 on the AP chemistry or biology exam will fulfill the science gen ed requirement, but pre-meds and students majoring in the sciences are not allowed to use their science AP scores to pass out of the core freshman science classes.

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We won't get credit in a school here - but have done them for admission purposes and all the "rigor" reasons Gwen listed (Ahah - I knew there was a reason I put you in that category).

 

My ds would gladly redo his AP classes he enjoyed them so much and was so challenged.

 

Joan

Edited by Joan in Geneva
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Yep, that doesn't surprise me. I do AP mainly to prove rigor and give them a chance to do college level work. I knew that AP Stats would not count for his major. They have to take a harder stats. But to me, this was REALLY good prep for that class. I also know that his AP Physics and AP Calculus won't count when he is a senior because he will have to take 3 semesters of physics in college and 3 semesters of Calculus, so I wouldn't want him to skip a basic class that he needs for a higher level. But hopefully he will find them easier. I guess my whole purpose is not to acrue as many hours as possible, but to make the transition easier.

 

Christine

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Gwen, you make excellent points, and I agree with all of them.

 

Because of their AP policy, my dd1 was able to get a double degree with an additional minor and ds1 is hoping to be able to triple major. Without their AP credits allowing them to be exempt from some gen ed requirements, they never couldn't do this!

 

Of the various AP courses my ds took, he had two APs that he got no credit for, and one that he could have used for credit, but took again in college because he was so interested in it. The APs that he did not get credit for provided him with a strong foundation for college-level work. The APs that he DID get credit for are giving him "breathing room" to graduate in four years, while still being able to take elective "enrichment" courses outside his major -- and potentially double major. Without the APs he would have a much more narrowly focused, higher credit-hour course load. So APs are of value in different ways.

 

It is very helpful to be reminded of the med school provisos about AP, for those (not us -- so I never paid attention to this) who want to go the pre-med route.

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Yikes - I double posted! :o So I will delete and add something else. I know that some colleges will not grant credit for both AP English courses -- so that is something to consider if AP credit is a priority in your AP or no-AP decision in high school. Even though the school my ds is attending did not give him credit for AP Lit (with a 4), I have no doubt that the course stretched him -- and gave him a strong underpinning for success in college. Even without the credit, we would include AP Lit if we had it to do over again.

 

If credit is a priority, check with the school. Some do not give credit for both AP English courses -- only one. Having just taken a week-long course with AP English teachers, this is a state of affairs that many teachers bemoan, as some of their brightest students opt out of one of the two AP English classes in their school. In some schools if not enough students "sign up" for AP English, it is not taught. And some schools have had to drop one AP English or the other in a given year.

Edited by Brigid in NC
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APs are never a waste of time in my opinion! My kids took many APs and didn't get credit for a single one, but they got into great schools.

 

Yup - it is my kid's seven APs that helped make him stand out and got him great merit aid at several schools. He has been given maximum general credit at the school he is at now (so he counted as a sophomore halfway through freshman year) and thanks to the heavy writing content of the three AP History classes (plus the two AP English) has been more than capable of doing excellent in college. He is not allowed to take the usual 100-level history class to fulfill one of the general requirements since he has so many APs,(he must take a higher level, more interesting class! no hardship there ;-) and was able to skip the most basic of Bio classes due to AP Bio. He will still have two full years of college chemistry and at least 10 bio. classes so if he decides on trying for med school, should be ok.

 

I think the preparation for college-level work a kid gets from an AP class makes it worth every bit of bother and cost. Getting college credit is just icing on the cake...if you get it.

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Just for the record -

 

We've heard that community college classes won't work for med school either.

And AP classes or community classes might not work for engineering school or other medical or technical majors.

And you might not WANT them to work. It might turn out that most of the incoming freshman class took AP calc so the freshman calc class covers more and if you DON'T take it, you will have gaps.

 

No direct experience with any of this, but this is what has been said here on the board when the subject comes up.

 

-Nan

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We are a very pro-AP family. 13 AP exams taken so far, two more next year, and probably 3-4 more after that. The College Board is used to a steady influx of money from our bank account.

 

So why do my kids keep on doing AP classes? Why have they taken so maany AP exams?

 

1) The content of the classes. The coursework of an AP class is rigorous, and through several online providers we have found some excellent teachers and classes. For my kids, in high school an AP class was the next step in their education.

 

If AP classes were not available, I probably would have looked into having my kids take more classes at the local 4-year college, but that gets EXPENSIVE in a hurry.

 

2) College admissions / outside verification. Having a 5 or several 5's on a transcript provides additional "outside verification" that a student's education was truly rigorous. Strong AP scores strengthen a student's application.

 

3) College credit. Perhaps the least valuable reason my kids do AP courses is the question of college credit. We chose AP in order to provide my kids with a great high school education. At no point were we focusing on trying to get them through college quicker.

 

That said, my kids did find their good AP scores useful. My older two kids both attend an top-20 LAC that does give credit for many (though not all) 5's on AP exams. Because of their AP policy, my dd1 was able to get a double degree with an additional minor and ds1 is hoping to be able to triple major. Without their AP credits allowing them to be exempt from some gen ed requirements, they never couldn't do this!

 

Note -- at my kids' college, a 5 on the AP chemistry or biology exam will fulfill the science gen ed requirement, but pre-meds and students majoring in the sciences are not allowed to use their science AP scores to pass out of the core freshman science classes.

 

 

:iagree: My son is going to be pre-med, and this will be our path.....credit is the least of our concerns....

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A bunch of ap exams which won't gain college credit seems like an awfully $$$ way to show rigor. It also seems a cute dodge by colleges who just want more $ per student.

 

 

My dh was premed and on scholarship. His AP credits were key. He ended up a PhD in molecular phys with a specialty in endocrine systems.

 

I find it very interesting that AP classes are not being used for their intended purpose but rather to pad the resume. Very disappointing.

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I took a bunch of AP exams in high school 30+ years ago plus the SAT and ACT. The first college I went to let me out of freshman English, two semesters of biology, two semesters of math, and various other courses to the point that I went in as a sophomore. This was a mid-range private school.

 

Then I transferred to a tech state school. They accepted my liberal arts credits except for the freshman English, but gave only elective credit for all of the science and math. They wanted me to take freshman English there, but I negotiated with them and got those waived by taking technical writing at another state college during the summer before I started there. Because I got an "A" in that, they waived freshman English but made it very clear that it was an unusual case. I had to retake all of the freshman calculus, biology, chemistry, etc. courses.

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And AP classes or community classes might not work for engineering school or other medical or technical majors.

And you might not WANT them to work. It might turn out that most of the incoming freshman class took AP calc so the freshman calc class covers more and if you DON'T take it, you will have gaps.

 

This was a big concern of ours, because if your kids have taken a number of APs and CC classes in high school and are moving on to a 4-year college, they are likely to be taking some classes with sophomores -- maybe even juniors in some instances. The freshman year is challenging in so many ways -- this scenario is definitely something to consider. In our experience (of one! :)) we did not find that our ds needed to back up to fill gaps. We talked to the CC instructor who had taught ds Calc 1-3, and he was adamant that the instruction was on par with the 4-yr university. He shared with us that he had had many students who transitioned smoothly and successfully from CC to math classes to the local university without backing up and re-taking courses. We evaluated the possibility of re-taking each AP/CC course on a case by case basis (and will do that again with ds2). We found it very helpful and reassuring to get input and learn of the experiences of others who had similar CC courses and then had gone on to the particular university my ds is attending. So we found no downside (or backing up) in CC Calc, chem, and physics.

 

My impression in talking with some public school mom-friends is that using AP courses to skip college courses is a very REAL concern for them. Some kids we know have had extremely weak AP instructors in high school (one shared with his class that he earned a 1 on the AP Chem exam).

Edited by Brigid in NC
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My impression in talking with some public school mom-friends is that using AP courses to skip college courses is a very REAL concern for them. Some kids we know have had extremely weak AP instructors in high school (one shared with his class that he earned a 1 on the AP Chem exam).

 

Their annual report is so glowing on the number of AP classes and students who take them, but they don't report scores. So one day I called and the poor counsellor I talked to admitted that they rarely have anything above a "3."

 

And I've made enough inquiries about the major my oldest is considering to know that we'll probably have to bypass the community college where I'm a professor and go straight to a 4-year school even though the classes do transfer on paper. There are only so many slots apparently with almost none reserved for transfers.

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Just for the record -

 

We've heard that community college classes won't work for med school either.

And AP classes or community classes might not work for engineering school or other medical or technical majors.

And you might not WANT them to work. It might turn out that most of the incoming freshman class took AP calc so the freshman calc class covers more and if you DON'T take it, you will have gaps.

 

No direct experience with any of this, but this is what has been said here on the board when the subject comes up.

 

-Nan

 

My daughter had her BC Calc score accepted for credit with no problem at an engineering school. (She's also done fine in the following math courses.)

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My dh and I just spent considerable time researching policy at a variety of schools

 

Hampden Sydney

William and Mary

Wash U

Harvard

University of Cincinnati med school.

 

What has been said about AP credit transfer, med school admittance, and etc here doesn't really fully express what we found in looking at each school.

 

I hope no one happening upon this thread later takes opinions and thoughts here to be gospel bc many of the statements are misleading or incorrect.

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I hope no one happening upon this thread later takes opinions and thoughts here to be gospel

:iagree:

A very good point. Every school and every student situation is different. We all need to be careful and double check for ourselves. What I share is my own family's specific experience with specific schools. I would hate for someone to take my input and find themselves going down a path that is wrong for their student and situation. :)

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I certainly appreciate everyone taking the time to comment. Your comments gave me the right questions to ask, to get the whole story from ds.

 

Another mom & I had been considering some AP classes for our current 10th graders & this has given me good perspective. My reasons had been too narrow.

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DD applied to 12 universities and was accepted at all 12. She is a pre-med student and took two science AP's to show that as a homeschooler she had mastered high school level science at more than a basic level...that she would be able to handle college level science. At not one single university was college credit offered and had it been offered, she would not have accepted it.

 

Med schools, pharmacy schools, and advanced nursing programs all SCRUTINZE college transcripts. As Creekland said, you do not want any nicks on your record. This is also true we've heard, though we can't say from first hand knowledge, of engineering schools and other STEM departments.

 

Do not count on Ap's for anything but demonstrating and ability to do the work and being an excellent student with stellar study habits.

 

Ds is looking at MIT and MTU (we are leaning MTU because it's in state, has a great reputation, and is much more affordable - he'll have better medical insurance coverage on our plan if he stays in state) and though MTU is not as difficult to get into (they cater to the geek who didn't jump all the hoops but has demonstrated potential through science fairs, entrepreneurial pursuits, inventions, etc.) and though they like to see AP's on transcripts, they will not give him credit for them either.

 

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND, though it is a huge drag to have to do it, that you have a feel for what your child may want to pursue as a grown up and begin researching it in 9th grade so you will not be blind-sided four years later, or regret decisions or money spent on something that ended only in frustration. If your child is likely to go into a field in which a lot of AP's would not be of assistance getting into the program, then skip the time and energy put into them and work on something else. If your child is STEM oriented and needs them to demonstrate mastery of content but will not be getting credit, then choose wisely so that you don't overload that child with AP's to the exclusion of the pursuit of other skills.

 

In dd's case, we could have made room for one more AP her senior year, but it would have taken up some of the time she spent volunteering at free medical clinics and health screenings. The recommendations she received from the doctors and nurses she worked with were worth FAR more than another AP exam and a testing date that meant she wouldn't be available to help at a pediatric health screening for low income, uninsured families. She demonstrated her science abilities with the two science AP's and that was enough.

 

Faith

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Just for the record -

 

We've heard that community college classes won't work for med school either.

 

-Nan

 

They generally do not. Even if one does 2 years at a cc, then transfers to a 4 year school, med schools prefer to see all the med school pre-req's taken at the 4 year school. They do not care about other credits (where those come from or other AP classes/credits). With the MCAT changing format in 2015, there are likely to be far more pre-reqs in the very near future.

 

And, it's not a hard and fast "rule" except at some med schools (like WUSTL - it's in black and white on their FAQ paper they gave us earlier this month). Some med schools just see them as "nicks" - a point against an applicant. With the competitive nature of med school admittance these days, I, personally, don't want my son to have any nicks that we are responsible for.

 

Other AP credits? Fine. AP Bio or Chem credits? Schools are VERY wisely telling pre-med students to not go that route. Some suggest not accepting AP Calc too. WUSTL (regular U, not med school) does give credit for 4 or 5 on AP exams, but not Bio and Chem for pre-meds - just like the OP.

 

Note too that med school applications will have ALL college level course grades on them - even dually enrolled grades. (Hearsay from cc, but no reason not to believe the source.) GPA counts for a lot.

 

My concern is that people don't recognize what med schools prefer and unintentionally get nicks. There will always be minimum requirements, but preferences - just like with admittance to many 4 year schools - often go above and beyond minimum requirements when things get competitive. Fortunately, it seems many undergraduate colleges have good pre-med advisers.

Edited by creekland
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Our experience?

 

Anything your child isn't going to pursue in college, they can test out of without too many problems.

A STEM major? Test out of English and history.

An English major? Test out of calculus and chemistry.

 

Here's the rub: if you're going for engineering at a competitive school, you want to demonstrate proficiency in the math and the sciences by nailing 5's. But you need to understand the game: someone has raised the bar, so you are trying to get your hinder over the bar. You might not want to use your accomplishment after you've earned the trophy. But guess what? You can test out of history and literature by taking an AP class that will hog your whole week so you won't have the time to do anything distinctive in engineering during your junior year....

 

And if you want to be a history major, you can take AP calculus in high school to fulfill your math requirement for college... because you're really good at math. That's why you want to be a history major. :confused:

 

Seems like the idea of "resting on your oars" gets lost somewhere in the panic to be all things to all men. If you're a tax attorney who paints like the guy in this video, you'll be fine....

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dVXpt0nHSk&feature=related

 

Stand with one foot each on nine separate islands, folks. Do it all. But don't break a sweat. We like our applicants to be bright, cheerful, enthusiastic, unruffled, and content to resize their box to match the system....even if the box is so big, the kid looks ridiculous in it! ;)

 

Read Crazy U. Really. Great book (but I repeat myself.....)

 

Seriously though, don't get too worked up about the whole thing. Shoot for what makes sense. And like the guy in the video, with a reasonable amount of effort, things do come together in the end.....;)

 

 

Peace,

Janice

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So I'm not the only sap who started welling up at the end?

 

I read the book cover-to-cover in a couple of hours; I felt such a huge amount of relief: so I'm NOT crazy. Everything that I scratched my head about really does make no sense.

 

What a relief! So my eyes started to glisten.

 

But then I slammed the book shut, shoved it back into the library bag, and picked up the next thing on my to-do list. Until later - when I reflected on that too. That's what it will feel like to drop this kid off in the fall and drive away. Done. Slam. Done. NEXT! (no :001_huh:) It made me want to scream.

 

Logic dictates. But then the heart responds.

 

Peace,

Janice

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That is actually what I am trying to do with my boys, sort of. I had my math/science guy take that SAT II American history partly to prove rigor and partly because Baylor will let you place out of history with a good score. He's taking AP Government this year for the same reason. His AP Chemistry should count as well. Now his AP Stats from last year and then AP CALC and AP Physics from senior year won't count for credit. His Spanish should count at the CC. Trying to see, but it looks like Baylor won't give English credit for my local CC. Still trying to confirm that. He'll take it there or do AP.

 

I plan to have my history/literature loving child try to take CLEP or CC for his math and science. I'm hoping he won't have to take math in college, but we'll see. He has no idea what he wants to major in right now.

 

I know you were making fun, but this really has been my strategy. I'm thinking my math/science guy should have a good 30 humanity credits by the time he goes to college.

 

Christine

 

Christine

Our experience?

 

Anything your child isn't going to pursue in college, they can test out of without too many problems.

A STEM major? Test out of English and history.

An English major? Test out of calculus and chemistry.

 

 

Peace,

Janice

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Anything your child isn't going to pursue in college, they can test out of without too many problems.

A STEM major? Test out of English and history.

An English major? Test out of calculus and chemistry.

 

 

I can see why you say this, but I'm not sure I agree. So much depends on the kid.

 

We didn't focus on trying to get our kids out of college classes. We focused on providing our kids with the absolute best high school education we could, and we are letting the college credit chips fall where they may.

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