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Connections, K-12? What is best for AP and Honors in High School?


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First of all, why do you need AP or honors courses? Are you looking to outsource some courses and want them to be challenging? Or are you thinking you need those course designations on a high school transcript?


I've graduated 2 and neither did a single AP nor are there "honors" designations on their transcripts. For courses where they needed much more than I could provide they went to the local community college. That isn't always an option, I know, as the quality of community colleges varies widely from state to state. Here in CA the better CCs are limiting high schoolers by restricting the number of classes they can take, and course offerings are limited anyway due to budget cuts. Some homeschoolers have been able to take courses at 4 year colleges -- I hope Regentrude sees this thread and posts as I believe her daughter is taking courses at a 4 year. PA Homeschoolers offers AP classes, too. Don't know about the cost, though.


As to feeling the need for AP or Honors courses on a final transcript, well it is NOT necessary. If you are homeschooling completely independently you'll have to write out course descriptions as a part of the application process as well as the guidance counselor recommendation letter. In those extra documents you can highlight just how challenging and advanced your homeschool courses are. You can highlight how it is that your child used the unique opportunities that come with homeschooling -- having the time for internships or work or deeper research. Your child can take the AP tests or the SAT II subject tests in order to highlight and affirm the excellent and high caliber academics done at home.


Yes college admissions counselors say they want to see lots of honors and AP courses on transcripts, but that is because they want to see that the public school applicant chose the challenging courses over the standard. It is a way for admissions to compare the thousands of students from those schools. In homeschooling there is no choice in courses -- it is what we moms plan, and most of us plan very challenging courses. Admissions counselors recognize that -- we just have to highlight it, show off its uniqueness, and demonstrate that our child is ready for the traditional college experience.


One of my sons was interested only in selective liberal arts schools and the lack of AP courses and test scores on his transcript was never an issue. Many schools have admissions counselors assigned to homeschool applicants and they are used to unusual transcripts. My ds proved his academic worth through his straight A's in science and math courses at the CC, and he also was a strong prospect because of the various internships he had through his high school years. He got into his favorite with a mighty nice merit scholarship. Shoot, a long time poster here left grades off of all her homeschool courses -- there were grades on outside CC courses -- and her ds was accepted at a half dozen LACs and state flagship universities.


You will find much more on this topic over on the high school board, but in the meantime think about the reasons why and consider all the other ways in which you can challenge your student and how you can fashion a unique high school education.

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