Advanced high school courses: a pain or a gain?

Chris Vega/The Lion's Roar

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Throughout high school, students are encouraged to enroll in college courses, either through Advanced Placement or Dual Enrollment classes, to get ahead. But do these programs actually help them or do they set them back?

These courses put added stress and expectation on students during high school. Sometimes the credits are not even valid at the university the student chooses to attend. However, my concern is when the credits are valid. Getting “ahead” in high school can stump your personal development. When you start college, it is not necessary to have your life figured out beforehand. You do not need to know what career you want or even what major you wish to study. You have your first year or two to figure it out while you are taking general prerequisites, right? Not necessarily. The more credits you get in high school, the less general classes you have to take, and therefore, the more pressure incoming freshmen have to pick a major.

This can lead to a few different problems later – such as changing your major multiple times, increased anxiety, higher chances of failure due to a lack of entry level courses to acclimate you to the college environment, and eventually, a delayed graduation. The average student does not graduate within four years, so any money you thought you saved by receiving early college credit is soon added to your debt as college drags on.

Not many students know themselves well, if at all, before college, so I think anything that pushes them to make decisions early in their collegiate career is not helpful. College is stressful enough, and trust me, you will have plenty existential crises before graduation. That is why freshmen should be allowed to take a moment to discover themselves before taking courses toward a degree.

College courses in high school seem like a good idea. They look good on transcripts, offer more challenging curriculum, grant college credit, and are cheaper that the average college course. However, I believe that unless you already know what you want to do with your life, it is not worth it. I do not regret taking the courses because without them, I would have definitely been bored to death. I do not think they are worth the prestige they carry, though. If you have dreams of going to a top-notch school, that’s one thing – but these courses do not effectively prepare you for college. At least, not in my experience.

College is unlike any high school class, and each college is vastly different. I think rather than preparing students for college, high school curriculum should focus more on preparing students for life. Just like how each teacher in high school was different, the same applies to college. Therefore, you cannot actually prepare anyone for college. However, if you provide the correct foundational education – such as work ethic, coping with stress, problem solving and other crucial life skills – then you can actually prepare students for anything life throws at them, inside and outside of the classroom.

                            Are AP or Dual Enrollment classes worth it in high school?

Dylan Bradley Freshman, Sports Management

“I believe that dual enrollment classes are more beneficial than AP classes because with dual enrollment, you get real college credit and with AP, you only get credit if you get a certain score on a test.”

 

Cassidy Waltman  Freshman, Nursing

“Yes because you go into college already having credit toward your degree so you get out sooner.”

 

Natalie Hollis Freshman, Elementary Education

 

“AP isn’t worth it but DE definitely is.”

 

Reece Bourgeois Freshman, Computer Science

“DE is worth it but not AP.”

 

Joshua Vath  Freshman, Nursing

“Yes, I got six hours of English credits, five of math credits, six history credits – so, I don’t have to take it here.”

 

Brianna Threeton Freshman, Communication Sciences

“Yes, it helps you prepare for college assignments and saves you time.”

 

Jordyn Avery Freshman, Political Science

“Dual is worth the time and money. AP is a waste of everyone’s time.”

 

Dalia Augustus Freshman, Nursing

“Dual enrollment classes in high school were significant because I got a few hours out of the way, so I didn’t have to take them in college.”

 

James-Avery Nolan Sophomore, Kinesiology

“Dual Enrollment classes are worth taking in high school.”

 

Mia Gibson Sophomore, History

“Yes and no because it’s supposed to prepare you but it really doesn’t because the professors are different.”