College admissions have become extremely competitive over the years. High school students hoping to attend a top school often choose either Honors or AP classes to be better prepared. While both will help improve your chances of getting admission into a reputed college, they are not the same.
It’s important to understand the differences between the two so you can make a more informed decision about which is better for you.
What Are Honors Classes in High School?
Honors classes are almost similar to regular classes in terms of the curriculum and study material. They cover the same material but with one major difference. Where the high school curriculum covers the basics, honors classes go more in-depth into the same subject.
For example, let’s say you take honors physics. Your classes would cover the same topics included in your high school curriculum but with a deeper insight into that topic. The honors coursework will be considerably more challenging.
This means you’ll need to be prepared to set aside more time to study and complete extensive assignments. You’ll also have to work much harder to score good marks in the test.
There are two ways that honors classes prepare you for college. For one thing, the curriculum and tests are designed to help students establish better study habits and hone their test-taking skills. Secondly, the classes are fast-paced and interactive, which is different from regular high school classes but more similar to the way college classes are set up.
You need to have good grades to apply for honors classes. In addition, you will also need a teacher to support your application.
Advantages Of Taking Honors Classes
Taking honors courses is a fantastic opportunity for you to take another step further into pursuing higher education.
Honors courses follow a standard structure similar to high school. But they cover additional topics and go more in-depth with a more vigorous learning and studying routine. When Universities and high schools are in the same state, honors courses are looked at with higher regard by admissions.
Taking honors courses means a faster pace in class, more work, and tests that are more challenging. Getting straight A’s in high school is amazing work. Graduating with honors is a great way to make your college application stand out further.
What Are AP Classes in High School?
AP classes are designed as a doorway to college-level training. They give high school students a preview of what lies ahead when they attend college. The students are held to the same standard as college students and are expected to put in the work.
AP classes are more challenging than honors classes. They cover the subject matter extensively, even giving students college-level assignments.
These classes run throughout the academic year, so you’ll have to be prepared to put in a lot of study hours after school. At the end of the course, you’ll have to answer an exam. AP exams are scored on a scale of 1 – 5. Scores of 3 and above are considered passing grades.
Students across the country take the AP test once a year in May. The test consists of multiple-choice and essay questions usually lasting between two and three hours. Home-schooled students have the option of taking AP courses online from the comfort of home. The best part is that taking online AP courses are available to students who are in either public or private schools as well.
Advantages Of Taking AP Classes
Similar to being dual enrolled in college, Advanced Placement courses provide academically elite and extra motivated students with a platform to prepare to work at college level. Taking these courses does benefit you especially if your AP test scores are high.
A perk of excelling in AP classes is that most colleges offer credits to students for their impressive grades. They also give them opportunities for placement in better classes when accepted.
Some colleges make special allowances for students who have taken AP classes, sometimes even letting them bypass certain requirements. The score that is considered for college credit may differ among colleges. Most consider scores of 3 and above for college credit, while a few only consider scores of 4 and 5 for college credit.
Certain universities also allow high school students to take AP courses directly on their campus so long as they qualify by passing a placement test.
Honors vs. AP Classes: Which Is Right for You?
Choosing between the honors and AP classes can be challenging. Neither one is better than the other in all aspects. When choosing, it’s important to consider your educational goals as well as how much additional coursework you can realistically handle during the academic year.
Be especially carefully when choosing AP classes. Only choose classes in your strongest subject as these classes can be very rigorous and you’ll only benefit from them if you get excellent grades.
The good news is that most colleges give extra points to all students who’ve taken either honors or AP courses. They do not have a preference for any one of these paths over the other. Both AP and honors courses show universities that you want to explore higher levels of academics. Colleges also understand that qualifying for these classes means that your GPA is at an exceptional level.