A college prep course is a course specifically designed for students planning on attending college after high school. Though some of your classmates may take general education classes that meet the minimum requirements for graduation in your state, prep courses are more involved and more in-depth. These courses address some of the same topics you would study in college and help you understand the importance of developing proper study habits and effectively managing your time. Even if your school does not offer prep courses, you may have the chance to take some of these classes.
College Level Work
According to Peterson’s, a survey found that students have a better chance of getting into college when they take prep courses as part of a demanding high school curriculum. A college prep course will generally require more in the way of work than an ordinary course will. These classes often cover topics and give you a better understanding of subjects and classes you’ll take in college. You may need to work with teachers after school, or you may need to complete a high level of independent work outside of the classroom.
Types of Subjects
There is a slight difference between advanced placement courses and prep courses. Advance placement courses, also known as AP classes, are classes that you take in lieu of introductory courses in college. At the end of your course, you’ll take a test. Depending on how well you score on that test, you may have the option of skipping the introductory course on that topic as a freshman in college. Prep courses teach you the skills that you need in AP classes. You might take an introduction to algebra course before taking algebra and trigonometry or a course designed to teach you strong reading and writing skills before taking advanced English classes.
Online Courses are Available
A common complaint among some parents is that the schools their children attend do not offer prep and advanced placement courses. If your school does not offer either option, you can take classes online. These online classes ask you to do a large amount of work on your own and that you develop a specific skill set before moving to an advanced class. Make sure that you talk with your principal or advisor to determine if you can gain school credit for any classes you take online.
Higher GPA Weight
One thing many students do not realize is that a college prep course may carry a higher weight in regards to his or her grade point average. Most schools use a 4.0 scale. Earning a perfect 4.0 means that you received a grade of “A” in all your classes. The school determines your GPA based on the grades you received divided by the number of classes you took. Some prep and advanced placement courses are worth an extra point on that scale. Taking these classes may let you graduate with a GPA above 4.0, even if your school uses a traditional grading scale.
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Courses designed for students entering college allow them to learn skills that will help them in the future. Those courses teach you the fundamentals, including how to organize your thoughts and use your thoughts effectively. Even if your school doesn’t offer these courses on campus, you can develop the same skills in an online college prep course.