Step 1: Academic Planner

It is never too early to start planning for the college admission process. The earlier you start, the better off you will be because you will be ahead of the game from all your classmates. FRESHMAN year is not the year to slack off! To be a successful college candidate, you start working hard from the beginning.
 
Colleges look at your transcripts from ninth grade. Try to maintain the highest grades possible as this will affect your GPA (grade point average) and class rank (% or number school provides you based on classes you take and grades received in those classes). This is something colleges will strongly consider. 
 
Enrolling in AP & Honors Course
 
 To be honest, I never knew what an honor or AP class was when I was a high school Freshman, I thought college prep was the most rigorous class you could take. I actually found out from some of my friends when I heard about this honors course. 
 
With that said, do not think that enrolling in all easier classes which are called college prep in some high schools and receiving straight A’s will get you into Harvard.  From the start of high school, try to enroll in Advance Placement (AP) courses and honor courses
 
What the heck is Honors Courses & AP?
 
 Honors courses are more intense and done at a quicker pace compared to college preparatory classes. These courses are harder than college preparatory classes but easier than AP classes or can be as rigorous as an AP course. It really just depends on the teacher!

AP also known as Advanced Placement, is offered by College Board (I will explain what College Board is in other blog posts) which are courses that are rigorous and follow the college standard curricula.

   Okay, so what does this mean?! 

Pretty much AP are classes taken in high school, and towards the end of the course,  students are offered the opportunity to take an examination. Each examination there is a fee you will need to pay for.  Depending on how well you do on the examination, you can submit your scores to institutions you are applying to and can receive college credit.

AP Scores? What does that mean?!

Scores range from 1-5 by 1 being the lowest score to 5 being the highest. Some institutions accept the score of 3 or higher while others accept AP scores of 4 or 5. Each institution has their own guidelines on which scores are accepted.

Why should enroll in these courses?

 
Push yourself in your academics, but not too hard since that will be unhealthy for your mental state. AP courses and honor courses can increase stress level, but the key here is an effort! 

Are enrolling in these courses going to make me go insane?
Now, if you think you can not handle all AP or honors classes, take one or two in your strongest subject areas your Freshmen year then go from there. If you are an overachiever and believe you can handle all the stress these classes will bring you, then go for it no one can stop you! 

If I do not like an AP course can I drop out of the class?

             Let’s say that you thought you could handle honors English, but a few weeks of the course you realize that honors English is not the right academic choosing for you.  Do not think that you can not drop honors English, talk to your guidance counselor and see how they can help you. Here communication is essential. Make sure to do this as soon as possible, I would say you should make this decision by a maximum of two weeks of the course. However, make sure you talk to your guidance counselor when you can drop the courseRemember, dropping an AP or honors course does not mean you are stupid, it just means you were not ready for that challenge yet. You can always try and tackle honors English for next year. Not everyone can be the next Shakespeare or Geoffrey Chaucer ( You will be reading them a lot in your AP lit classes).  

How do I know if I am ready for these courses? 

Remember, talk to your guidance counselor, parents, teachers, or whomever you believe will provide you solid advice on whether you are ready to take the Advance Placement (AP) and honors courses you were considering enrolling in.  The biggest tip of advice is to have confidence and be true to yourself. Yes, input from others is great but do not let this be your determining factor YOU should be the ultimate decider.
 
Since now you know what AP and honors courses are, let’s get started on creating your schedule! Copy and paste the link below into your URL to receive an academic planner.
 
 
By: Claudia Saavedra
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