AP vs Honors Courses

The main thing that colleges look at is grades! It's important to choose the right classes and that you do very best in them. When you sign up for classes, your counselor might throw terms like “honors” and “AP” around. Both class types are more rigorous than the average high school curriculum, but there are some important differences. 

Honors classes usually teach the same material as regular classes, but they often go a little deeper into details and are taught at a faster pace. The honors curriculum is typically designed by the state or local school system. Advanced placement (AP) classes are courses from the CollegeBoard with a national exam at the end. AP classes are similar to a dual-enrollment program because you can earn college credits by doing well on AP exams at the end of the year. 

How do you decide if you should take an honors or AP course? First think about your end goals. If you’re interested in going to a less selective college, then you’ll probably be fine taking all honors as long as you do well. Taking a few APs and getting a 4 or 5 on the exams could help you earn college credit.  Selective universities want to see that you took the most rigorous courses offered at your high school and did well in them. For example, getting an A in Honors US History is great, but admission officers at competitive colleges would prefer if you were able to get an A in AP US History. Keep in mind that your school may not offer an AP class for some subjects, so you’d want to take the honors version since it’s the most rigorous class at your school. If you really want to take a certain AP exam that’s not offered at your school, check out how here. You also want to think about your capabilities. If you know you struggle with science, then it might be better to take Honors Chemistry, work hard, and get a B than it would be to take AP Chemistry and make a C or lower. However, it’s also important to not underestimate yourself or take an easier class because you don’t want to do the work. Keeping the end goal in mind can be really helpful when picking classes for next year. 


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