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College Prep - Excelsior Classes

“College prep” can mean different things depending on the circumstances. For instance, it can refer to the courses needed for entrance requirements to a college. For many state-funded institutions, the minimum requirements for high school graduation are 4 years of English, 3 years of math, 3 years of science and 3 years of social studies.These courses form the basis for high school exit exams in many states and determine readiness to enter college. The core curriculum for most high schools can be considered college prep.

The term “college prep” can also refer to the level of the course work. Standard course work is usually referred to as college prep as compared to even more rigorous studies such as Honors or AP courses.

Finally, the expression “college prep” can also mean a specific type of school. In these schools, course work and extracurricular activities all are designed to prepare students for college. The goal upon graduation from a school of this type is to be admitted into college and pursue a degree in the field of choice. The school staff will also help the students with financial aid and transcripts as needed.

College Prep vs. Honors

Honors classes are considered more rigorous than the core curriculum or college prep courses. They are often looked on favorably by competitive college admissions because the class is a degree beyond the standard and perhaps involves more work overall. Standards for honors classes, however, vary greatly across school districts and states as there is no national standard for an “honors” class. The final grade can be weighted by an additional .5 points when calculating the overall GPA.

AP classes, on the other hand, are standardized by the College Board. Only classes with a syllabus approved by the College Board are considered AP courses.  They typically mirror a college level experience. The grade may be weighted by an additional 1 point. For instance, a “B” in an AP or Honors class will be better and an “A” in a college prep course. Additionally, students may sit for an AP exam in the spring and perhaps earn college credit based on their test results.

Dual Credit Courses

Dual credit courses are those which count for the high school course itself AND provide college credit. They are offered by a college or university and are taught by credentialed professors. These courses would also be weighted by an additional 1 point. Homeschooled students may take classes locally or online to take advantage of such programs.

Why Bother With College Prep

Is all of this fuss really necessary? What if the student is not college bound? Why would one even bother with any of this?

Excelsior Classes would assert that education is never wasted. Knowledge is always a good thing. A “college prep” program provides students with:

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Communication skills
  • Time management skills
  • Social and team skills
  • Fundamental, basic knowledge sets

Additionally, students in a college prep program learn to persevere through difficult subjects, lessons, or concepts. The working of these mental muscles will be of great benefit regardless of future endeavors!.

Moreover, even those going into a trade often find that they must take courses for licensure at the local community college. Some of the courses involve basic math and English skills as well as science. Previous training and education will only be an added benefit for these students as they venture into new forms of education and training!

College prep is not just for college students. It’s for all students seeking their way in the world.

What Excelsior Classes Offers

Excelsior Classes offers courses of all kinds. While we know ourselves to be college prep in the broadest sense, we also offer dual credit courses through a partnership with LeTourneau University. Our program allows parents to pick and choose courses allowing greater flexibility. Students beginning their studies in our younger levels easily transition through each grade level. Students joining us for the first time will find that our caring teachers and vibrant student community will make their academic journey a fun and rewarding experience. You can check out our course catalog here.