May 18, 2011
Real Life College Student Blog: King Arthur, Advanced Placement, Concurrent Enrollment and YOU
Today’s edition of the “Real Life College Student” blog series is by Zachary Stickney of Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Zach entered the college world through the Upward-Bound pre-college program and is currently a senior studying Political Science. For an in-depth description of Zach’s admirable transition from high school to college and his college experience, check out this blog from WSU, “Once-Struggling High School Student Excelling in College.” We hope you enjoy this week’s blog, “King Arthur, Advanced Placement/Concurrent Enrollment Classes and YOU!”
In the movie Monty Python’s Holy Grail, King Arthur of the Britons is charged with taking a sacred journey to recover one of the most revered relics of all time. He travels to distant lands, forms a band of some of the greatest knights of his era, and withstands wave after wave of ruthless taunting by the French. True to typical blogging form, I will now explain, through a vague and overextended metaphor, how an awesome parody of an Anglican myth relates to your college experience.
You, of course, are King Arthur of the Britons. You’ve recently met with Merlyn (your high school counselor or other trusted adult) and know that it’s your destiny to receive Excalibur from the lady of the lake (get your high school diploma). However, you’re well aware that finding Excalibur will not mark the end of your journey. Heavens no! Finding Excalibur is merely the beginning. Being aware of this, he asks Merlyn how he can prepare himself for the journey ahead. At this point, Merlyn uses his incredible magical prowess to shatter the illusion of 5th century England and return us to the present era, where he suggests you take Advanced Placement (AP) and Concurrent Enrollment (CE) courses while in High School.
Advanced Placement (AP) Classes
- Overview: Advanced Placement, or “AP” courses, are administered by teachers who have received special training from the College Board (see their website to learn more). The classes are geared to cover core information that will appear on the final AP Exam at the end of the school year. The final exam costs a small fee, which is usually between 80-100 dollars (if applicable, check with your high school for fee waiver options). Note that the final exam is optional. This is because in your AP class, the end grade you earn will not appear on a college transcript. The only thing that matters in terms of college credit is your score on the AP Exam.
- Grading: The grading of AP exams is fairly simple and is based on a scale of 1-5. 1 being “probably not qualified” and 5 being “extremely well qualified.” Most schools will typically not offer credit unless you receive a score of at least 3, or “qualified.” It is a smart idea to check with your preferred college about what score will earn you college credit. Many students get nervous when considering taking the AP exam (and rightfully so), but the truth is, you have studied at the college level for a year or more already (so be confident!) and even if you don’t earn a “qualified” score, chances are it won’t hurt you. Most colleges will appreciate the fact that you took the initiative to take a high level class in the first place. If you get a 2 or a 1, it’s doubtful it will hurt your college entrance prospects. And of course, if you get a 3 or higher, you’ll end up saving yourself a lot of money and time!
- AP College Credit: It’s easy to get credit at your preferred college for the AP classes you have passed. All you need to do is contact the College Board and have them send a copy of your scores to your preferred school. You can also choose up to 3 schools to send reports to on the day you take your test. Once your scores are accepted, they will appear on your transcript as “CR” meaning “credit.” This means that though these classes give you college credit, they don’t affect your overall college GPA. Don’t you feel like you can conquer some AP classes now?
- Download Advanced Placement course descriptions and learn more about individual courses and exams at CollegeBoard.com.
Concurrent Enrollment (CE) Classes
- Overview: Concurrent Enrollment, or “CE” courses, are another great way to study at the college level in high school while earning college credit. However, the commonalities between AP and CE end right there. In CE classes, there is no “all or nothing” type of exam at the end of the year. Though there will almost certainly be a final exam, this exam will still only make up a portion of your cumulative grade. The grade(s) you receive on both your high school and college transcript for your CE class(es) will be the same, and will affect both your high school and college transcripts accordingly.
- CE College Credit: Oftentimes, the colleges that offer CE credit at your high school aren’t always the colleges that you want to attend after you graduate. However, this shouldn’t hurt your prospects of earning early college credit. All you need to do is contact the admissions department of the school you’ve received CE credit from and have them send a transcript with that information to the college of your choice.
- Transferring CE Credit: One important thing to keep in mind, though, is that these credits are not always transferrable among all colleges due to the different standards and curricula these schools have. If you’re transferring credit from 2 colleges within the same state, you will usually be fine. It’s among state-to-state transfers that difficulties may sometimes arise. It’s important to ask these kinds of questions to whichever college you prefer in order to make sure you’re getting everything you can out of your CE experience!
- It is a good idea to check with your high school to find out which CE classes are available to you. Utah has over 900 Concurrent Enrollment classes and all Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) institutions accept CE credit. For more information on Utah CE classes, click here to download the CE brochure from the Utah State Office of Education.
Hopefully you’ve found this quick run-down on AP and CE courses useful, but don’t forget about the help that Merlyn, or your high school counselor, can offer you. Counselors will have the most up to date information and will be able to offer you all kinds of resources to help you succeed at the college level. So take hold of Excalibur and go forth, young Arthur. Many unique journeys (and possible French taunting) await!
From UHEAA: When taking Advanced Placement and Concurrent Enrollment courses, it is a common practice to purchase test preparation materials and attend test preparation courses. These materials can be (and often are) very expensive. Do yourself (and your parents’ wallets) a favor and head over to UtahFutures.org. At UtahFutures you’ll find an abundance of test preparation materials like comprehensive practice tests and full practice courses for absolutely free. UtahFutures is also available on your iPhone. Download UtahFutures for free from the App Store.
If you have any questions or comments regarding Advanced Placement or Concurrent Enrollment classes for Zachary, please leave a comment!
Posted in Prepare & Pay
Tags: Advanced Placement, Advanced Placement Classes, AP, AP Classes, AP Courses, CE, CE Classes, CE Courses, College Board, Concurrent Enrollment, Concurrent Enrollment Classes, Real Life College, Real Life College Student Blog, UHEAA, USHE, Utah, Utah Futures, Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority, Utah System of Higher Education, UtahFutures, Weber State University, Zach Stickney, Zachary Stickney
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