Ava Ketner, Junior Staff Writer

You’ve met with your advisor, you’ve met with your teachers, but you still can’t decide what to sign up for during course selection. This decision can be stressful, as St. Andrew’s offers 10 different honors courses and 22 AP courses.

St. Andrew’s offers a variety of classes to fit the needs of each and every student. The option of having regular, honors, and AP classes allows for flexibility, but many students struggle to decide which course is right for them.

Honors and AP Chemistry teacher Claudia Bhagat believes that the choice between her two classes should be made based on how much effort the student is willing to apply to the course.

“If a student is very interested and wants to put a lot of effort in … then honors and AP are getting the student actually deeper into that subject,” Bhagat said. “If the student is not interested or has a problem with math, then basic Chemistry is a better choice. All three courses they would get a good idea of what Chemistry is about.”

Sophomore Rece Raju confirms from her experience from taking regular classes and an honors class that honors classes have more work than regular courses, and you have to be willing to put in more effort and have less guidance.

“They definitely put a lot more responsibility on you,” Raju said. “In regular classes it’s kind of all laid out for you more, and it’s not that they’re holding your hand, but they’re definitely helping you out more.”

Sophomore Betsy Seage takes regular, honors, and AP courses and agrees that there is a larger work load for Honors and AP.

“There’s only one regular class where I usually have homework, and that only takes me 10-20 minutes if I haven’t already finished it in class,” Seage said. “But honors homework definitely takes a longer amount of time.”

Seage explains that while those classes do have more homework, the due dates tend to be more flexible but the assignments are usually worth more. The student controls how much effort he or she wants to put into his or her work without as much guidance from the teacher.

“You are assigned homework, but you do it on your own and it’s not really checked,” Seage said. “It is just expected that you do it where in regular, they take it up for a grade every day. For my AP class we don’t have that many graded things, and they count more, but in my regular classes there’s so many little grades.”

Seage confirms that there is little to no difference in the material between regular and honors or AP classes, but that honors explores each topic more rapidly and in more detail.

“I would say it’s definitely more accelerated in AP classes,” Seage said. “In Honors English, for instance, we read way past the regular class in Dante’s Inferno, and there’s more tests and projects.”

The trade-off for the extra work requirement from an honors or AP class is that the school provides a GPA boost for every course you take. An honors class comes with an added .25, and AP with an extra .5 added before the final GPA is calculated. Bhagat explains that the GPA boost is important because a student can surely expect a drop in grades when taking an honors or AP class.

“In honors and AP you have to put way more time and effort to succeed there,” Bhagat said. “I see students who are very good in Honors chemistry, once they join AP Chemistry, their grade drops because it’s definitely more challenging. The boost is justified at that point.”

The GPA boost ensures that students feel comfortable challenging themselves academically without feeling like their grades are going to suffer. The boost helps to remove some of the fear associated with harder courses, encouraging students to broaden the range of classes they choose to take.

When choosing classes for the upcoming year, consider what you are willing to put into the class and how much you want to push yourself. If you feel like you can handle the extra coursework and want a little more freedom, then honors or AP might be the right choice for you.

St. Andrew’s provides a large variety of courses so that every student feels like he or she has a schedule that fits their individual needs. Whether it’s a regular, honors, or AP class, there is something that will work for you.


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