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Written by Heidi Fox

Many students and parents want to know what the benefits would be to take “honors” and/or AP courses. We are here to help students (& parents) make the best decisions when it comes to choosing courses during high school. Being informed about the benefits of these course selections is the best way to make a good decision.


If a student’s goal is to attend college after high school they most definitely want their transcript to reflect positively on their academic record. Colleges will look not only at the GPA and the amount of courses taken in certain core subjects (like math, English, science, and social studies), but also at how “hard” the courses were that a student chose to take. Admissions officers will definitely notice the amount of rigorous courses a student did (or did not) take during his/her high school career. For example, as the school counselor I must fill out ratings in Common App for each senior applying to college. One of the questions is: “In comparison with other college prep students at your school, the applicants course selection is: {answer choices are—“less than demanding”, “average”, “demanding”, “very demanding”, or “most demanding”}. I am also asked to rate student’s “academic achievements” compared to other college-bound students graduating. I do take into consideration how rigorous a schedule the student took when answering this rating question.


As such, it’s important to realize that taking Honors and AP courses does help in your ratings and you need to know that colleges will notice if you took a rigorous schedule, or if you took the “easy route”.


Of course, this isn’t the only reason/benefit for taking AP and Honors level courses, but it is one of the biggest.


Other benefits include:

  • getting college credit for passing an AP exam (in an AP course you took)
  • challenging yourself in a particular field of interest/study
  • preparing yourself for higher level learning at the college level
  • feeling a sense of accomplishment


As always, if you feel as though you are unsure about making course selections, contact your PEC or reach out to me, the School Counselor. We are available for consultation and we always want to help students achieve their goals.

written by: Heidi Fox, M.Ed., Director of Counseling, CMASAS