When to Choose an Advanced Class Over a Regular Class

on November 29, 2016

When it comes to applying to colleges, every little bit counts. Colleges look at everything from extracurriculars to outside volunteer experiences, and of course, your grades. You can make a difference in your college journey by deciding whether to have advanced classes versus regular classes on your transcript. Your high school transcript is one component of your application that will be weighed heavily in a college’s decision process, so having one that stands out is always a plus.


However, you have to ask yourself, are decent grades in regular classes good enough? Or might it be with your while to take on some challenging AP and Honors classes to give yourself a boost? Every student is different, so the decision to take either more advanced classes or regular classes is something you should weigh the pros and cons of. Here are some tips to help with that decision.


Taking an AP or Honors course shows initiative. Colleges like to see that students are challenging themselves in the classroom, and taking a harder course will definitely show that. Your initiative will be twice as prominent if you are at a school that doesn’t offer certain higher level courses, but you still seek them out at another institution that can offer them.


Performing well in an advanced class will prove to a college that you are willing to challenge yourself, and able to excel in a challenging class. Taking some more difficult classes in high school may help to eliminate the need to take some required beginner courses as a college freshman, which frees up time for you to focus on major-centric courses.


This kind of initiative will be useful after college as well. As you start applying to internships, those looking at your experience will likely think better of you seeing a more challenging course in your background.


The flip side of taking a more advanced class over a regular one is that it will be more difficult and time-consuming. Taking on this responsibility also means accepting on the possibility that the class may be harder than you anticipated, and not necessarily end the way you would hope for. Ending with a less than ideal grade in a harder class may be less beneficial to you in the long run than earning a better grade in a regular class.


Unfortunately, this means it could have an effect on your overall GPA. Not only do colleges want to see you challenge yourself by taking the classes, but also that you are able to take on the material as well.


However, do not let this possibility rule out an advanced class for you. There is no wrong choice in terms of what type of class is better or worse, it is only a matter of what is best for you. 

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