This community encourages broader expansion of studies and extracurricular activities, but the one main facet it holds is opportunities for higher level applications of academic skills.
Students often continue their practice of certain subjects beyond the basic graduation requirements by enrolling in college-level courses. In this school, two popular early college credit opportunities are the Advanced Placement courses and the Dual Enrollment program.
Lynda Hitchcock, the college and career information coordinator, reports that this school offers 28 Advanced Placement courses as part of the curriculum. “The MCPS school system started offering AP courses when they began from CollegeBoard. AP courses are for students to challenge themselves academically in a certain academic concentration that the student is interested in,” Hitchcock said.
Hitchcock acknowledges the power these courses have on the students, and urges students to think about their own well-being and readiness to take on college-level courses. “Some students take an AP class just because their peers do and they think they must take them for college. I believe students are ready when they are able to handle the commitment to learn the subject, and want a challenge. It is more about how the AP class prepares you for college that counts. It is the fact that you went above the average class to push yourself that is important. It is a great deal of work,” Hitchcock said.
Hitchcock hopes to lead students onto the path right for their lives. “If students are stressed because they took too many in the first place, I advise them to re-evaluate who they are. If they are stressed because they do not understand the content they should be going in for extra help or talking to the teacher for more explanation,” Hitchcock said.
Another popular and more direct option for students to get early college credits is the Dual Enrollment Program held at Montgomery College. “These students are enrolled in college courses while simultaneously completing their high school diploma. Students may enroll in a variety of courses at the college, provided they meet the standards. The credits earned may be applied to a degree program at MC or may potentially be transferred to another institution,” Associate Director of Academic Initiatives and Dual Enrollment Manager Akima Rogers said.
Rogers believes that people should participate in the program to get college level academic experience and build their skills. “Dual Enrollment at MC enables high school students to register and attend a Montgomery College course on campus, online or at their high school site. Students engage with outstanding college professors and peers in a collegiate classroom setting and graduate from high school with earned college credit,” Rogers said.
If students are too stressed out with the workload in AP courses but still want to challenge themselves, they lean towards Dual Enrollment program classes. If they feel prepared to take AP courses and do not want to take the pressure of actual college courses, they lean towards AP courses. Hitchcock said students should meet with their counselors and discuss special interests.