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Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

Making a choice: Students are forced to pick between college credit courses or a higher weighted GPA

Classes at Pleasant Valley that have a star at the end of their class titles denotes honors status. This allows these classes to be counted on the weighted GPA scale.
Timothy Ku
Classes at Pleasant Valley that have a star at the end of their class titles denotes honors status. This allows these classes to be counted on the weighted GPA scale.

When glancing at the Pleasant Valley course registration list for future classes, students get to decide between Advanced Placement (AP), Honors, standard and concurrent Scott Community College courses. Honors and AP classes are denoted with a star in front of their name, while college courses are denoted by their college class number.

The main benefit students gain from AP and honors courses is a more advanced and rigorous curriculum that prepares them for college. With this comes a GPA boost on the weighted scale. While normal track classes feature a grading scale at the 4.0 scale, honors and AP courses feature a grading scale at the 5.0 scale. However, despite featuring a college level rigor, courses like MAT:156 Statistics or SPC:112 Public Speaking lack the honors class status.

The main difference between AP courses and college courses is that AP courses allow students to have the chance to gain college credit by taking a test administered by the College Board. However, college courses allow students to gain college credit through the dual enrollment program by passing the class. 

With this, a consistent question arises. Should students take honors and AP courses or should they take college courses? 

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Taking a college course benefits many students by challenging them with a real college curriculum, usually curated by another college or institution through a dual enrollment program. Obtaining college credits for the future by simply passing a class is very enticing. However, in the present, a student’s weighted GPA will go down. 

Senior Jack Cabay has taken honors, AP and a multitude of dual-enrollment college courses. “There’s no reason why dual enrollment courses shouldn’t be considered at or above the level of an AP class, as both provide credit for college courses,” said Cabay.

High-achieving students who want to shoot for valedictorian or admission into prestigious colleges will have to make the difficult decision of whether they should sacrifice their weighted GPA for college credits. 

Many students believe that the level of rigor experienced by many of the college courses far exceeds any AP class that can be taken. Cabay firmly believes in this virtue. “Classes like Calculus 3 and Differential Equations are more advanced than any other math class offered at PV, and that should be reflected in the weighting,” explained Cabay.

Many of the college courses available feature a much more fast-paced and rigorous curriculum than any AP class that can be taken. Many believe that as a result, these college-level courses should definitely be weighted higher.

Some dual enrollment courses that can be taken online feature roughly the same amount of rigor an in-person class would require. 

Many students, like senior Vamsi Challa, believe that these online and in-person courses require more self-dedication than many of the courses offered at PV. “Some of these online college-level courses require more self-dedication and hard work than normal honors classes, they should definitely be weighted higher,” stated Challa.

A student’s GPA is the first step into the door for college admissions to any college. Dual enrollment courses can feature a more rigorous curriculum that prepares students for college and allows them to attain college credits. Allowing dual enrollment college courses to be considered on the weighted scale would allow students to be more competitive when applying to more prestigious institutions. 

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About the Contributor
Timothy Ku, Business Manager
Timothy Ku is a senior at Pleasant Valley High School and currently serves as the Business Manager for the Spartan Shield. Timothy is interested in business, finance and anything leadership oriented. He currently takes Statistics and Financial and Managerial Accounting. He is involved in Cross Country, Taekwondo and Track and Field. In school he participates in Future Business Leaders of America and Finance Club. Outside of school he serves in the Civil Air Patrol as the Iowa Wing Cadet Advisory Council Vice Chair and as an Emergency Services Instructor. Timothy plans on pursuing a degree in finance and economics to become an investment banker. 

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