by Dave Delgado
How many of us can look back and think that we may not have reached our full potential in life? What if we had done better in school? What if we had gone to a better college?
The predominant attitude in today’s public schools has created a culture in which 16-year-olds are deciding they aren’t going to go to college. They think the material will be too difficult. They think they don’t have the necessary skills. They lack confidence in their own ability to learn and grow in an academic environment. They aren’t qualified to make the right decisions!
A lot has been said about the importance of small class size and individual attention in our schools. But small class size is only the beginning. The best high schools have not only smaller classes, which allow for more individual attention-they have highly qualified teachers who teach more challenging material.
AP courses, created by the College Board, have been around for fifty years. These are certified college-level courses that are taught in high schools. Their popularity has grown over the years, and they have become an essential part of the high school portfolio for anyone wishing to apply to a four year college or university. Many parents feel that these classes and their high expectations put too much pressure on young children, still in high school. But that isn’t how it was meant to be.
When approached the right way, these courses may in fact be a very good opportunity. The downside is that most high schools that offer these courses still pack 20 to 30 students into the class. So instead of being a positive opportunity, many students simply struggle with the work. On the other hand, when these courses are taught by experienced professionals in smaller classes – classes with only 8 to 10 students per teacher, each student gets the opportunity to be successful in a college level course.
A taste of this success is sometimes all it takes to turn a student’s life around. Students at the best private high schools, such as Cambrian International Academy, have stated in many cases that the first class made them feel as if they could accomplish anything. They take more of these classes in subsequent years, and then find themselves accepted to top universities in advanced standing. The AP credit transfers, and they start college as sophomores!
Now, 16-year-olds have more reason to make an informed decision about college.