Honor Classes

Honor Classes are designed to cover certain subjects in more depth and faster, therefore covering more topics than regular classes. Mostly talented students apply to take Honor Classes, and while it may be hard, passing an Honor Class with a good score is a great way to impress admission committees in Universities. 

Passing an Honor Class shows academic commitment, seriousness, and academic achievement. All these skills are appreciated by university admission boards. 

While Honor Classes don’t offer extra credit for university, they are perfect for gifted students or for those who want to deepen their knowledge on certain subjects. These classes are more rigorous and require a higher level of commitment and effort 

What are Honor Classes and why to take them?

Honor Classes is a definition used to describe certain courses that are more academically challenging. 

Originally, these classes were reserved for academically gifted students and were used mostly as preparation for college. Today, access to Honor Classes is more flexible, and any student can apply just with a letter of recommendation from their teachers, but they are also expected to be able to maintain a grade of B or more during regular classes. 

Honor Classes don’t necessarily follow a set curriculum, and therefore vary greatly in form and content. In any case, they are supposed to push students’ knowledge and challenge them. And, while officially they do not count as college preparation courses, they offer a glimpse into the rigorous academic work students will face at university. 

Now, when it comes to students to do harder courses, we can ask ourselves why they would accept to take classes that will require them to do more work. Here we listed some of the reasons that make Honor Classes in High School a desirable choice.

  • Honor Classes look good in university admission applications
  • They may help students secure a scholarship
  • Students may be bored in regular classes
  • Honor Classes make the transition to college work smoother
  • Students will learn to manage their time and workload
  • Honor Classes boost students’ GPA

University admission and scholarships

While it’s not mandatory to take Honor Classes to enter a specific university, the fact that students have to face harder academic challenges and a faster pace of learning, entice universities and send the message that these students are better prepared to enter higher education. 

If planning to enter a very competitive course, having Honor Classes on the relevant subject will make you a more attractive candidate and expand your chances of getting a place. This is especially important if applying to small courses where there is a limited number of spots available.

Following Honor Classes on subjects related to what you are planning to study in the future, will give you an edge that may make the difference when being evaluated by the university admission board. 

A lot of students believe as well that successfully completing Honor Classes will give them more chances to secure a scholarship that may prove important or necessary for them to achieve their higher education goals. 

Showing that they have the commitment rigorous academic work requires, as well as the discipline and hard-working attitude, will look good in their grant application. 

More challenging lessons and preparation for University

Another good reason for students to choose Honor Classes is that they may feel regular classes are too easy for them. If they are looking for a more challenging and interesting learning experience, Honor Classes are a good option. 

While this was the original goal of these types of classes, today the entrance is a bit more flexible and allows students to choose Honor Classes also if they are interested in the subject or they are planning to make it their college major. Still, access to Honor Classes depends on each school, and some may ask for extras prerequisites like a certain score in regular classes or having completed other Honor Classes before. 

Students that have clear goals in terms of college courses they want to do, or universities they want to apply to, will find that Honor Classes have the extra benefit of making the transition from high school to higher education smoother

Honor Classes, while not exactly like university lessons, push the limits of the students and present them with a different kind of work, which most likely will be similar to what they will find at the college level. So, Honor Classes help students have a glimpse of how is academic life and work at university and therefore prepare them better for what is to come.

Time management and efficiency

Many students often mention that taking Honor Classes has helped them organize their time better and more efficiently. Since the workload is bigger and the pace of the lessons much faster, they need to learn how to deal with deadlines and how to manage different subjects at once. 

This skill is extremely valuable for high school students to be able to deal with their future academic workload and responsibilities. While this is an indirect benefit of taking Honor courses, it should not be overlooked or underestimated.

Honor Classes boost your GPA

How much taking Honor Classes boosts your GPA will mostly depend on your school and if they use weighted scales

A weighted scale means that while an A in a regular class is worth 4.0, it may be worth 4.5 in an Honor Class, or 5.0 in an AP class. This makes it clear that Honor Classes have the potential of boosting your GPA making you a more attractive candidate when applying to university. 

However, some schools do not use this weighted system, creating discrepancies among applicants from different high schools. At the same time, this means that when applying for a scholarship, for example, if your system is weighted it will stay this way, strengthening your chances to obtain it compared to candidates from schools without such a system. 

Considerations when choosing Honor Classes

The benefits of taking Honor Classes should be balanced with the time and effort dedicated to other extra-curricular and social commitments students may already have. This means that students should choose wisely what classes they take, working out strategies to manage their time efficiently and therefore achieving success. 

Very often students may take on more than they can deal with, especially if they are playing sports, participating in clubs, or doing other activities. Ideally, before choosing how many and which Honor Classes to take, students will receive advice from their teachers or headmaster. 

Taking too many Honor Classes may actually make you look less attractive as an applicant for a university course. Why? Well, if students take more than they can handle, it shows a lack of understanding of their own limitations and abilities, which can even be detrimental in terms of general grades.

University admission boards will also take into consideration this aspect and will frown upon those students that in order to look better in their application sacrifice grades. In fact, it’s better to choose carefully the Honor Classes you want to do based on what is relevant for your future career and your interests, and if possible even try to follow an AP class, which will look better in your university application. 

Managing these different workloads successfully will reflect on your grades too.

How are Honor Classes different than regular classes or AP classes?

Regular classes in high school are designed to be on-level and satisfy the needs of the average student. These classes are also based on a national or state curriculum that guarantees that all students have the minimum knowledge on each subject. Regular classes are supposed to prepare students to enter university, offering the necessary tools and previous knowledge they will require to succeed.

However, Honor Classes are taught with higher standards in mind, and they are more difficult and students are expected to cover more topics at a faster pace. Students that are planning to further their education will find a more realistic learning experience of what is to come doing Honor Classes.

When talking about AP classes, the main difference is that students doing AP classes can get college credit. Honor Classes do not reward students with college credit.

Students doing AP classes are preparing for a test and therefore their classes are not only more difficult but also more college-like. The expectations are higher, but if students perform well in these classes and pass the test, they will get college credit that they can eventually transfer after they graduate high school.

A further difference is that since in AP classes students prepare for a test, the subjects are more standardized. While with Honor Classes a school can decide to open them in any subject, depending on the interest of their students or scholastic goals; with AP classes, the school has a list of subjects among which they can choose.  

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