The illustration above reflecting AP enrollment in the San Diego Unified School District provides an example of pressure that students may experience to enroll into AP classes, as well as pressure by high school counselors to push more students from certain demographic groups to enroll. Consider that the pressure on students can be based on the expectations of colleges. For example, since over 90 percent of White and Asian students are enrolled in AP classes, colleges may expect White and Asian students to take such classes. Whereas, since only 62 percent of Latino and African American students are enrolled in AP classes, school counselors may feel pressure to push more Latino and African American students to enroll in AP classes to reduce the racial disparity. However, prior to allowing themselves to pushed into taking AP classes, any student should consider their ability to perform well in the class as well as to perform well on the AP exam.

Lesson 1: Research the AP (Advanced Placement) Program.How are AP courses and AP exam scores considered by the schools on your preliminary college list?

Lesson 2:Research the IB (International Baccalaureate) Program. How are IB classes or the IB Diploma considered by the colleges on your list?

Lesson 3: Research the Dual/Joint Enrollment Program. How are Dual/Joint Enrollment classes considered by the colleges on your list?

Lesson 4: Research Early or Middle College Programs. What is the impact of Early or Middle College Programs on your postsecondary pathway?

  • Research: What Early or Middle College Programs are available in your school district or state? What are the advantages or limitations of such programs?
  • Am I planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree, or enter into the workplace after high school with the associate’s degree earned through the Early or Middle College Program?
  • What are the potential cost savings of the 2 years of college classes taken through the Early or Middle College Program if I continue my education at an in-state college or university?
  • Will I be able to apply to an out-of-state institution as a freshman applicant, or will I be required to apply as a transfer student?
  • How many of the Early or Middle College classes will I be able to receive course credit for?
  • Will enrollment in the Early or Middle College Program limit my ability to participate in extracurricular activities?
  • Based on the colleges and universities to which I am planning to apply, will participation in the Early or Middle College Program hinder or enhance my application?

Lesson 5: Critical Analysis. After identifying the webpages where each of your colleges list the credits offered for AP, IB, or dual/joint enrollment classes, complete the AP, IB, Dual/Joint Enrollment Table for each of your colleges to determine the type of classes for which you are most likely to receive college course credits.

Writing Prompt #1What type of classes are most aligned with my college choices for which I have the best opportunities to receive college credit?Based on what you learned from the webpages of each of your colleges, which type(s) of classes are most likely to receive course credit? (50 – 100 words)

Writing Prompt #2What are the type and level of classes that are most aligned with my college major or career aspirations?What are the type and level of classes that you are planning to take during the next school year that are aligned with your desired college major, or career aspirations? List each class and explain why you believe the class is aligned with your college major or career aspiration.

Writing Prompt #3Based on what you have learned, will you be making any changes to your course schedule?In the “Narrative – Pursuing Exceptionality,” you completed the form, “My School Year and Summer Schedule.” Based on what you have learned in this activity, and through your college research, do you plan to make any future changes to your planned course schedule? If so, why? If not, why not?