Why Taking Challenging Classes in High School Matters
Last updated February 5, 2024
There are many reasons why challenging yourself in high school by taking advanced or academically challenging classes can help you prepare for college. Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and dual enrollment programs are all great opportunities to challenge yourself academically, but even taking an extra class or pushing yourself with something new is a great way to use your time in high school. Here are some benefits of taking advanced high school classes.
Prepare for the rigors of college-level coursework
Taking advanced courses can help prepare you to not only successfully complete high school, but for college-level coursework. You can work to build skills like time management, good study habits, and more. Plus, by taking advanced classes you can identify your strengths and weaknesses and work to improve them before starting college! This can be beneficial not only at your future college or university, but also as you enter the workforce.
Prepare for standardized tests like the SAT & ACT
Advanced classes typically require additional reading, more complex math, and more rigorous test-taking than classes not at the collegiate level. By completing these types of tasks in high school you’re honing skills that will come in handy when it’s time for you to take the SAT, ACT, or other college placement tests! You’ll develop critical thinking skills, expand your knowledge in areas typically covered on these tests, and feel more prepared to take them.
Potentially earn college credit
Did you know that succeeding in AP and dual enrollment classes now can save you time and money in the future? If you’re enrolled in these types of classes and decide to take the course’s official exam, or pay for the dual enrollment tuition, you can potentially receive college credit. This means less time taking classes in college - and less money spent on tuition! Learn more about dual enrollment here (also available in Spanish).
Explore your interests and connect advanced classes to potential majors and careers
Taking advanced classes is not only a great way to explore potential areas of study/college majors, but careers, too! For example, taking AP Calculus might help you decide if you want to go into a STEM career; or learning more about the Renaissance in a dual-enrollment history course at your local community college might lead you to find a great opportunity at a museum. Advanced classes are a great stepping stone to help you decide what areas of study and careers you’re passionate about! Also, by taking an advanced class now, you’ll avoid paying a hefty price tag in college to find out it may not be the major for you. Take this quiz from the College Board to help identify which AP courses are related to a major or career.
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