If you are thinking about pursuing postsecondary education opportunities, it is important to have the foundation you need to compete in that new arena. The types of classes you take now and how you do in those classes can make the difference in how successful you will be in college. Virginia offers several classroom options to help prepare you for college level work. Each option is described below:
College Preparatory and Advanced Studies Program
There are many ways you can increase your chances of getting into the college. It is important that you take college preparation courses starting your freshmen year. College preparation courses can be challenging, but these classes can give you the knowledge and skills you need to be successful in college. Remember it is equally important to excel in the courses you take. Which of the following do you think will make you a more competitive candidate when you apply to college?
International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program
One type of academic program that can prepare you for college is the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program. This program is offered at many high schools in Virginia. The IB program is a rigorous college preparatory program.
- The IB program is highly regarded by colleges and universities around the world as superior preparation for the academic challenges of postsecondary education;
- The IB program has examinations on six core subjects: arts and electives, mathematics, experimental sciences, individuals and societies, language, and a second language;
- The IB program is designed meet the needs of highly motivated secondary school students between 16 and 19 years of age;
- The IB Diploma is a comprehensive two-year curriculum that allows its graduates to fulfill requirements of various national education systems;and
- The IB program is currently offered at 700 high schools in 92 countries.
College Credit Programs (Dual-Credit)
Programs that offer you a chance to earn college credit while you are still in high school are called dual-credit programs. There are several dual-credit programs available: Here are some things you should know about the IB program:
Advanced Placement Classes
Advanced Placement (AP) classes are designed to teach students college freshmen level material. AP courses are offered in various academic subjects. Once you complete these courses, you will have the opportunity to take the AP national examination. If you earn a score on the national examination that is acceptable to the college you wish to attend (usually a 4 or 5), you may receive college credit for the course. There is a fee for taking the national exam, but students who can document need may have this fee waived.
Dual-Enrollment gives students the opportunity to begin their college education prior to high school graduation. Students who take advantage of this opportunity can still participate in school activities for which they are eligible. Although the classes are offered by a community college, they are usually taught on the high school campus. Students can take college courses simultaneously for high school graduation and college degree credit under the following conditions:
- Prior written approval of the high school principal for cross registration must be obtained;
- The college must accept that student for admission to the course(s);
- The course(s) must be given by the college for degree credits (no remedial courses will be accepted).
Note: Not every high school participates in a dual-credit program. Although school systems are encouraged to offer courses at no cost to students, some students are required to pay all or part of the expenses.
Four-Year College Programs
Several four-year Virginia institutions offer college courses to high school students for credit. This credit is fully accepted at these institutions, or credit can be transferred to the institutions the student may choose. Talk to your guidance counselor to see what institutions in your area offer this opportunity.
Technical Preparation Programs (TECH PREP)
Another type of academic program is the technical preparation program. Technical preparation programs prepare you for fields in healthcare, business, industry, labor, government, and the community. This type of program is not designed to prepare students for a traditional four year college education, but it can lead to one eventually.
Most technical preparatory programs are designed to prepare you for additional education at a community college or specialized two-year college. These programs not only lead to further education but they can expand employment opportunities for those who do not plan to seek a traditional four-year college degree.
Tech Prep is a four-year (two in high school and two in an occupational/technical program at a community college) coordinated curriculum designed to prepare students for technical occupations. There is a strong emphasis on academic skills, especially in math, science and English.
Tech Prep includes:
- A comprehensives career development plan;
- Courses designed for a specific career that integrates academic and occupational preparation;
- A learning environment emphasizing mathematics, communications, science, and technologies;and A smooth transition from high school to college or employment.
- A smooth transition from high school to college or employment.