The purpose of college prep course level classes is to prepare students for the more rigorous and challenging work load they will have to contend with in their first year at a university. You can gain experience and possibly credits when you take college prep classes.

A college preparatory courses' list usually includes:

  • Advanced Placement Classes
  • IB Concentrations
  • Online CP Classes
  • Honors Classes

A college preparatory program such as a summer or winter camp at a community or state college can prepare you for living away from the comforts of home and settling into a different routine while attending to class work.

Advanced Placement Classes

There is an abundance of Advanced Placement (AP) courses available to students. These weighted courses can bring your GPA above 4.0. They can also be used to increase a lagging GPA if for some reason your grades have slipped on your way to ending an otherwise stellar school career.

AP Classes include:

  • AP Research
  • AP History
  • AP Music Theory
  • AP Computer Science Principles
  • AP Calculus 
  • AP Psychology
  • AP Microeconomics
  • AP Environmental Science
  • AP Spanish Language and Culture

Each high school determines which AP classes they will offer. If the AP classes available to you in your high school don’t exactly meet your college prep needs, there are many online opportunities to round out your education before applying to colleges or employers. To receive college credit for AP classes, the student must complete the AP exam with a score of three out of the max score of five.

IB Concentrations for College Prep

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is designed to fuse college and career preparation into fast-track classes for high school students looking to extend their education as well as career opportunities. More than 800 schools in the United States offer the International Baccalaureate program. The IB classes concentrate on language and literature, language acquisition, arts, sciences, mathematics and the study of individuals and societies.

Honors Classes and Honor Society

Honors classes cover more material at a faster pace than typical college courses. This prepares a student for the quick clip of college courses. A slew of honors classes on your college application shows that you are a competent and disciplined student ready to take on the often arduous demands of more in-depth college classes.

While most honors classes won’t turn into college credit, they do prepare the students to excel at the rudimentary courses they may need to slog through in their freshman year.

Honors classes will also prepare you to do well on the ACT exam. The average ACT score is 21. An ACT score of 30 or above can help you to gain college credits, depending on the institution.

Online Classes for College Prep

Some community colleges offer online college prep classes for students. These are ideal if a student has a job outside of school, family obligations or other time constrictions. A good program can improve a student’s analytical and comprehension skills in preparation for entering more challenging college coursework.

Online seminars can boost a student’s ability to take notes and conduct independent research in a shorter period of time than the lengthier online college prep classes.

If you are taking AP classes, IB or Honors courses, then take advantage of each program's online resources by registering on the websites.

How to Succeed in College Prep Classes

To succeed in college prep classes or a college preparatory program, choose a subject that you are highly interested in. If you are getting Bs or above in the standard English or math classes, you may want to pursue Honors or AP classes to better prepare you for college.

If you are struggling with a subject, don't be afraid to reach out to faculty and advisers. They have possibly struggled in their own pursuits and also have a vested interest in your success.

The main point should be in knowing that you have done the best that you can to prepare for college. If so, then you should be satisfied with whatever you have achieved. The secret, of course, is deciding your potential and pursuing your goals.

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About the Author

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.