Honors vs. College Prep

Mr. Motter's AP European History

Katie Elliot sits front row in Mr. Motter’s AP European History class

Written by Maria Putnam

Every school year, students always hear how crucial it is to do well in school, but there are many different factors affecting one’s performance. For one, students get to choose their classes, usually based on what they are planning on doing after they graduate. Students can also choose different levels of classes: career, college prep, and honors. A majority of students are placed in college prep classes, but some students may consider moving from college prep to honors. What is the difference between honors and college prep courses? To find the answer, I interviewed two equally brilliant juniors from The Morgan School, Emma and Katie. The only difference between the two is that Emma takes college prep classes and Katie takes honors classes.

Maria: What is a normal day at the Morgan School like for you?

Katie: A lot easier than people think. I kind of plow through the day just like any other student, never mind the classes they take. It is much more structured when given directions. I would much rather take directions and get the work done. I manage my work and then it isn’t that bad.

Emma: Junior year is harder than what I expected. It was a big transition from sophomore year to junior year. Although, it is not that bad.

Maria: What triggered you to pick these classes? Did college have any impact on the decision?

Katie: I have been very set on college- have been since the sixth grade. I need a challenge, I enjoy it. My parents had a major say in what classes and placement I took, but I wanted to take honors at the same time. I have a friend who helps me get through some classes that are harder for me than others, but I get through. I keep the mindset that they are just letter grades.

Emma: My parents were what influenced me to take the classes and placement that I do. College is a pending thing; I’m not sure what I want to do yet.

Maria: What is your favorite/least favorite class, why?

Katie: My favorite would have to be history and Spanish. I really enjoy those two classes the most. My least favorite class would have to be pre-calc. Pre-calc is not my best subject whatsoever, but I get through by the skin of my teeth and the help from a peer and close friend. (I, myself, have taken pre-calc and could not get through; it is a very hard class; I give Katie a lot of credit.)

Emma: My favorite class is English. I have Mr. Bergman as a teacher, and he makes the class very enjoyable. His English class is very fun and engaging. My least favorite class would have to be chemistry. It simply just does not make any sense.

Maria: How much do your classes affect your social life and life outside of school?

Katie: Homework is not that terrible. It really varies on the class. The homework is very time consuming, and there are many late nights staying up to finish projects and what not. Budgeting your time is very important.

Emma: There is not that much homework really. It is not that big of a deal. I’m more focused on the actual class and what I learn from that. It really does not interfere with any social life.

Maria: Do you feel your classes now are going to truly affect you once you leave Morgan?

Katie: Senior year is going to be very hard. Taking honors will have a major influence on colleges and such. Schools important, yes; homework’s important, yes; but social life’s most important because you’ll always have that.

Emma: I think they will be beneficial. Again, I’m not sure what I want to do after I graduate so I can’t really say.

After interviewing both students, I realized that both honors and college prep students are not that different. Katie and Emma are equally intelligent and very motivated with their schoolwork, though, honors students have more self-motivation to get through the classes. Without a doubt, Katie has that motivation and endurance for she has taken honors every year so far. She is determined to graduate with that golden sash, letting everybody know that her hard work paid off. Also since I take college prep classes, I understand when Emma says she is not sure what she wants to do after high school yet. Not many students do, and I think there is nothing wrong with that. There are so many opportunities and choices out there. How are we supposed to determine it all in four years? College prep classes give you a well-rounded education that leaves you with a solid academic background, providing many options. Both placements, honors and college prep, contain equally intelligent students. No matter what classes you take, it is what you make out of them and how you use them to your advantage that is important.

See the article Honors Vs. College Prep: Take Two by PaulMichael Mullaley