AP & HONORS COURSES AT OAK PARK HIGH SCHOOL
Honors (H) and Advanced Placement (AP) courses provide an opportunity for students to pursue a more rigorous course of study. The philosophy of Oak Park High School is to encourage students to extend themselves by taking the most rigorous courses that they can succeed in. More than 50% of our students take one or more honors or advanced placement course during their high school career. Eligibility for honors and advanced placement courses includes a strong passion for the course content and previous evidence of exemplary work in the subject matter. Prerequisites for all courses are detailed in the course descriptions that follow. AP courses, which follow a college-level course of study, prepare students to take an exam sponsored by the College Board in May. Many colleges and universities grant college credit for courses taken in high school if the student passes the exam. However, it is important to note that individual colleges and universities determine their own policies for granting college credits for AP classes.
Although not all Honors and AP classes have summer work requirements, many do. Students should carefully consider this as they make selections for AP & Honors classes. Summer work must be completed prior to the beginning of school and students who fail to meet the standard will be moved to a college preparatory class in the same content area during the first week of school. Please review the summer work requirements carefully. Students who change their mind or fail to complete the required summer work for an AP class will not be allowed to bump another student out of an Honors class in the fall. Students dropping an AP class will only be allowed to go down to the CP version of that course in the fall.
AP & HONORS Courses at OPHS:
The following Honors and AP courses are offered at Oak Park High School. However, low enrollment numbers may impact our ability to offer some of these courses:
Global Science (H)
AP Physics B
AP Environmental Science
English II (H)
English III (H)
AP English III Language & Composition
English IV (H)
AP English IV Literature & Composition
AP European History
U.S. History (H)
AP U.S. History
AP U.S. Government &
AP Studio Art: Drawing &
AP Studio Art: 2D Design
(AP Computer Graphics)
AP Studio Art: 3D Design
Spanish III (H)
Spanish IV (H)
AP Spanish Language &
AP French IV Language &
AP Chinese Language &
Algebra II with Trigonometry (H)
Math Analysis with Calculus (H)
AP Calculus AB
AP Calculus BC
AP Computer Science A
AP Music Theory
The High School GPA & AP/Honors classes:
A student's high school GPA is one of the most misunderstood topics that we encounter. This is because there is no single GPA formula that applies to all students in all situations. Every high school has the freedom to assign weighted grade points to their GPA's - or not, as they see fit. Furthermore, depending on who (or what institution) is viewing a student's transcript, they all have differing views on how to calculate the GPA, which classes to include in that GPA, and whether to assign weighted points.
For more information on the variety of ways your high school GPA is evaluated and calculated outside of Oak Park High School click on the following hyperlink: GPA & Class Rank To see which Oak Park classes are approved for AP & Honors credit by the UC & CSU sytems click on the following hyperlink: "a-g" Subject list The OPHS faculty believes that weighted grade points on the high school transcript should not be a deciding factor in a student’s course selection process. We always encourage students to take the most rigorous courses they are capable of in the subjects where they have both demonstrated ability and passion. Effective with the class of 2010 Oak Park High School no longer assigned weighted grades for any courses. The OPHS GPA is calculated on a 4 point scale using the following grade points for all classes:
A= 4 grade points; B= 3 grade points; C= 2 grade points; D= 1 grade point; F= 0 grade point.
AP/Honors Courses and the College Admissions Process
How do "Honors & AP" courses figure into College Admissions? Students who take AP and Honors courses are more knowledgeable about the demands of college work. Colleges and universities recognize that applicants with AP and Honors experience are much better prepared for the demands of college. Admissions officers are well aware of the difficulty of the courses and AP exams. The Dean of Admissions at Harvard has said, "AP is a better predictor of college grades than the SAT!" Here at Oak Park High School we have statistical information going back to the Class of 1998 that will give you an idea of the average number of AP, Honors and/or College level courses Oak Park graduates took per college they were admitted to. The admissions experience of past Oak Park students is the best indicator of how many advanced courses you should expect to take for admissions to a particular college. You can view these statistics by clicking on the going to the Senior Post Graduation Plan Surveys hyperlink.
Most private and independent colleges actually use an unweighted GPA in their admission review process. Then, separate from their GPA evaluation, they focus their attention on the overall rigor of a student’s program and how that student performed in the context of the school they attended - rather than assigning arbitrary points for advanced level courses in the GPA. The one thing that all colleges want to see is that students have challenged themselves in high school by taking the most rigorous curriculum they are capable of. This is clearly the best predictor of future success in college. Thus, the primary reasons a student should take Honors or Advanced Placement (AP) courses would be to learn more, to challenge themselves, and to prepare themselves for college!
AP Courses And The Cost Of College: Extensive research has been done on the benefits of taking AP classes and AP exams - in terms of tuition savings, and long term success in college. Click on the following hyperlink for an in depth analysis of these benefits: AP and the Cost of College
The College Board's Advanced Placement (AP) Program: AP classes give students the chance to try college-level work in high school, and to gain valuable skills and study habits for college. If a student gets a "qualifying" grade on the AP Exam, there are thousands of colleges worldwide that will give credit or advanced placement for your efforts. AP courses and exams represent the beginning of the journey through college-level academic challenges. The work done in an AP course will help students develop skills and study habits that will be vital in college. For more information on the College Board's AP Program just click on the following hyperlink:
AP Test Score Reporting: If you would like a grade report sent to an additional college, or if you did not specify a college to receive your grade report at the time you registered for the test, you can contact AP Services to request the delivery of additional grade reports. Requests generally take one week to process from the date they are received and cost $15 per report. Rush reports are processed within two working days and are available for $25 per report. AP Services can be reached at P.O. Box 6671 Princeton, NJ 08541-6671; or by Phone: (609) 771-7300 or (888) 225-5427 (toll-free in the U.S. and Canada); or via e-mail at:
So, after all is said and done - how many AP/Honors courses should a student take? The answer is different for every student - but the best advice for every student is to pursue the most rigorous curriculum they are capable of in the subject areas that they are most passionate about! This is clearly the best predictor of future success in college. However, you should resist the temptation to simply pick the number of AP/Honors courses that seem to be required for admission to a particular college or university - this strategy will backfire when the combined workload of multiple advanced courses begins to crush a student's spirit.
Thus, the primary reasons a student should take Honors or Advanced Placement (AP) courses would be to learn more, to challenge themselves, and to prepare themselves for college. Ultimately, there is a college out there for every student based on their unique combination of skills, abilities, SAT's, extracurriculars, & academic transcript!
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