What’s the difference between AP and standard classes?


AP Language and Composition student Abby Fuller reads “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote. AP Lang. students started reading “In Cold Blood” because it contains many rhetorical devices that are on the AP test.

  At Sterling High School there are a variety of classes to take, but you will find there are two main classifications: “normal” academic classes and “advanced” placement classes. With so many options for students, it is best to be informed about the differences.  

  Each student has their own academic level and it is important that the classes the student is taking meet their needs for educational growth. S.H.S. has offered AP classes since at least the early 2000s The purpose is to provide accelerated students with a college-level challenge and prepare them for college enrollment. Students who take AP classes are also automatically enrolled to take the AP test at the end of the year, in which if the student scores a 3 or above they receive a credit towards college.  

  Students who do not wish to enroll in AP classes may take the standard classes that S.H.S. has to provide. These classes provide less of a challenge and there is no pressure for an end-of-the-year test like there is with the AP classes. Class days consist of worksheets, projects, and bonding activities. 

  Many AP teachers also teach normal classes so I wanted to get their opinions. When asked how AP classes prepare students for college, AP Lang. teacher Jennifer Drew said, “AP classes allow students the ability to plan ahead; they know they have to keep track of their schedule and stay on top of readings because there may not be a time to catch up, so I feel as though it helps with time management as well as the skills they would need in college.” Drew is one of many veteran AP teachers within S.H.S. who also teaches other non-AP classes. 

  S.H.S. offers many other classes other than AP classes. Examples include Accelerated English, Algebra, and Publications. Some benefits that come with taking the standard or accelerated classes over the AP classes include things such as less of a workload or working at one’s own pace. When asked why students would be taking accelerated classes, Drew shared: “I find most of the accelerated classes are for lower levels (freshmen and sophomores) and should serve as preparation for taking AP classes later in high school”. 

  S.H.S. offers a total of 13 AP classes, around 89 standard classes, seven accelerated classes, five dual-enrollment classes, and 4 WACC classes. These classes are available for all students to take as long as all prerequisites are met; see the S.H.S. course book for more information.

  Altogether S.H.S. offers many opportunities for students, and many students neglect to take those opportunities. This article hopes to bring attention to the many possibilities students have at S.H.S.