or many students, high school is not the end of a journey, but it is a stepping stone to their future education.  One way that these motivated students prepare for their future education is by taking challenging courses in order to receive college credits that can be applied to college.  

One of the ways that students earn college credits is by taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes.  

These are the same as normal high school classes, normal class schedules, held in the school building, and have highschool teachers.  The difference between these classes and regular classes is that they cover harder material and the students have the option to take an AP exam through the test company College Board.  If they take this test and receive a high enough score, they will be able to receive college credit for the corresponding college class.

The issue with these classes is that if students pay the $96 dollar fee and do not pass the class, they not only wasted 96 dollars, but they also put all their time and effort into a college-level class that they don’t receive college credit for.  

The alternative to taking AP classes and still wanting to receive college credits is by taking actual college classes. Students have the option to take classes at most colleges around the area. These classes will be completely paid for by the school district. This includes tuition, books, and fees. 

When students take these college-level classes, they do not have to take an AP exam to receive college credit. All they have to do is to pass the class. As long as the class they are taking is recognized as credit for the university that the student is planning on attending, they will be given the credit.  

The benefits of taking college classes are that students do not have to be in high school during the block where the class is.  This allows you to have a more flexible schedule. The other benefit of taking these classes is that you are earning real college credits which saves students money.

There are several stipulations to taking college classes that will be paid for by the school district.  The school district will not pay for a class that they already offer. For example, the district will not pay for a speech class taken at a college because the high school offers a communications class with a similar curriculum.  The district will also not pay for classes that are not completed or are failed.

Students should stop focusing on taking AP classes and should explore taking college classes.  Not only are they not paying for the class or the test, but they are automatically receiving college credit for their hard work.