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  1. #1
    Member Cyrix_2k's Avatar
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    AP Classes vs. Community College. Which is better?

    Okay, I've asked this question numerous times at my school and have yet to receive a straight answer. I have the option to take college classes next year at our community college. However, the classes I would be taking there are also offered as AP classes at our school. From what I understand, the AP is supposed to be the equivalent to the college class, so I would imagine the college class would be the better option. But, my teachers have all said they feel the AP classes teach more then their college counterparts. Which is the better option?

    Here's my Pros & Cons so far:

    College Pros:
    -I am guaranteed credit as long as a I pass
    -It IS the college course
    -Exposed to college atmosphere

    College Cons:
    -I have to drive, though not very far
    -I have to pay for the classes
    -Possibly less informative classes then their AP equivalents

    AP Pros:
    -FREE (edit - test is ~$70)
    -At my home school
    -Good teachers

    AP Cons:
    -The test does not guarantee credit
    -not the college class
    Last edited by Cyrix_2k; 07-15-06 at 05:37 PM.

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  2. #2
    Senior Django-loving Member Captain Newbie's Avatar
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    You get AP's for free, huh? Good job.

    Answer: both. Or better yet get a 4.0 and don't worry about it.
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  3. #3
    Member Cyrix_2k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Newbie
    You get AP's for free, huh? Good job.

    Answer: both. Or better yet get a 4.0 and don't worry about it.
    The class is free but the test is ~$70.

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  4. #4
    Administratively Deficient Thelemac's Avatar
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    I did both. My preference was the Community College class, I felt I learned a lot more, because they teach the class, not for the test. Plus, in several cases, it's taught faster, as some APs are one college class taught over the year, and one college class is a semester long.
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  5. #5
    Member daniel_dynasty's Avatar
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    I am in your situation too, but yet to recieve a straight answer haha.

    I am taking US History and Spanish 1 at my local community college right now. It costs $26 a unit, HIST1 is 3 units and SPAN1 is 4 units. It is guaranteed credit as long as you pass, but as a downside there is one problem I see. You wont have enough classes for the coming school year.

    This fall I hope to take a majority of my classes at the community college, the only things I will have to take at my high school is math and english. Hopefully it will work out okay.

    College life is much better than high school life from what I can tell so far. It is more self study than teachers pushing you. If you feel like not showing up or leaving class early, no one cares. It becomes more thinking than the hard facts. For example, my history class professor talks about WHY the event was significant, I would say APUSH would focus more on dates and what/where it happened more. M-W and M-Th (depending on units)(3 hours a day) is when I goto class, many times class will end early, half an hour earlier usually. During the normal school year, classes are either once or twice a week for 3 hours; much less time spent in class than in high school. Plus you only get a few tests every now and then granted you have 4-5 paged essays due all the time.

    PS: Not only will you have to pay for class, books are a huge load money-wise. They can range from $20-$100. I tend to buy them used or on amazon(etc.) for about half the retail price.

  6. #6
    Member Cyrix_2k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daniel_dynasty
    College life is much better than high school life from what I can tell so far. It is more self study than teachers pushing you. If you feel like not showing up or leaving class early, no one cares. It becomes more thinking than the hard facts. For example, my history class professor talks about WHY the event was significant, I would say APUSH would focus more on dates and what/where it happened more. M-W and M-Th (depending on units)(3 hours a day) is when I goto class, many times class will end early, half an hour earlier usually. During the normal school year, classes are either once or twice a week for 3 hours; much less time spent in class than in high school. Plus you only get a few tests every now and then granted you have 4-5 paged essays due all the time.
    That sounds good to me. I have all my graduation requirements taken care of at my school so I'm free to do as I please. I might try and take some evening college classes while I'm still in high school so that I don't miss out on high school too much.

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  7. #7
    Member daniel_dynasty's Avatar
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    Yeah.. forgot to comment my community college classes for fall are going to be once a week from 7-10pm.

    May I ask what classes you plan on taking?

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    I did both in high school and personally will recomend you take the classes at the community college. In one year of hs you could take one ap class or take 2 classes at the college. One each semester. I also found that the community college classes were easier and far more relaxed the the HS counter parts. They treat you like an adult while the AP classes still treat you like a kid.
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  9. #9
    Member scott d's Avatar
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    Either way, you have to make sure the credits are going to transfer. A lot of the time you're required to take certain core classes at your university. The only class i was able to skip was Calc 1. Physics transferred as some pre-req class, and most of my other APs were the same. Also, you don't want to short-change yourself by taking an easier version of a course at a community college. My girlfriend took an accounting class at community college then took the same class again at UF and covered the entire CC course in the first three weeks.

  10. #10
    Member b1029384756's Avatar
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    I did both in high school and can tell you that the college classes are definitely better. Yes, you have to pay for the classes, but at most community colleges, they realize that they're not Harvard and the administration usually don't act all stuck up, and being a paying customer gives you some leverage and most of the time you'll actually get what you pay for. A class has a prequisite that you know you don't need and won't be able to use for a degree? Go barge into the dean's office and insist that you not be required to take it. A class is full? Find the professor and get him to sign the release form. Be reasonable but don't accept that things have to be a certain way just because "that's the way things always were" or "our computers won't let you do that". We have computers to help us be more productive, not so that we can have something to dictate our limitations. You will be paying for it, so don't accept anything less than what you're entitled to.

    You should also keep in mind that not every college accepts AP test scores, and, although that's true about any type of transfer credit, you're far less likely to run into problems when having taken the proper class at a real college and received an actual letter grade. I don't know what your long term educational plans are, whether you plan to go to a 4-year public college or private college (the private ones are less likely to accept AP tests and other transfer credit because they have a financial incentive not to do so). Or do you want to seek a degree from the community college, or both? Either way, I don't see how you could possibly be better off with the AP classes.

    Not to mention that the less you have to deal with ETS, the better. They're a monopoly established through graft and corruption and know exactly how much power they have and don't hesitate to exercise it. They're a huge part of the reason why I'm having trouble becoming a teacher now. Well, that, and the state, neither of which has any balls except when it comes to stacking profit.

    If you're actually concerned about what you might learn from the class, the AP class is focused on just getting you to pass the test, which, I hope you'd consider to be a waste of time.

    The only possible downside is if you don't have enough high school credits to graduate. Check into the possibility of your school district accepting the college classes as high school credit (and possibly even making them pay for it like I did). Find a guidance counselor that has your back 100% and go for it.

    Finally, in college, you're treated like a man instead of a kid. You need to go to the bathroom in the middle of class? That's fine, do it (preferably in the area with the toilets). Lecture boring and repetitive and you want to leave for food/cigarettes/arcade machines? Go for it. You won't get sent to ISS for using the F word either.
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  11. #11
    Member TalRW's Avatar
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    I would take as many of the classes at the college. Heck I wish I had done it in HS it would been better to take all my classes at the JC since the classes count for both HS and college credit and you don't have to pass the lame AP test. Personally I vote for the JC because I think taking a JC class is easier than passing an AP test.
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  12. #12
    Member daniel_dynasty's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention, www.ratemyprofessors.com is your best friend. Schedule classes around professors who know their stuff (you may also schedule it around professors who are easy, helpful, clearness, etc etc.). Look in the college catalog, either in the catalog itself, or check online (if they have a system) for where the credit can be applied. Make sure you get credit for the college you want to goto, some classes here are 'CSU and/or Degree Appropriate' meaning only Cal State or if you are going to get a degree in that field. Of course I live in California and it will differ but I only take classes that give UC credit. You will have to take a placement test if you want to take a class with a prerequisite, history needs eligibility for ENG 68 where I go so a placement test (essay) is needed.

    I still cannot find a definitive answer as to having classes at community colleges good or bad. They can see it from two perspectives: a) this kid strives for education and seeks it whereever he can b) this kid is a slacker and wants to take classes off his school courseload.
    This may not apply to you but it certainly does for me since I will only be taking math and english at school, that is 2 classes.. the rest (4 courses) at the community college. Anyone know a college admissions office personell on these forums?

  13. #13
    Member Cyrix_2k's Avatar
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    Thanks for the all the information. I was planning on taking some entry level computer courses and the basic stuff like English (now taken by AP). Maybe I should ditch pre-calc at my HS and take pre-calc & calc at the college or atleast take calc at the college.

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  14. #14
    Member daniel_dynasty's Avatar
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    I am pretty sure you cant take math or english classes at a community college, I would prefer not to anyways. Too much information to soak in at one time that is very important.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by daniel_dynasty
    I am pretty sure you cant take math or english classes at a community college, I would prefer not to anyways. Too much information to soak in at one time that is very important.
    tha'ts not quite true.

    i would do community college for the following reason

    1) easy (not sure how easy it is compare to AP test, i did both, but i did not work at the AP test, manage to pass it with a 3, did community college classes, didn't work on it, ended up with a B and pass)
    2) less work? ya i think cuzz u'll probably end up with less time in class at the community college

    3) less restriction


    u will not experience college experience at a community college. it's pretty much an extension of high school, the classes are quite relax/easy, they're small so u learn a little easier than university. and getting a C to pass is pretty easy since most classes are grades on the curve with consideration of attendance and HW. so i do believe that they are easier than taking the AP tests.
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    Member Papier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daniel_dynasty
    I am pretty sure you cant take math or english classes at a community college, I would prefer not to anyways. Too much information to soak in at one time that is very important.
    Um, yes you can. They offer all developmental and college level math and english courses. For example, if you're not into college english yet, you go into developmental english. Same for math. They lack the advance classes that universities offer though.

    I say take a few AP classes when you can and go to a community college. Always talk to someone about what you're taking though. For example, at my community college math and science classes transfer, but only english 1 can transfer. It's different at each college.

    You can save yourself a semester or two if you plan very well. Also remember that most community colleges have transfer programs to universities so you still win anyway. Get your basics like math, english, and stuff like that in AP and community college, then transfer to a universitiy. Saves you time and money.

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    college is not about learning, it's about developing methods to pass your class. i'm pretty sure a crap load of people graduate from college did not learn squat. some college even go by the quarter system, 4 class = 10 weeks, awsome, personally i never learn crap from it, even after hours of studying, it's freaking sad.
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