Our oldest daughter just graduated from high school and completed the IB (International Baccalaureate) degree. One of the ‘big sells’ of the program is that she could begin college with sophomore status. Entering college with credit already earned is one of the appeals of AP (accelerated placement) classes as well. The cost of college has quadrupled since DH and I graduated and we were very much looking forward to the benefit of so many credits already earned. One less year to pay for, especially as three of the five schools which DD was looking at have five year teaching programs.
Reality is often different than we believe it ought to be.
Is it possible for DD to begin college as a sophomore? Sure. The scores aren’t back yet, but she has the potential to enter college with 32 credit hours. Now let’s look at the rest of the story. Our state’s universities have apparently decided that they don’t wish to lose that year of revenue. As we visited the schools, we paid close attention to the required classes toward graduation. Each school had unique and specific classes which were required instead of simply wanting x number of credit hours in math, science, etc, or listing a few different classes in each category which can be used to meet the requirement.
This means that starting with sophomore status does not mean that DD will be able to graduate a year early. At best, with very careful planning, she can gain a semester. That does no good with the fifth year of the secondary ed. teaching program as the fall semester is part time student teaching in her minor and spring semester is full time student teaching in her major. The order cannot be shifted, and the semester in which each student teaching session takes place is also set.
Add to this that the price per credit hour increases with upper class status. I really hope that is determined as 300 level classes and up, not simply class standing.
Granted, our daughter is going the honor college route, but even without that course of action, the schools have changed how course requirements are structured. I don’t know how much AP/IB programs really gain for a student any more.
We barely saw our senior this past year. I heard tons of complaining when I did see her, and the IB degree was her decision. I had tried to talk her out of it, so for all of the complaining I did hear, there was more to be said that she saved for her sister to avoid hearing that it was her own choice that put her where she was.
I had planned on encouraging my son to take AP classes, but the classes are a lot of extra work and the tests which qualify a student for college credit are $90 each. Is it worth his effort and our money when it won’t be likely to affect his graduation date? I’m really questioning it. If your child is considering AP or IB, I strongly suggest you do a little investigation on the college side of things and see if it’s truly worth it in your case.
Our daughter is feeling awfully misled right now.