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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Honors Classes vs AP Classes

Sitting around last night watching college baseball on the computer, I was thinking of how do I come up with a constant flow of things to BLOG about. Then it hit me! Just take a subject that you had discussed with a parent, player or coach on that given day or 1 of the topics that were discussed in days previous. Brilliant idea!.

I received a call from a parent yesterday and like any smart person should do, when you're not 100% sure of the answer make a call and get it right. So I did and now here goes.

This parent of a very talented high school baseball player, asked a question regarding his son's class schedule and course selection for next year. The player is a very good student and has been enrolled in honors classes the last 2 years and now going into his junior year, he has the opportunity to add in AP classes. His parents concern was with athletics, honors classes and now AP classes, how would he be evaluated as a student for admissions into college if his GPA suffered. Does it make a difference? Are courses weighted differently? How will the college coaches look at him dropping from a 90 avg to and 85? All legitimate questions.

I called the VP of Admissions at a prominent University who also happened to be a pretty good college pitcher in his day and is a huge baseball fan. When I posed the questions to him he had a very solid answer that most will understand but for some it could still be cloudy. According to him, every high school has a rating for admissions, this meaning, when your taking honors courses, AP courses or just general high school classes, each school grades out differently. An example, there are schools where students with 85 averages in the general classes score well on their SAT's 1100 in the 2 part. This is a school that will grade out well since the student has a good average and has shown he can acquire good test scores. There are other schools where students with general classes have 95 averages and in the same school, honor students have 90 averages but many of the students have sub 1000 SAT scores. Get the picture?

With that being said, he felt it was very important to maintain the GPA and in order to do so the family and high school guidance counselors should sit together and make a choice of either or, but not both. If he's doing well in the Honor courses, continue to take them with a mix of the general courses available. If as parents you want him to have a few college credits on the way in, then take the AP courses and forget the others in the Honors program. This should be the topic of discussion. As with all student athlete's, time management is a big part of the equation athletically and academically and a good understanding of that goes a long way.

Many of the big time baseball programs in the ACC, SCC and others have started to bring in their high school recruits the summer before they become full time students and have them begin taking classes. This serves a few purposes. The opportunity to be on campus, learn your way around, meet some other students, workout on campus, in the weight room and use the athletic facilities are a bonus. If you can then find a summer team in the area of the school that you can play weekends with also helps. This has been a common practice for years with college football and basketball players with one huge difference, money. These other athletes are usually all on full rides so there is no cost to the family. Baseball players on the other hand are almost ALL on partial scholarships and the families will have to absorb the cost of the summer courses and the living expenses! Thank you NCAA.

Getting back to your course decisions, you must keep in mind that the NCAA accepts only grades in your core courses. For D1 athletics, that's 16 core courses. Your phys-ed, cooking, basket weaving classes that you got all 100's in will not count toward your core GPA and eligibility. You can visit NCAA.ORG or drop me an email if you have questions with this

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