AP classes offer PHS students chance to cut college costs

Students in U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s Patch High School have an opportunity to save money on their college tuition by enrolling in Advanced Placement classes.

Recently, parents, students and PHS faculty members assembled in the school forum to discuss AP courses offered at the high school. AP courses consist of college-level curriculums offered in preparation for college.

Currently there are 12 AP classes offered at PHS. Classes include art history, English literature, biology, calculus AB, chemistry, English, French, German, U.S. history, studio art, statistics and Spanish. Calculus, physics, and computer science A are offered as distance learning classes.

The goals of AP classes are to help students expand their intellectual possibilities, receive college credit after the successful completion of the AP test at the end of each scholastic year, challenge the student through rigorous coursework, and help students with college admissions.

“We want to give our students as many opportunities as we possibly can to help them be successful in college,” said Susan Page, PHS principal. “Learning how to work hard is the key.”

According to “Trends in College Pricing,” a 2008 study by The College Board, students who take AP classes are more likely to graduate college in four years, compared to counterparts who did not take AP classes.

In addition, Cruz Research, Inc., found that colleges look more favorably on students who participated in AP classes in high school when considering potential students for admission, according to www.collegeboard.com.

To get these benefits, students have to put in the work, however.

Students who are interested in participating in the program should be prepared for higher workloads in comparison with regular classes.

“AP classes are all about preparation. You can walk into college and have three to six credit hours completed,” said Claire Dickmeyer, AP English literature and composition teacher at PHS. “This will save you money and free up the time for you to take other classes, no longer graduating in four years, but in less time.”

Many AP teachers require students to do much of their work outside of class through independent study, sometimes requiring the student to designate up to three hours of their free time to one class.

For Victoria Harvey, PHS senior, the extra time is worth the effort.

“I highly recommend any of the Advanced Placement courses for students who plan on continuing their education on a collegiate level.” Harvey said. “Though the work is a bit challenging, it forces the students to reach their full potential and achieve a better work ethic.”