As students create their new schedules for the 2020-2021 school year, curiosity has been shown towards the AP and AICE courses. Earning credits from these classes can help students prepare earlier for college, which can help them get a head start on their future.
However, being prepared to take these classes is a lot easier said than done. Students must keep good grades and know how to manage their time wisely.
“I know that I’m prepared because I am currently able to keep my grades up and still have time to do other things,” freshman Aurora Del Vecchio said. “This year, my classes have been easy to keep up with, and I’m excited for a new challenge.”
It’s also a good idea to create a schedule when it comes to workload. This can help with time management and makes sure that students won’t fall apart due to the amount of work they have.
“I plan on setting up a time chart where I work for an allotted amount of time and then take a break, continuing until all my work is done,” freshman McKnight Welzbacher said. “To ensure I don’t procrastinate, I have a ‘point-and-reward’ system with myself. For example, if I get all my homework done before 5:30, then I can read for an hour, but if I wait until 8:30, then I can only read for 30 minutes.”
Once students are ready to take on the challenges of these college-level courses, they can start selecting the classes they are most interested in taking.
“If you plan well, it’s only two courses per year,” counselor Michele Fineis said. “Just be sure to keep a balance; it’s a good idea to talk to your counselor to see if you are ready and to help get a realistic picture of what you are taking altogether.”
Even if students want to get a head start on college, it’s always a good idea to slow down and think about it.
Through AP courses, students can get a better advantage in college. The AP courses count as college credits, so if students complete six or more courses, they can go straight to sophomore year of college.
“Next year I plan on taking two AP classes,” Del Vecchio said. “I want to get a head start on college, but it isn’t necessary to worry too much about it right now. I’ll probably take more AP classes junior year, but I want to make sure that I’ll be able to keep up with the work before deciding to do too many.”
Taking the route of the AICE courses is a completely different ballgame. It’s more strict and has a lot more requirements.
“To receive the AICE Diploma, you must complete and receive a passing exam score, totaling seven Cambridge credits,” Fineis said. “The courses that we offer are AICE English General Paper AS, AICE European History AS, AICE English Language AS, AICE Thinking Skills AS, AICE Marine Science A Level and AICE Global Perspectives AS. When a student takes their first AICE exam, they must complete all requirements for the AICE Diploma within three school years.”
Taking seven courses in a matter of three years can be difficult, so not overworking yourself is key.
“To make sure I don’t overwork myself, I won’t take too many classes,” Del Vecchio said. “I’d rather have good grades with only a couple of classes than overload my schedule with them and be flooded with work.”
However, the AICE diploma is very beneficial with its scholarship rewards.
“Receiving the AICE Diploma will get you the highest level of Bright Futures Scholarship in the state of Florida,” Fineis said. “This pays for 100% of your tuition at a state school. An AICE Diploma recipient can get this scholarship as long as they have their 100 hours of pre-approved community service and their two levels of a world language. Also, the AICE courses, like AP and Dual Enrollment, are viewed as the most rigorous courses we offer when being reviewed for college admissions.”
The scholarships related to AICE are heavily dependent on what school you attend. AICE is going to be accepted by any public Florida college. The same can’t be said about other states and private schools.
Both the AP courses and AICE diploma have their pros and cons, but involving yourself with the program proves more beneficial in the end.
“Stay focused on your goal, but keep a balance with the courses you are taking in addition to your AICE and AP courses,” Fineis said. “Don’t overwork yourself.”