What should you do if your high school doesn't offer advanced classes?

College Search

Our counselors answered:

What should you do if your high school doesn't offer advanced classes?

Suzan Reznick
Independent Educational Consultant The College Connection

Don't worry

With the transcripts, colleges receive a document known as the high school profile. This form will list the range of courses available at your high school, including the list of AP classes offered. This way you will not be adversely judged by not taking a particular AP class, if it was not even offered at your school. If you are still concerned about the lack of rigor on your transcripts, you always have the options of taking some classes at a local community college. If that would not be convenient, then you take college classes online.

Erica White
College & Career Counselor Middletown High School

School Profiles

High schools typically send out school profiles to the admission offices with your transcript. In the profile, it states if advanced classes are offered, how many advanced classes are offered and if students are restricted in the number of classes they may take. If using the commonapp, the school counselor form also has a section where the counselor will report on the number of advanced classes are offered. You will never be penalized if your high school does not offer advanced classes, admission offices will examine if you took the highest level of classes offered and how well you did in those classes.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

Look outside of high school for advanced classes

You should try to take a well regarded class either at a local college or from a respected online resource. There are many pre-ollege courses offered online that will demonstrate your ability and commitment to succeed in college. Ask your guidance counselor for assistance in locating these opportunities.

็Ž‹ๆ–‡ๅ› June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

take the exam only or take the class outside

you can do self study to take the exam directly or you can take the class outside the school such as community college. you may also consider online courses. other options including SATII exams

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Advanced Coursework

If your school doesn't offer AP courses or an IB curriculum there are other options. You may take a class at the local college, earn credit and maybe even get some assistance on the tuition from your high school. Pursuing a course on-line may be a possibility and again, your high school may have an agreement with a program offering the class of interest. There is alway the thought of seeking out a teacher who would allow you to do an independent project/course that would challenge you beyond what is offered. And finally, some faculty are willing to let you make the course more challenging by doing extra credit work at the Honors level.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Challenge yourself

Take courses that challenge you (and that you can get an A or B in). If nothing in your high school challenges you take a class at a community college, or take a course online. Even if your school does not offer AP, there are ways to show the college that you are doing your best to stretch yourself.

Erin Avery
Certified Educational Planner Avery Educational Resources, LLC

Max Out Your Curriculum

If you are even discussing advanced classes then chances are you are a serious student looking to apply to selective colleges. If your school lacks curricular options, that is not your fault. The question remains: what are YOU going to do about it? What CAN you do about it? Three things: 1. Max out your school's curriculum. 2. Seek out online or community college options. 3. Communicate to colleges your school's curricular limitations.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

Take the initiative!

First off -- don't worry. Individual students will not be penalized for the curricular and institutional policies in their high schools which limit advanced course offerings. Colleges will know which courses your school offers because your high school submits a "school report" which describes what kinds of courses it offers. That said -- if you have exhausted the course offerings at your school -- consider pursuing some intellectual interests on your own. Check out your local community college or reputable online schools for AP or other advanced offerings. In addition, remember that you can take the AP exam without taking an AP course! So if you are taking a course at a local college or online that essentially covers AP material -- you might want to consider looking into taking the relevant AP.

Geoff Broome
Assistant Director of Admissions Widener University

What should you do if your high school doesn't offer advanced classes?

That is ok. Don't worry about it. You are be looked at by a college based on what your high school has to offer and what you did with it. Did you take the most rigorous course load that was made available to you. A college can't knock you because of where you live and the fact that your school doesn't have AP or IB Programs.

Ed Garcia
Assistant Professor/Counselor Austin Community College

What should you do if your high school doesn't offer advanced classes?

If you are up for taking advanced courses that have the potential to earn you college credit and high school credit (also known as dual credit) check with your local community college. Lots of community colleges have programs were high school juniors and seniors (sometimes sophomores) can take college level courses at the community college for low cost/no cost provided they meet a certain criteria set by the institution. Most of these programs you can find on the institutions website. Here is an example of one offered by my institution: http://www.austincc.edu/ecs/index.php Just copy and paste the tab above into a new web browser. Each community college well have its own unique set of requirements. It might be good to start at your high school guidance/counseling office first, and then go from there. Oh, one more thing, as a parent and student you can always speak to a member of your schools administration and put a little polite pressure on them to start offering advanced courses. You would be surprised what a little parent involvement and action can do. Take the time and make your voice heard. Consider attending a school board meeting as well. Wish you all well, EG