What Are Achievement Classes in High School? | Great Value Colleges (2023)

What Are Achievement Classes in High School? | Great Value Colleges (1)

Honors courses generally refer to unique upper-level classes that progress at a faster pace and cover more material than regular classes. Honors classes are generally reserved for talented high school students who excel in certain subjects. Passing an honors class is a great way for high school students to demonstrate their academic competence and discipline to college admissions boards.

What are honors classes?

The term honors is commonly applied to a variety of high school courses that are considered more academically demanding. Students who enroll in honorary classes often receive more academic recognition and use this to help them gain scholarships and admission to their host university.

From a historical perspective, honors courses involved demanding college preparatory classes designed for high-achieving or academically accelerated students. Today, honors classes are open to any student who earns a teacher recommendation or maintains a B average or better in a similar class.

Please note that there are no official standards when it comes to the honors course, so these classes can vary greatly in design, quality and content depending on which school you attend.

What is the meaning of honorary classes?

The word "honor" comes from the Anglo-Frenchhonor. It denotes rank, distinction, victory, triumph, and dignity. It was first used to describe academic excellence in the term "List of Honor" in 1872.

What is an honorary course versus an AP course?

There can be a lot of confusion regarding the differences between an honorary course and an AP course. As both are designed to demonstrate academic excellence, they are often confused. However, there are some important differences between the two.

While an honors course might be considered the most challenging course available, specialized Advanced Placement (AP) courses are more academically rigorous.

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Rigor levels for Advanced Placement and AP courses vary dramatically by state and school. Some factors that contribute to academic variation and class outcomes include faculty, students, and geographic area.

AP Courses

The main difference between honors and AP is that AP courses earn college credit. To receive college credit for a completed AP course, a high school student must pass the AP exam with a score of three or better. Most universities require a score of at least four, with a maximum score of five.

Students who enroll in AP courses must also take AP exams in the spring. These exams (and all AP classes) are standardized and created by the College Board. In that sense, they're more like real college courses, except they're often even more demanding. They typically require more reading, more challenging tests, and higher overall expectations.

The good news about AP courses is that those who do well on the exams will earn college credit for each course they take. They can then transfer these credits to the university of their choice after finishing high school.

Honorary Courses

Honors courses are much more flexible than AP courses. Since there is no standardization, schools can create honors programs in any subject they choose. Curricula can be determined by state officials, school district administrators, and even honor teachers themselves.

Students do not earn college credits for completing honors courses. Honors courses are designed for students who want a more challenging curriculum and are willing to go the extra mile to demonstrate academic motivation.

What are high school honors versus college honors classes?

At secondary level, regular classes are tailored to the needs of the average student. These classes are also called Standard, Level, and College Prep classes. They meet all state requirements and are taught at a level designed for typical college students.

Honorary classes are a step above regular classes. They delve deeper into a subject and generally move at a faster pace. In addition, they are more demanding in terms of preparation, time and study. Teachers often expect more from students when they are teaching a special class. In many high schools, special classes go hand in hand with things like science fairs and other special projects.

regular classes vs. honor classes

Regular High School ClassesHigh School Honors Classes
Pace for the typical studentfaster pace
more direct instructionStudent-led learning
More support for teachersThe teacher acts more like a coach
For the typical student who wants a passing gradeFor students who want to be challenged beyond expectation
less homeworkMore study and independent work.

What are high school honors versus college honors classes?

The most significant difference between high school honors and college honors is the academic focus. High school honors classes require more hours of work at a faster pace, but college honors classes focus more on promoting a student-centered education. That is, they provide students with educational opportunities to develop their own ideas, discuss problems, and embrace innovation.

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The College's honors programs strive to create an open and engaging atmosphere for students that emphasizes diverse thinking, small class sizes, interdisciplinary courses, and greater student and faculty involvement.

What Are Achievement Classes in High School? | Great Value Colleges (2)

Will taking honors classes increase my GPA?

This largely depends on how your school rates GPAs. Many schools use a weighted GPA scale. This can offer students taking AP or honors classes the opportunity to increase their grade point average. This is because you might only get a 4.0 in a regular college prep class, while an honors or AP class might get a 4.5 or even a 5.0. However, this will only benefit you regarding scholarships and class rankings.

Colleges often recalculate GPAs to eliminate the schools' additional award for AP or honors students. This allows them to compare candidates fairly, as not all high schools use a weighted system.

However, if you are applying for a scholarship from a local organization or your school, your GPA will generally remain weighted. This will increase your chances as a scholarship candidate, as the higher AP class scores and fees are more impressive than the regular college prep class scores.

Will taking honors courses affect my chances of admission to the school?

The strength of the curriculum you do in high school is a strong indicator of what you will be able to do in college. So yes, colleges look favorably on applicants who are successful in these more difficult disciplines.

On your high school transcript, honors courses can help you when it comes to competitive programs with limited places available. They can give you an edge over other candidates who haven't completed the same rigorous courses.

How do I get into honor classes?

If you know you want to take honors courses in high school, you might be wondering how to go about that. The answer will differ depending on the school itself, although in most cases you'll need to start by talking to your student advisor or guidance counselor.

Explain to them that you would like to take an honors course and find out what the admission requirements are. In some cases, you may need to complete a project in advance or take a standard-level class as a prerequisite. For example, you may need to complete a specific English project or score at least 85 percent to be considered for the honorary version of the class. Why? Your school needs to know that you can handle the extra coursework first.

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You will likely need a certain GPA to enroll in an honors course, and you may also need a recommendation from a qualified instructor.

What skills do I need to succeed in honorary classes?

To succeed in any class, you must have a solid understanding of the actual cognitive processes involved in learning, and this is achieved by developing a set of habits. Coursera offers a useful course through the UC called"Learning to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects."Taking a free online course like this one can help you set up a system that works for you.

In general, the skills needed to succeed in higher-level honors courses include:

Develop excellent time management skills.
Start experimenting with different note-taking skills.
Improve your organizational skills
Maintain personal and academic integrity.
Be reliable and deliver your work on time or well in advance
Learn to work independently
Take the initiative by exploring topics on your own
Never plagiarize or cheat

Is it better to take the honorary version or the AP version of a class?

Choosing between taking an honors course or an AP course can be a challenge. Your decision mostly comes down to your personal goals. If you are simply looking for a more challenging academic experience, honorary classes are the right choice. However, if you're looking to earn college credit, consider the AP version of the course.

Understand that AP and Honors classes are beneficial to your application process. Universities like to see both, as it demonstrates their motivation to explore higher-level academic study.

What Are Achievement Classes in High School? | Great Value Colleges (3)

How many honorary classes should I take?

If you're an achievement enthusiast, it can be tempting to take as many advanced courses as possible, but you should also try to be realistic. Never apply to more honors courses than you can manage. Universities are impressed by academic excellence and students who challenge themselves. However, they are also impressed by students who have common sense, common sense and who know their own limitations.

Trying to do too much at once and getting low grades will affect you worse than if you just took a special class and excelled in it. Remember, colleges don't look for students who already know everything. They want students who have the ability to excel once they are admitted.

As you reflect on your course choice, talk to your advisor, parents, and teachers about what you think you can handle. They can remind you of any limitations you may have overlooked and help you create a manageable schedule.

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Is it better to get an "A" in a regular class or a "B" in a special class?

The short answer is that a B in a special class might be more beneficial to you than an A in a regular college prep class. But why?

During the admissions process, your transcript is evaluated not only for your individual grades, but also for the difficulty level of your study plan. Earning a B in an honors class shows you can handle the rigors of the most demanding courses. This indicates that you are willing to put in the extra effort required to be academically challenged.

Colleges want to see your willingness to put in the effort, even if you don't get a perfect grade. This demonstrates that you have what it takes to contribute to the university community and perform well in the academic demands of a more challenging workload. If you know you can excel in a regular course, seriously consider the honorary version of the course.

What if I'm not sure I can succeed on an honors course?

With most things in life, the general rule is that you should at least try, even if you're sure you won't succeed. However, with honors classes, the opposite applies. This is because getting a low grade (or worse, failing the top course) can have a significant negative effect on your college application.

If you think you have a good chance of getting a C or lower on an honorary course, consider taking the regular course version. It's much better to get an A or B in a regular class than to get a C or lower in a high-level honor class.

final thoughts

Successful graduation from a high school honors program shows colleges how serious a student is academically and how ready they are to challenge themselves. In certain situations, the honor student can be exempted from taking certain initial college courses, which will save a lot of time and money, but only AP courses guarantee college credit.

Being accustomed to faster paces and higher levels of challenge will help the honor student deal with difficult college classes. However, taking too many honors classes can overwhelm a student with too many social plans, personal obligations, and extracurricular commitments. Honorary students will have less time for other meaningful activities, so they must carefully select classes and manage their time effectively.

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What achievements do colleges look for? ›

  • Good Grades. Earning good grades is the most critical factor for college applications. ...
  • Challenging High School Curriculum. ...
  • Strong Standardized Test Scores. ...
  • A Well-Written Essay. ...
  • Extracurricular Participation and Leadership Skills. ...
  • Diversity. ...
  • Enthusiasm for the School. ...
  • Letters of Recommendation.

What do colleges look for in extracurricular activities? ›

The type of extracurricular doesn't matter as much as why you're doing it. Colleges want to see you use extracurriculars to pursue your passion, experience something meaningful, increase your knowledge in your academic interest, or showcase your leadership abilities.

Does taking honors classes in high school really help? ›

Yes. Honors classes can demonstrate to colleges that a student has strong academic interests and high academic achievement.

Is taking honors classes in college worth it? ›

Benefits of Honors Classes

They can be more enjoyable and engaging for advanced students. They look amazing to college admission departments as they show you're willing to go the extra mile. You can explore your interests in a more advanced setting, possibly even helping you make a decision about your major in college.

What are 3 key achievements? ›

List of achievements
  • Re-organized something to make it work better.
  • Identified a problem and solved it.
  • Come up with a new idea that improved things.
  • Developed or implemented new procedures or systems.
  • Worked on special projects.
  • Received awards.
  • Been complimented by your supervisor or co-workers.

What extracurriculars impress colleges? ›

What Are the Best Extracurriculars for College?
  • Leadership Work and Positions. Colleges seek out applicants with leadership experience. ...
  • Part-Time Jobs. ...
  • Sports and Athletic Participation. ...
  • Academic Clubs and Teams. ...
  • Artistic and Creative Pursuits. ...
  • Volunteering and Community Service. ...
  • Internships.

How many extracurriculars do you need for a good college? ›

How Many Extracurriculars Should You Do? Strong applications tend to have between 8 and 10 extracurricular activities. This sounds like a lot, but many activities are seasonal, so it's possible to fit, for example, three to four sports into one year.

Do colleges look more at grades or extracurriculars? ›

First things first: grades matter most

While extracurricular activities are a factor in college admissions, they are definitely not the most important—academic performance is! Grades, a solid GPA, and the strength of curriculum matter most to the admission officers evaluating your student.

Do colleges prefer AP or honors? ›

Colleges like them both. Both honors and AP courses are rigorous courses that most high schools weight more heavily on your transcript. AP courses, however, culminate in the AP Exam. Good AP scores show colleges you are ready to succeed at college-level work and can even earn you college credits.

Is graduating with honors a big deal in high school? ›

Graduating with honors makes your college application stand out in highly competitive colleges. An honorary graduation shows a college admission board that you are well versed with college coursework and what it demands of you.

Is it better to get an A in regular or B in honors? ›

The answer that most colleges will give you is that it's better to get an A in the Honors/AP class. And most highly-selective schools will expect that you do. But many colleges would rather see a B in an Honors or AP course than a higher grade in a regular college prep course.

Are honors classes actually hard? ›

Honors classes are a step above regular classes. They are more in-depth on a subject and usually move at a faster pace. Additionally, they are more demanding in terms of preparation, time, and studying. Teachers typically expect more out of students when they are taking an honors class.

Is it OK to take all honors classes? ›

Yes, you can take as many Honors classes as you want.

Is graduating with honors better? ›

Students who graduate with high honors are more likely to get a good job after graduation and earn more money over their lifetime than their peers who graduate without honors. That's because employers (and graduate schools) prefer well-educated applicants who show they can succeed in a competitive environment.

What are 2 examples of achievements? ›

10 examples of achievements for a resume
  • Learned a new language. ...
  • Earned a top GPA in a highly technical college program. ...
  • Launched a part-time freelance business or consultancy to develop new skills. ...
  • Organized an event to raise money for charity. ...
  • Earned a new degree or certification while working full-time.
Oct 24, 2022

How do you answer an achievement question in an interview? ›

Utilize the STAR Method, Situation – Describe the situation in your personal life or professional career that led to the achievement; Task – talk about the task you had to do to accomplish the achievement; Action – describe the actions you implemented to achieve the accomplishment; Results – discuss the results.

What does high student achievement mean? ›

Student achievement refers to the extent to which a learner has attained their short or long-term educational goals. Individual differences in academic performance are strongly correlated with differences in personality and intelligence.

What are my achievements as a student? ›

“My first extracurricular achievement was that I won a medal in the annual inter schools speech and debates competition. I won first prize in class 5th. I am also an avid reader and good writer. My second extracurricular achievement was that I won a cash prize of 10,000 rupees in an essay writing competition.”

What should I write for college achievements? ›

In such cases, you can use the following tips to highlight your accomplishments:
  1. Include your rank in the educational qualifications. ...
  2. Mention any awards received in competitions. ...
  3. Specify any certifications earned. ...
  4. Make sure to include any volunteering work.
Aug 26, 2020

What should I put for academic achievement? ›

These include your grades, honors, awards, competitive results and experiences that demonstrate your academic prowess, engagement in student life, contributions to your community and resilience. Anything that you have completed such as a degree, certification or standardized test is also potentially an achievement.

What are considered academic achievements? ›

Academic achievement may refer to completing educational benchmarks such as a bachelor's degree. Academic achievement is often measured through examinations or continuous assessments. Academic achievement is the extent to which a student or institution has achieved either short or long term educational goals.

What should I write for greatest achievement? ›

Sample Answers
  • “My greatest achievement is turning around the marketing department at my previous company. ...
  • “One of the things I'm most proud of is how I helped save time and resources for my previous company as an HR administrator.
Jul 18, 2022

What high school achievements should I put on my resume? ›


Don't be shy about adding awards, honors, and accomplishments you have received or leadership roles you've taken on. Honor roll, attendance awards, and sports achievements are all examples of things you can put on your high school resume.

What should I say about my achievements? ›

To do this:
  • First, note what the challenge was. For example, 'I was given the responsibility to…'
  • Next, say what actions you took: 'So I…'
  • Finally, explain what the result was: 'As a result of my efforts…'
  • If you can, quantify the result or achievement in dollars, numbers, and/or percentages, Whitfield says.

What are some personal achievements? ›

6 personal accomplishment examples for job interviews
  • Awarded a permanent position. ...
  • Became an industry expert. ...
  • Developed a new project. ...
  • Received a professional award. ...
  • Received a job promotion. ...
  • Earned a new degree.
Jun 25, 2022

What to say if you have no achievements? ›

Resume Challenges: No Quantifiable Achievements? No Problem.
  1. Use anecdotal evidence rather than concrete numbers or percentages of improvement. ...
  2. Prove your expertise through teaching and training. ...
  3. Demonstrate your soft skills with specific examples.

What are examples of accomplishments? ›

There are a variety of achievements you can list, from managing a project, training a new team member, helping to sell more products, creating a new process, or receiving an award. Find as many accomplishments as you can for your resume, and you'll stand out from other job seekers.

What is your biggest achievement as a student? ›

Your Greatest Achievement In Life As A Student Is Beyond Academics. If you want to become successful in life, you must help yourself first. While academics is the basic scale of measuring success for students, what they do and learn beyond their textbooks also plays a vital role in forming their personal attributes.

How would you describe student achievement? ›

Student achievement refers to the extent to which a learner has attained their short or long-term educational goals. Individual differences in academic performance are strongly correlated with differences in personality and intelligence.


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