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What I learned from Advanced Opportunities night

February 12, 2019

Last week my freshman daughter and I went to an “Advanced Opportunities Night” held at the high school. Neither one of us was eager to go, but I thought the information might be useful for my daughter and for fellow parents.

The cafeteria was packed full of parents and kids who looked as excited to be at the high school in the evening as my daughter and I were. The presentation started with a video explaining honors, AP, concurrent credit, career and technical education and Boise State University’s Sophomore Start and AA program. If you’d like to watch it, here’s a link to the video (it’s nine minutes long, so grab your teenager and some popcorn).

If watching YouTube videos is not your favorite; here are my notes from the evening:

Honors — These classes are accelerated and deeper than regular classes (geared toward the top 10 percent). There are no college credits awarded.

Advanced Placement (AP) — These are very rigorous classes. At the end of the course the student can be awarded college credit, depending on their test score. If they pass the tests, they do not have to take that course in college.

Concurrent CreditThese are college level courses (usually from BSU or the College of Western Idaho) taught at the high school by a certified teacher. The grade received in the course is the grade that will be on the college transcript. Some out-of-state colleges may not accept all the concurrent credits.

Career & Technical Education (CTE)These classes offer specific technical training in a variety of fields like computer programming, welding, plant science, early childhood education, culinary arts, animal sciences and more. Most of these classes need to be taken at a specific high school. In the West Ada District, three high schools offer these courses; Renaissance, Meridian and Centennial. Here is a link, if you want to learn more about CTE programs.

International Baccalaureate (IB)These are two-year courses offered to juniors and seniors. Students study a specific subject matter in depth. Most colleges will give credits for IB classes. In Idaho, IB courses are only offered at North Star Charter, Renaissance High, Riverstone International, Sage International, Wood River High and Wood River Middle School. If you want to learn more about the IB program, click here.

Boise State Sophomore StartThis program is only offered to students in the West Ada and Nampa school districts. BSU works with each student and their advisor to create a degree plan that will help them earn 30 college credits by the time they graduate. Students must have a 3.0 GPA (or higher), be a high school sophomore or junior, and have permission from a parent and school counselor. Some summer courses (taken online or at BSU) may be required. These courses are offered at a reduced rate of $65 per credit (vs. $350). Here is more information about the program.

Boise State Associate DegreeBSU also offers an AA Degree for students attending Eagle or Rocky Mountain high schools. The requirements for this program are the same as the Sophomore Start Program, but they require the student to complete 60 credits (vs. 30) prior to graduation. If your child is interested, you can read the details of the program here. This program could potentially save future college students over $40,000 (considering room and board expenses).

I know this is a lot of information (and you are probably wishing you watched the video instead), but it could make a big impact on your high schooler’s future education (and finances).

Are any of these programs offered at your high school?

Do you have a success story you would like to share? Contact me at [email protected]