COA classes: live the college experience

Grace Cobb, Staff Writer

When deciding what classes to take in the future, be careful about choosing between advanced placement and dual enrollment COA classes.  I am a firsthand example of why taking COA classes is more helpful for students in the future.

The difference between COA and AP classes is that AP classes are rigorous courses focused on one subject leading to a final exam in May. These exams are scored 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest. In contrast, dual enrollment classes are offered through our local community college.

Although you might think that AP courses help you get ahead in college, get credit and look better to colleges, that is not always the case.  My sophomore year I took AP US History.  All the writing we had done in class helped my writing improve, but when May rolled around, I got a 1 on the exam.  Throughout the year, I maintained an “A” in the class and ended the year with a 95, which helped my GPA a lot.  Unfortunately though, I did not receive college credit for that class after all the work I had done in that class.

I, however, was not the only person in my class that did poorly my AP exams.  Most of my classmates also got either a 1 or 2 on their exams, which was not a surprise because the exams were extremely difficult. Most students don’t receive college credit for taking AP classes since most universities only accept 5’s on the exams now.

Starting junior year, I decided not to take anymore AP classes. I switched to face to face classes at the College of the Albemarle. I took both English 111 and English 112, Art 111, Psychology 150 and ACA 122, which is a general educational class that freshman are required to take in college.  Before deciding to take these classes I was informed that I was guaranteed the college credit upon successful completion.  This senior year instead of taking a math at the high school, I am taking MAT 152 which is statistics at COA.

COA Psychology ended up being my  favorite class I have taken in my whole high school career.  My professor, Beth Hughes, was great and knew how to teach the class.  We watched interesting videos and at the end of the semester I had done so well in the class, I was exempt from my exam.  I am now filling out college applications and I have put that I would like to major in Psychology because I could see myself doing something later on with it.

Taking face-to-face classes at COA is also great because you are placed in classes with students from around the world.  You have to work in groups with students that can barely speak English and although it might be hard, you will be more prepared for group activities in college.

Taking AP and COA classes is better than taking regular or honors classes, but in the future, I would encourage students to consider COA classes because not only do some of them require less work than APs but you will also most likely receive college credit for the work you do.