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AP Exams Give High Schoolers Head Start On College

Joshua Connors hopes to attend Harvard next year.

The Ivy League mainstay is where studies and exams are demanding, but Joshua says he’s up for the challenge and he’s getting a head start now.

Connors is one of more than 750 students at Palm Desert High School who take Advanced Placement classes.

Despite the rigorous course work, Joshua says the classes get ready for the bigger course college offers.

AP classes also give students a head start. Most colleges accept a passing score on theAP exams as course credit.

So many students enter college as sophomores.

“It’s cheaper for families because they are going in with some units and it costs less to get the Bachelor’s degree,” Josette Last, another AP student at Palm Desert High said. “I can graduate early and pay less.”

Educators encourage students to takeAP exams. Interest among students at Palm Desert goes up every year and the pass rate is also increasing.

“There is a culture here,” Principal Pat Walsh explained. “Students want to be successful.”

Students sayAP classes give them tools to succeed in college putting them ahead of the class.

“It’s a lot of doing things on our own. We have to take a lot of responsibility,” said AP student Emily Prest. “It teaches you work ethic and time management because we have a lot of extra work.”

Students hope the extra step they’re taking now will lead to success beyond the campus and into the career world.

“The key to AP classes is organization and time management. In the future, I will have those skills,” said AP student Brittany Borchard, who hopes to have her own psychiatry firm in the future.

This year, Palm Desert High School will give 900 tests, which is up more than 100 from last year. The pass rate at PDHS is 58 percent, which is right in line with the national average.

To learn more on Advanced Placement classes and exams, visit http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/about.html.

KESQ News Team

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