Parish to offer college-level classes

Published 12:03am Wednesday, May 29, 2013

VIDALIA — Concordia Parish students may get a jump-start on college before graduation next year.

The Concordia Parish School District will host an informational meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday at the central administration building for parents with students in 11th and 12th grade.

Director of Secondary Education Rhonda Wilson said the meeting is intended to walk parents through the potential benefits the classes offer.

The advanced placement (AP) program gives high school students the opportunity to enroll in college-level courses at their school.

The students take the courses as part of their regular high-school curriculum and take a test at the end of the year to determine if they can receive college credits.

“These courses are not for every single student because they are high-rigor and high-expectation classes that won’t just be a vocabulary test at the end of the week,” Wilson said. “While the courses are more difficult, they could potentially let a student graduate with the first semester of college under their belt.”

The school district will offer three different AP courses next school year — physics, English language and composition and European history.

Students take an AP exam at the end of the year and are graded on a scale of one to five, with five being the highest.

Each college or school uses its own policy regarding the number of hours or credits it gives for a student’s score on the AP exam.

Louisiana State University and the University of Louisiana at Monroe, for example, gives a total of six credit hours for a score of 4 on the AP physics or English and language composition tests.

Wilson said an average cost of a three-hour college class at LSU is approximately $723, which means successful AP exam results could mean a significant amount in savings.

“If you can get 18 hours of college credit before you even graduate high school, that’s a semester of college right there,” Wilson said. “When you look at how much college costs these days, it could be a sizable and worthwhile investment in the long run.”

Superintendent Paul Nelson said the AP courses also allow the students to familiarize themselves with the level of work needed to pass a college class.

“It’s not an easy road so to speak, but it will increase rigor and increase their knowledge and skill sets for them to be prepared when they hit that first semester of college,” Nelson said. “Here they also have the high school teachers who they know they can go to if they need extra help.”

White said enrollment information for the AP classes will also be available at the meeting Thursday.