Cartoon courtesy of NICOLAS KIM
PRO/CON: Extra Classes
Is the time spent on online and college courses justified?
September 12, 2018
PRO: Endless opportunities for knowledge
As students begin developing clearer goals for their future, they might feel frustrated with the lack of career-oriented courses at Diamond Bar High School. Students should be more conscious of this problem and consider enrolling in classes outside of DBHS.
High school offers a very limited selection of courses that address more specialized majors. Those who are not planning on majoring in biology or mathematics will be affected by a lack of class options. Lack of classes orientated toward their dream jobs may deprive students of valuable knowledge that could be critical to their future careers.
If students never take a class relevant to their interests, college admission officers may interpret this as a lack of interest in that field. Another disadvantage is that students may go into college with very limited knowledge of their major. This may lead to a realization that possible careers in that field isn’t something they’re willing to do for the rest of their lives, resulting in changes of their major and a loss of valuable time and money.
Extra classes aren’t all expensive; many community colleges offer certain courses to high school students for free—meaning individuals who are not financially stable or not willing to spend money can also sign up for these classes.
Some might wrongfully assume that an individual is only taking extra classes to boost their GPA or look more competitive compared to other college applications. However, these are just basic reasons for taking classes outside of DBHS.
Not only do community colleges allow students a chance to learn about a topic not offered at school, they also give high school students the opportunity to experience a real college course in a college classroom while better preparing them for their future.
In addition, for those who have more financial freedom, there are numerous online schools that offer students a variety of courses. Online classes are flexible to accommodate students’ schedules, giving them the option of waking up later, taking days off or finishing multiple chapters or units in just a few hours.
Most schools offer courses that are transferable to your current school or are weighted into your entire GPA, which if you do well in your class, can only help you. The large variety of additional classes will fit your schedule, interests or any other needs. If you are willing to put more time into your education and expand your knowledge, taking additional courses at a local community college or online can only be an advantage and help you in the long run.
CON: A waste of valuable time
On the surface, opting to take outside or online classes while in high school seems like an obvious decision. However, with the heavy load of most Diamond Bar High School students, it is not justifiable to pile on unnecessary work for a benefit that’s not guaranteed.
Encouraging students to get a leg up on their peers has played a significant role in the decision of taking extra college classes in high school. Because of this fixation on the immediate goal of getting into college, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture: personal interests, well being and general happiness.
College and online courses that students take while still working simultaneously toward their high school diploma offers many benefits to those who have a clear picture of their end goal and future career. However, many high schoolers are stressing to get through this time of growth and coming of age by taking on as many classes as they possibly can rather than discovering their own niche. Their time at this vulnerable age should be spent exploring different areas of interest before a student begins to narrow down their specific college endeavors.
Students are seen trudging through their classes, sacrificing hobbies or social life pushed by the phrases, “knocking out classes” and “getting ahead” instead of enjoying the process of being a high schooler.
When teenagers pile on extra college courses to their schedule, they risk falling into the mindset of doing activities to get into college, rather than doing for the sake of learning or self improvement. Students should take advantage of the over 100 extracurriculars offered at DBHS for their own enjoyment. Instead, the constant search for the next best thing result in missed opportunities available right where we are at.
It is important to understand the economic motives behind attending these classes, but choosing this route to reap the benefit of a free or lower-priced course may not be worth it. According to the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, various universities accept academic credits or degrees only from institutions that are only regionally accredited and can pick and choose which courses they accept.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no guaranteed transfer. Therefore, the rush to start banking up on college credit is a concept that can create unnecessary stress, whereas focusing on AP courses during high school is the more viable alternative.
Instead of sacrificing time and effort for these extra courses, student participation in this dual enrollment for a quicker earned degree should be an afterthought rather than a first priority.