High school holds a variety of opportunities to aid students in their future careers. From AP courses, to half days at Jefferson College, there are multiple ways students can work to achieve their educational goals while still in high school. One such chance is CAP, the College Acceleration Program. Much like AP and dual credit courses, CAP offers student college level courses in exchange for credit hours. This will lead to the student finishing school with college credits. The main differences are that CAP is at the Jefferson College Arnold Campus, and students will graduate high school with an Associate of Arts degree. On top of this, AP classes tend to last a year, while parallel courses tend to only last a semester in CAP. So, what are some of the school’s opinions on the program?
Language arts teacher Steve Boyd believes the program is an amazing opportunity for students at the school. “I think students get a real college experience with the CAP program,” he said, “and you’re earning 15 credit hours a semester, and 60 credit hours in two years and graduating high school with an associates degree. That’s why I think that cap is a good program. It saves you time and money in the long run, and I think it prepares you for college.”
Hazel Shipley, 11, is one of the twenty juniors who are participating in their first semester of CAP. Like many of the others, she already enjoys the program. “It gives me a lot of opportunity for the future, and because it gets me out of the normal high school environment and lets me see more of the world, like going into the adult world,” she said. Shipley then pointed out what she believes to be the hardest part. “The hardest part is math, because math is hard,” She said. However, she then went on to explain some of the perks of CAP. “The work is, it’s like you don’t get like busy work,” Shipley said, “You don’t get a little homework that is due every day. You get bigger things that still take a lot of time to work on but they’re not due every class, and you get a schedule so that you know how much time you have between things.”
Melisa Grabic, 11, had slightly different opinions on the work. “[T]he hardest part is probably… in college it’s deadline after deadline after deadline, and sometimes it’s hard to like to keep up with that,” Grabic said, “you get a little backtracked, but the teachers are always there and willing to help you if you need it.” Overall though, CAP is still a program that she thinks is extremely beneficial. “I like that it gives me an opportunity to further my education while still in high school so that way I’ll be ahead of the game once I get to actual college,” she said. On top of this, Grabic pointed out the potential for students. “I think the best part of the program is how accessible it is to like anyone who tries hard enough can get into it, and anyone who has put some effort into their education previously can get into it.”
“I think it’s a great opportunity. You can get like an Associates degree and just get a head start through college,” Luke Joggerst, 11, said. “I’d like to go to either SLU or Baylor and go into pre-med, and I think this will help because it will take off a couple years of college.… I feel like it’s also great for scholarship opportunities,” he added. Overall though, Joggerst only thought of one main difficulty. “Just, doing the homework and mymathlab,” Joggerst said, talking about an online homework website, “Mymathlab is rough,”
Shipley and Grabic also participate an AP course at the school. So, when comparing the two they each felt that there were some other differences rather than location and pace. “I learn more from the college courses, and the AP class is more stressful. I like the longer class periods at college because, like short class periods, I didn’t think of our class periods as short until this year,” Shipley said, “and then I would get back to Fox and the bell would ring, and I would be like, ‘that’s the end of class?’”
Much like Shipley, Grabic agreed that “I would say that doing the college courses, it’s a lot less stressful than … the one singular AP course that I am taking, which is pretty wild,” Grabic said, “The workload specifically in my AP course, which is AP Computer Sciences. The course load is a lot heavier than my college classes, and the AP course here is more of a you have to teach yourself kind of thing. Whereas in college the teachers are always there and ready to help you.”
Maria Scopino pointed out a different aspect of the CAP and AP courses. “There’s no major difference. They are two courses that both have high rigor, and so the way I look at it, the AP courses and the CAP courses are going to get you to the same place. They’re both going to get you to college. So, the AP courses that are designed in the high school are supposed to be designed to have a rigor level that is higher than most, and the CAP courses are dual enrollment. That’s supposed to have a rigor level higher than most. So, to me, it’s a win-win whether you decide to do AP or CAP courses. It’s just whatever’s the right path for that kid,” Scopino said.
If you are a sophomore and both programs interest you, then Boyd recommends talking to students in each, to see firsthand what would most benefit you. “I would tell them to go talk to Cassidy Waigand, and Sydney Bauer, McGuire Hathaway and his older brother Jordan…. I would put them in touch with them and say ask them yourself,” Boyd said. “So, I would have them talk to CAP and then I would have them talk to AP students. I wonder if there are any AP students taking five AP classes. Then I would compare the two experiences… I could put them in touch with somebody to speak to.” In the end though, as Scopino said, it all comes down to “whatever’s the right path for that kid.”