Honors Classes in High School: What You Need to Know

What are honors classes? Are they worth it?

For high schoolers, honors classes are quite the buzz around campus. 

Why?

For starters, almost every honor student is taking them.

However, these classes are not exclusive to honor students alone. Anyone who is up for a challenge can and is encouraged to take them.

So what are they? Why take them? Are they worth it?

We’re going to answer all those questions in this article. 

What are high school honors classes or courses?

Honors classes, called courses in some schools, are accelerated classes that will boost student preparedness for college.

These classes are available throughout all four years of high school. Most schools only require that you get a GPA of 3, while some require a teacher’s recommendation.

In a nutshell, they’re just like your regular subject classes but much more challenging.

Why take honors classes in high school?

First of all, honors classes provide some great rewards when you pass them with flying colors. 

One of them is that honors classes typically award you with weighted grades

That means that an A in honors classes is 10% higher than what you would get in your regular college prep class. 

To break that down further, an A in an honors class gets you a 4.5 instead of a 4, making it the perfect tool to increase your GPA and help you enroll in your desired university.

Other than boosting your GPA, taking honors classes will:

  • Make the transition to college-level work smoother.
  • Refine your time-management skills as you tackle a more demanding workload.
  • Help you understand intermediate to advanced topics.
  • Give you an edge over your classmates.

What is the difference between honor classes and AP classes

How to get into honors classes?

The easiest way to get into honors classes is to become part of your school’s honor roll.

Each school requires a certain GPA to be an honor student. However, it usually hovers around a GPA of 3.5 — give or take a point. 

If you can manage to maintain such an average, then rest assured that you are free to take any honors classes you have available in your institution.

But what if you can only pull a GPA of 3 despite all your efforts? That’s fine.

If you’re only interested in a particular honors class, you only need to do well in its prerequisite class. 

For example, if you wish to take Honors Math next year, you need to have a grade on your regular math subject — at least finish the school year with a 3.5 on that subject. 

Other schools will still allow you to take them as long as you show determination. You can show that by talking to your advisor and requesting his/her recommendation.

The only reason schools are hesitant to allow everyone to take them is that students risk failing the class and consequently give a negative impact rather than a positive one.

Again, since these classes award weighted grades, failing them can drag you down further.  

Frequently asked questions

Here are some frequently asked questions:

How many honors classes should I take?

You can take as many as you please. 

However, you should be careful and choose only the classes that you think will help you get a better GPA.

Remember that honors classes are a lot harder than your regular ones.

Overloading yourself with these classes can do more harm if you will only get mediocre grades from them.

It’s better to only enroll in one class alone but get impressive grades rather than be in three but perform poorly. 

Are honors classes hard in high school?

Yes.

Honors classes are there to push you to the next level.

Your teachers will teach faster, and there will be more assignments too.

You can think of them as regular college classes but in a high school setting.

They exist to ease the transition between high school and college, which is why you shouldn’t take more than one if you’re having a hard time in your regular classes.

Do colleges care if I take honors classes?

Colleges and universities will evaluate differently. 

In general, however, they do believe that honors classes hold more value than regular ones.

Thus, getting a B in honors classes will look more impressive than an A in regular ones. 

The key here, again, is to get what you think will improve your performance as it will nonetheless help you in your college life. 

Is it worth taking honors classes?

That depends on your performance and goal.

If your school doesn’t offer an honors class that you’re interested in or will benefit your plans, you are not required to enroll in them even if you are part of the honor roll.

If it does prepare you for the degree you want, it’s best to take a few of them if possible.

Not only will it introduce you to what it’s like being in college, but it will also make you more organized and mature, making you ahead of the class.

Summary

Taking honors classes is a hard decision that you have to think through. 

Although it may not assure you of a bright future, it does make you a better person by teaching you responsibility, how to be more organized, and how to deal with pressure.

At the end of the day, you can always choose not to take them and enjoy the more laid-back atmosphere of regular classes.