January 25, 2012

Advanced class standing brings benefits

The increase in popularity of college-level high school courses has increased the amount of students with advanced class standing.

Students look to the ability to bypass introductory level classes when citing the benefits of advanced class standing. Fewer credits used on introductory level courses leaves more open blocks for more specialized courses, allowing students to delve deeply into a subject for which they have received introductory credit.

“I feel like not having to take some of the lower level classes helped me find a niche within my discipline. I’d say that I was able to take more classes about specialized aspects of what I was learning about,” junior with senior standing Shaunak Mulani said.

Upperclassmen are also given housing privileges that may be used by students with advanced class standing.

“It has helped me significantly when it comes to getting into the classes I need, and has also allowed me to live off campus and save some money,” sophomore Alex Jandernoa, who will be a junior at the end of winter term, said.

Extra credits also come into play when students consider studying abroad, as the supplemental credits give them more course flexibility.

“I think it made it easier to make my plans for studying abroad; I had a lot of credits coming in, so I have more leniencies when it comes to when I want to go,” sophomore with junior standing at the end of winter term Gracie Glowiak said.

Students have mixed feelings about the idea of declaring a major up to a year earlier than other students within their class. Ranging from indifference to welcome, students approached the declaring of their major with various reactions.

Jandernoa said that the early declaration of a major is “not [a negative occurrence] at all.”

For some, there were no questions as to what they would study from the time they arrived.

“My major was pretty easy to find. I knew I wanted to study biology. I’ve found that declaring my major actually set a path for me while still giving me the freedom to take whatever classes I want to take. It helped me decide which classes to take within the realm of my major,” Mulani said.

Students with advanced class standing revel in the fact that they are not required to participate in introductory classes. However, questions repeatedly surface concerning the idea that students may be missing out on information when they substitute high school credits and standardized test scores for college courses.

When asked about the potential for missed information, students were confident that they have learned what they have needed to in order to build a strong academic foundation.

“Not whatsoever. Knox is super good about making sure that you know the material before sending you off into the more advanced class. If you have it you have it and you can do what you want,” Jandernoa said.

As students attain senior standing as third-year students, they are presented with the opportunity to graduate and are added to the senior distribution list regardless of actual standing. Students use extra time left at Knox to pursue more degrees or graduate early, saving on tuition and entering the job market immediately.

“I could graduate early if I wanted to, but I’m not going to because I can now have a double major and explore more academic opportunities,” Jandernoa said.

When asked about whether he believes that being a part of the senior distribution list is a positive aspect of advanced class standing, Mulani agreed.

“It’s good to know what people I’m going to be graduating with are doing, as well as the time senior meetings are and events like that. It hasn’t been a negative thing at all,” he said.

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