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AP Classes vs. Trade Training:

Which One is Right for Your Teen?

If you are homeschooling a high school student, it’s time to discuss his/her future.  What does your student want to do beyond high school?  This will impact what type of courses s/he takes during high school.  Is your student strictly academic or more interested in trade training?

AP Classes

If your student is degree-minded with hopes of earning a traditional four year degree, AP courses can help narrow down a college career path. Taken in conjunction with the high school curriculum, these courses consist of college-level subject matter and also earn your teen college credit. If your student is driven and wants to streamline his/her college career, taking AP courses can do that. AP courses can also help develop better time management skills and even strengthen your teen’s work ethic.

Benefits of AP

  • Cost Savings: AP classes are free, however, to earn the credits, students must pass the AP exam which costs $89. The courses also enable students to test out of many prerequisite courses–translation: saving money on tuition.
  • College Prep: Advanced courses prepare your child with the knowledge and skills expected of college students. They also offer a sample of the rigorous schedule so they can plan accordingly.
  • Admissions Advancement: According to, 85 percent of selective colleges and universities report that a student’s AP experience favorably impacts admission decisions. The research also shows that AP courses on your transcript demonstrate intellectual curiosity and hard work.

Currently more than 90 percent of colleges and universities across the country offer college credit, advanced placement, or both, for qualifying AP exam scores. To find out if your student’s college or university of interest accepts these credits, visit the College Board AP Credit Policy search page.

Trade Training

For students wanting to learn a trade/wanting to enter the work force fairly quickly, a traditional four-year post secondary education may not be the ideal path.  Trade training might be the way to go.

Benefits of Trade Training

  • Hands-on learning: If your student is a hands-on learner and enjoys learning by doing, trade school might be the best fit. Look for schools that offer work experience options relative to your program and career goals.
  • Career advancement: Trade programs target specific career plans geared toward success in a particular vocational sector. Most trade schools offer certificates in high-demand career fields such as healthcare, business or computers, giving your student the necessary confidence and knowledge to quickly advance in the workforce.
  • Flexibility and cost savings: Most trade schools offer self-paced courses, something homeschoolers are used to. Overall tuition is lower than it is for traditional four-year colleges, and monthly payment plans may make it easier to transition into a career field without the added burden of student loans and high-interest debt.

Help your student choose the right trade program that best suits his or her skill set. Be sure to ask questions such as “How many of your students are placed in their career field after graduation?” and “What career guidance is offered pre-and-post graduation?” Additionally, inquire about the school’s retention rate, as this will give you insight into the administration’s dedication towards their students.

AP or trade courses?

It depends on your student!

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