Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Advanced Courses Help to Get Running Start at College

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Advanced Courses Help to Get Running Start at College

Article excerpt

Most of Philip Wojak's 20 first-hour physics students at Webster Groves High School are taking his course for college credit through St. Louis University.

One of them, Jeff Fitzgerald, 17, is also taking political science, English and calculus at the high school for credit through the University of Missouri at St. Louis.

In the St. Louis area, most high-school students seeking a head start on college do it Jeff's way - through a local college or university. St. Louis University and UMSL make it especially easy. Together, the two universities enroll about 8,500 high-school students this semester with all of them taking courses at their high schools from their regular high-school teachers.

That's about three times the number of high-school students who take The College Board's nationwide Advanced Placement college courses in all of Missouri.

To get credit for AP courses, students take national exams, graded on a scale of 1 to 5. Nearly all American colleges, including those in Missouri, give some credit for scores of 3 or higher.

But, said Wojack, "It is easier and more enjoyable for the kids to get credit from a class than from the AP test."

However, trying to transfer the local-college's credits can be risky.

Many of the nation's most select colleges - Harvard, Amherst, the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins, for instance - refuse local college credit. The University of Illinois grants it only if students pass the university's proficiency exams in the same subjects.

Closer to home, the University of Missouri at Columbia and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and Edwardsville automatically grant credit for local college courses. Other colleges' practices vary.

Fitzgerald, for instance, has found out that the University of Missouri at Rolla will take his SLU and UMSL credit. He's still waiting to hear from Purdue, another college on his list. …

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