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[Video] Advice on Honors vs College Prep Classes

Ian Brook Fisher

Written by Ian Brook Fisheron April 3rd, 2020

I began my career in admissions by walking backwards as a student intern, giving guided tours, interviewing students, and reading applications for my alma mater, Reed College. After graduating, I began full-time work in admissions, reading thousands of applications primarily from the Western United States, especially Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. (I got to eat the best food on my travel!) In my last three years at Reed, I directed admissions for the entire continent of Asia and served as the director of marketing and communications for the admission office, honing our official voice for web, print, and social media. This helped me to develop a sharp eye for what works (and what doesn’t) in college essays. While Reed is not known (at all!) for sports, I was able to find my competitive outlet with the ultimate Frisbee team as a player and, when I graduated, a coach. After nine wonderful years at Reed, I left Portland to pursue a M.A. at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. When I graduated and joined College Coach, I was living in Palo Alto, California, an experience that helped me learn so much about the UC and CSU system and high school programs all around the Bay Area. In the end, I missed the rain too much, and moved back to Portland in the summer of 2016.
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Many high schoolers are in the midst of planning their class schedule for the upcoming school year, and this course selection can come with a lot of anxiety. Students and the parents wonder if it is better to take more challenging courses, with the risk of earning lower grades, or to play it safe with the classes they know they can do well in. From a college’s perspective, is it better to get an A in College Prep or a B in Honors? Former Reed College admissions officer, Ian Fisher, answers that question in this first installment of College Coach’s brand new Ask the College Admissions Expert series. And don’t forget to subscribe to the College Coach YouTube Channel to keep up-to-date on all the latest college planning tips from our college admissions and finance experts. Whitepaper-CTA

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