AP Reigns Supreme Over AICE
Every spring, when the time for selecting courses rolls around, Pembroke Pines Charter High School students have tough decisions to make in order to formulate the perfect schedules for the next school year: schedules that will allow them to explore their interests but will also show colleges that they can handle a challenging curriculum.
For high achieving Charter students, many decisions come down to AP vs AICE. Will they take AP or AICE Literature? AP World History or AICE International History? While both programs give students a leg up when it comes to the college admissions process, AP has some clear benefits that undeniably put it ahead of AICE.
Most importantly, the AP program is more widely recognized throughout the nation. While the AICE Diploma has some well-known benefits including the fact that earning one is a shortcut to receiving the Bright Futures Scholarship, and can earn you college credits, these benefits are reserved for Florida. The AICE program is scarcely available outside of Florida high schools, while AP is a popular program that can be found in all 50 states, including Florida. This is reflected in the small number of colleges outside of Florida that offer credit for AICE courses.
An underrated benefit of AP is that it also offers a greater variety of distinction awards for participating students. The 3 levels they offer include: AP Scholar, AP Scholar with Honor, and AP Scholar with Distinction, depending on students’ performance on their end-of-year AP exams. By contrast, the only academic award that the AICE program offers is the AICE Diploma with Distinction, awarded to students who earn a B average or higher on their AICE exams. Since academic honors/awards do make up a considerable part of a student’s college application, the better option would be to go with AP, whose awards offer three different tiers rather than a single, general distinction.
AP classes also make use of multiple choice questions throughout the course and on the final AP exams. This is preferable for many students: “The AICE curriculum for STEM is very destructured and disorganized…while the AP curriculum is very structured… AP is more structured in terms of answers because [it] contains multiple choice and less written response, which allows for more concrete answers which STEM is all about,” expresses junior Matthew Castillo.
The structure of the AP curriculum itself is also preferable due to students’ specific learning styles. Sophomore Carolina Argüelles states, “I feel like [AP classes] just fit better to my learning style than AICE classes. I feel like AICE classes aren’t as hands-on and just don’t work for me.”
While AICE certainly has its perks, especially for us Floridians, AP has more benefits overall, and is a safer option to take if you’re still unsure if you’d rather stay in state or go out of state for college.
Whatever path you decide to take, though, just know that you’re in for a challenging yet fruitful experience.
AICEing Through High School!
As course selection time creeps up on the students of PPCHS, we meet again with endless thoughts upon thoughts about what we want our future to look like. Something as simple as a Google form holds the fate of our next school year in its hands: how easy we’ll have it or how busy we’ll be, how much fun awaits us, and so on. No matter what changes in the school, we always find ourselves filling out course cards with anticipation and endless questions running around in our heads. Perhaps the most important one we can ask ourselves, though, is “AICE or AP?” And if you’re searching for the more rewarding pathway, AICE is definitely the way to go!
Each new year we head into is a step closer to college, and there’s no doubt that amongst the things we can do in high school to prepare for it, AICE and AP classes are at the top of the list. While both give you a good taste of what a college course is like, you’re ultimately killing two birds with one stone by going for the AICE Diploma. For Senior Emily Idiarte, who has stuck with the AICE program and will receive her diploma this year, “it’s definitely worth the time if the person is dedicated and up for the challenge because the benefits add up.” And what exactly are the benefits, you may ask?
The AICE Diploma is the main requirement to obtain a Bright Futures Scholarship. So if you achieve seven AICE credits in three of your highschool years and decide to attend a Florida college, your entire tuition will be paid for you! In this way, you pay less to ensure your future education. Sophomore Valerie Glen, who chose to take AICE International History this year instead of AP World, explains that “Going for the AICE diploma allows [her] to experience college classes so [she] can start preparing for the future. It also helps [her] reduce potential student debt!” Part of learning to be an adult is saving up as much as possible, plus you can never be too prepared. It’s a win-win situation!
Of course, it’s really great to aim higher than Florida universities and be set on going out of state, but don’t forget that it comes at a cost. While both AICE and AP courses are around the same level of difficulty, AP is known to be more rigorous and thus, more stressful. Junior Maria Funes, who decided to be in AICE U.S. History this year rather than APUSH, speaks for many people when she says “I’ve heard bad things about the APUSH exam.” Whether you have what it takes to succeed in an AP class or not, keep in mind that it’s better to be safe than sorry. With AICE, at least, you’re given a bit more security and something to fall back on if you don’t get accepted at an out-of-state school.
Remember, having both types of college courses on your schedule is impressive, but don’t overwork yourself! If you want to play it safe, stick with AICE!