AP Reigns Supreme Over AICE


Photo by Natali Brito

Rebecca Lim, News Editor

   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.