Plan your year with Ms. Cortier

Ms. Jill Cortier (FAC) answers some of the most frequently asked questions about course cards.

Maya Hernandez, Staff Reporter

Do computer science courses count as science credits? – Freshman

“No…one computer science class WILL count as a math credit for high school graduation, but it will NOT count as a math credit for college admissions purposes. A student wanting to go to college/university will need to take Alg 1, Geometry, and two other upper-level math classes.”

What’s the  difference between DE and AP classes in the eyes of college? Is one “better-looking” than the other? – Freshman

AP is looked at as being more rigorous as the curriculum is accredited through the College Board. To receive college credit, you must pass the national AP exam in May. For DE, the classes are accredited by the local state college (in our case PHSC) so the curriculum could be different from college to college.  To earn college credit in a DE class, students must earn a C or higher. There are benefits to having both on your transcript, but know that if going out of state for college, DE credits will most likely not be accepted.  In that case, it is better to have AP.  In state College admissions officers have said they like to see a mix of both throughout the high school transcript (not just all in Senior year) to be viewed as a competitive applicant, in addition to SAT/ACT scores. This is because it shows the student has been exposed to rigorous college-level instruction and shows that they are more likely to be successful on their campus. It’s important to not overload yourself academically, as colleges don’t want to see you in all AP/DE classes senior year getting Cs; they like to see you do your class well and have a solid progression of an increase in rigor over your high school career.”

How do I graduate high school with my AA? -Sophomore

“It is possible while remaining a JWMHS student, however it takes careful planning.  The first thing I always tell students is to take classes with a purpose if they want their AA. So, start by going to the college of your choice and looking at the 8-semester plan for your intended major. That way, you can see how that college/university would have you take classes after high school graduation.  Take that plan and then look at what classes you can take via DE through JWMHS, Pasco eSchool, or at PHSC.  The biggest mistake I’ve seen student do is to take DE classes just to take the classes and then unable to graduate like they wanted to with their AA in a timely manner because they didn’t meet the core requirements for the AA. Of course, it is very important to make sure you know how your DE classes count for your high school graduation requirements as well. On our course selection page of our website, I have a document that outlines the requirements to help students make a plan.”

Are there any substitutes for the PERT? If so, what scores do I have to get? – Sophomore

“Yes! Students can take the PERT, SAT, or ACT to qualify for DE. Students must have qualifying scores in Reading, Writing/English, and Math. The scores for each test are listed on the front of your course card. Students can also go to (Links to an external site.) for more information about DE requirements scores for DE eligibility must be completed by June 1, 2022 in order to take DE in the fall.”

I’m interested in political science as a major in college, what classes should I take? – Junior

“ I would go to the college website you are interested in and look at the 8-semester Degree plan for Political Science. I would look at what classes we offer that could best relate to the classes you’d be taking once in college.  High school classes are designed to help build background knowledge & life skills for any post-secondary plan so anything you can take is bound to help you one way or another.  (Political Science students usually focus on Social Studies classes.)”


For any more questions regarding course card selection, and planning out the future, go to the (Links to an external site.) website or contact Ms. Jill Cortier at [email protected].