We at Harding feel very strongly that the hard work that students do now in high school is critical to their success in college and later in life. Because of this conviction, we have structured our school around a strong Advanced Placement™ (AP) Program. This program will benefit the students in terms of skills learned and intellectual growth as well as through earning college credit while still in high school.

Advanced Placement is a nationwide program which allows high school students to take college-level courses while still in high school. The students use college textbooks and are generally graded in a way very similar to a college course. At the end of the year the students may take an exam to determine if they have mastered the material. Most universities give students college credit depending on the score they receive on their exam.

Students who take AP classes are well prepared for the rigorous demands of college. Students master the skills necessary to succeed in college while still in the more structured high school environment. AP helps students learn how to handle the academic pressure, and to build their confidence in their own ability to tackle the difficult material. Furthermore, college admission officers pay very close attention to students who take AP classes, knowing that they have a better chance of success in college.

Because Harding is a college preparatory school, we have chosen to structure our curriculum around the AP program. Every academic class in the freshman and sophomore years is geared towards preparing students for AP classes. Freshman and sophomore classes follow a rigorous curriculum which would be the equivalent of “Honors” or “Pre-AP” courses at other high schools. Writing, a heavy component of the AP exam, is strongly emphasized.

As students enter their junior and senior years, they will be taking approximately three AP classes per year. Most students find such a course load quite challenging. However, the small size of Harding better allows us to help individual students who may begin to struggle in one class before it affects their progress in their other classes. It also helps us to stagger major assignments and exams so that students do not become overwhelmed at any one time.

Advanced Placement and AP are registered trademarks of The College Board. More information is available at

HCP Course Description Booklet 2010-11

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