The UC system only awards honors credit (in the form of an extra grade point) to 11th and 12th grade level courses. This is true for all high schools. During the college admissions process, ninth and tenth grade honors courses are recognized for their additional rigor, but are not awarded the extra grade point. UCs and other colleges consider the level of challenge that a student undertakes (I’ve even read that it is the first consideration), so there is definitely a benefit to taking honors courses in the 9th and 10th grade.
It is important to note that the honors credit is tied to the course, not to the grade a student is in when they take the course. For example, Honors Physics is typically an 11th/12th grade course and has been approved by the UC to award an extra grade point. A student taking Physics will receive the extra grade point regardless of the grade they are in when they take this course.
Keep the following in mind:
- Most UC campuses will recognize the extra honors grade point for up to four classes (eight semesters) taken in the 10th and 11th grade years
- Grades earned in the 9th grade are not utilized in the UC GPA calculation for college admission
- Some private universities do include 9th grade grades in their admission criteria
- Colleges are looking for students who challenge themselves
- Pace yourself. Colleges are looking for an increase in the level of challenge over the four years of high school.