Frequently Asked Questions
This page should answer most of your questions about how IAC classes work. If you have a question that is not answered here, please feel free to contact us.
- When and where are classes offered?
- Are there admission criteria or requirements?
- How should I pick which class(es) to take?
- May I take multiple classes?
- How do I know if a class will be too difficult for me?
- Will there be homework?
- Will I receive a grade?
- Is IAC open to homeschooled students?
- Is financial aid available?
- What if I want to drop a class?
- What if my class is canceled?
- Can I get school credits for taking IAC classes?
In the spring of 2013, classes will meet at Bethesda- Chevy Chase Regional Services Center. During the school year, each class meets for one and a half hours. The first Spring 2013 class session will be on February 17 and the last will be on May 19, with March 24 and 31 off (during MCPS spring break), which is a total of twelve sessions.
No, we don't currently “reject” students or have any formal admission criteria. That is not to say that IAC classes would be good for everyone. The difficulty level of an IAC class is a step up from a typical high school honors class. We believe students are the best judge of whether this is an environment they would enjoy and thrive in. We urge people who are unsure whether the classes are right for them to contact us for individualized guidance.
Just take whatever sounds interesting! The course descriptions on the Classes page have two main parts, an overview and a list of topics covered. Read the overview and see if it sounds cool. Don't worry if you don't understand what a lot of the particular topics are — you will after you're done with the class!
Ultimately, we've picked these classes because we think they will be interesting to anyone who enjoys the broader subject already. If you generally like math, you'll probably like our math class, and so on.
Yes. If you are interested and have the time, you may sign up for as many classes as you like.
If a class requires having taken a particular high school class before, that will be listed as a prerequisite in the class description. Fortunately, there is a lot of advanced material, even in subjects like math, that has very few prerequisites. We try to choose these topics for our classes in order to keep them accessible to as many people as possible. Of course, a class can be too difficult for someone even if they have taken all the prerequisites. This sort of difficulty is harder to judge ahead of time. In general, IAC classes are harder than honors-level high school classes in the same subject. If you have struggled with a subject in high school, you will struggle even more in IAC classes.
That said, IAC classes are supposed to be difficult, and the fact that will find them challenging does not mean that they aren't right for you. You can't really tell what you're able to do until you push yourself to your limits. IAC has no grades. No transcript gets sent to colleges. We want to encourage you to take risks and see how it goes. If you are still unsure, you should contact us and ask about it, and we'll be happy to talk to you about your specific situation and give you as much guidance as we can.
Yes, IAC classes do have homework. Sometimes, reading will be assigned for students to complete before the next class, so they will have the necessary background for the material and will be able to participate in discussions. Writing assignments and homework problems allow our teachers to keep tabs on students' comprehension of the material. Class time is limited, so having students complete this work at home allows us to spend more time on instruction.
Of course, we do understand the value of time to busy high school students. All of our teachers try very hard to ensure that homework is only assigned when it is interesting and serves a real educational purpose.
We don't give letter grades at IAC. These classes are meant for students who are self-motivated, and we don't believe grades are necessary or helpful in this case. Instead, teachers will write a letter of evaluation for each student at the end of the class. Parents looking for additional feedback about their student's progress can arrange phone conferences.
Definitely. We believe IAC classes would be an excellent addition to the studies of many homeschooled students. If you need additional documentation or other information about our courses, we would be happy to work with you. (When registering, you can simply list "Homeschooled" as your high school.)
Our financial aid budget is currently quite limited, unfortunately, but we will do our best to make sure that everyone who wants to take an IAC class is able to. If you want to register but the cost would prevent you from doing so, please let us know using our contact form and we will send you more information about our financial aid process.
You are free to drop a class you don't want to finish at any time. We will give an 80% refund for classes dropped in the first two weeks, and a 50% refund for classes dropped in the first five weeks.
We work extremely hard to avoid canceling any classes. However, if cancellation does become necessary for any reason, students in the canceled class will be given a full refund and the opportunity to register for another class, either that semester or at a future date, with a 50% discount.
Probably not. We're happy to provide documentation that you've taken our classes, and you can take the issue up with your school administrators if you like. However, it is not our intention to replace any part of the high school curriculum, and we do not expect that high schools will accept IAC classes as a substitute for their requirements.