For 8th graders, high school is only months away, and a big decision lies ahead, the decision between Asheville High and SILSA. For most people the only difference between the two, is a more academic setting at SILSA or a more social setting at Asheville High. But both have a lot more to offer than what meets the eye, like the difference in the classes offered, the difference in scheduling, how much class sizes differ, the enrollment process in both schools, and what the students think of the two schools.
SILSA high school offers a unique experience for an educational high school setting that is different from the more traditional high school. “The SILSA faculty is committed to offering dynamic, challenging courses that are more rigorous than the typical Honors level courses and feature a Project-Based Learning approach. Our goal is to prepare our students to make meaningful decisions about their own learning and future goals and to give them the skills they need to succeed in a rapidly evolving global economy,” says Asheville City Schools. SILSA also offers more opportunities than Asheville High to take classes at AB Tech. Taking these classes can give you college credits that would help you graduate early from college, and save on student debt. However, AHS offers more class than SILSA, and there are still opportunities to attend AB tech classes while enrolled at AHS, just not as many.
Another huge make or break factor in deciding which school to attend, has to do with the difference in scheduling at SILSA versus AHS. SILSA has an A, B schedule meaning instead of having 2 separate semesters, where classes change in the middle of the year like at AHS, classes alternate between A day classes, which would substitute for first semester classes and AHS, and B day classes, which would substitute for second-semester classes at AHS. This allows for your core classes at SILSA to last all year long, but just alternating every day. For some procrastinators, this could be challenging to not get work piled up, but for those who can stay on top of their work, it becomes extremely beneficial because you get an opportunity to have a year-long teacher-student relationship.
SILSA classrooms have fewer students than at AHS with only 383 students. In addition, teachers at SILSA meet once per week to discuss their student's needs, therefore SILSA students get a lot more 1 on 1 teacher time which is a much better learning environment than large classrooms for most students. Asheville High, on the other hand, has 1,057 students. This means that Asheville High classes are much larger than classes at SILSA, making teaching at AHS more like lectures in universities, oppose to a titer knit teacher student community. This allows students to get to know more people and make more friends, with a more diverse population.
Additionally, AHS is a lot easier to get into than SILSA. Asheville High only requires the applications required for every NC public school. Meanwhile, SILSA applications require a book report and it is relatively challenging to get into. Also, people that live out of the district are the last people SILSA looks at for accepting applications, so it is rare for out of district kids to be accepted into SILSA. AHS is easy to get into, and everyone is accepted except when AHS reaches it maximum capacity, which is very rarely, then some people who live out of district might be rejected, and there is very little stress over being accepted.
Although SILSA seems like extra, harder work, Freshman Lizzy Hensley says, “SILSA is actually a lot easier than Asheville High we have a lot less work and homework. Also, the teachers seem to care more about teaching and take teaching more seriously so we learn easier than at Asheville High in most classes. I would definitely suggest going there.” SILSA students still get to participate in the same sports at AHS, and SILSA has the same electives as AHS, so if you are worried about not seeing your SILSA friends or AHS friends, you still get to see each other during the school day. Most of the students that are enrolled at AHS are confident with their decision of attending AHS. Some students who couldn’t decide which school the attend applied to SILSA and enrolled there for their freshman, then decided if they wanted switched to Asheville High if the SILSA wasn’t a fit for them. This is a good option if you are torn between the 2 schools, because it is harder to get into SILSA after you have spent your freshman year at AHS, then if you enroll your freshman year.
In conclusion, SILSA and Asheville High both have a lot to offer. The difference in both schools involving the classes offered, the AB versus semester scheduling, the difference in the amount of students in each high school, the enrollment process in both schools, and what the students opinions of the two schools hopefully helps you get the similarities and differences of the important choice between AHS and SILSA, and which school would fit you best.
Story by Olivia Agan
Photo sources, SILSA: https://www.facebook.com/SILSAAsheville/ AHS: http://www.cougarsportsnet.com/