By Alexis Kominos
Applications and Research Laboratory, or ARL, is a fantastic opportunity for students to gain further knowledge on potential career paths. ARL is offered in Howard County and is a helpful way to get hands-on experience on a topic of choice.
How to Know If ARL is Right for You: At Glenelg, and other Howard County schools, there is a day dedicated to bringing underclassmen to the Applications and Research Laboratory to experience what it is like before determining whether or not they want to partake in the class the following year. ARL shadow days are either the first two periods in the morning, or the last two periods of the afternoon during school. Students meet where the buses pick up and drop off. They take the bus ride to the building and there are students holding signs for their specific class topic. The former and current ARL students will tell the new ones where to go and what to do. The students then get to experience what goes on at ARL and decide if it is right for them. The ARL shadow days vary from each school, so students must check online when their shadow is.
Academies Offered at ARL: There are many academies offered that any student is free to take. There is Aerospace Engineering, Architectural Design, Automotive Technology, Biotechnology, Construction Management, Cyber Security Networking, Finance, Health Professions, Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Hotel and Restaurant Management, Systems and Project Engineering Visual Communications. As shown there are many academies for any student who wishes to expand their knowledge and get a leg up among his or her peers. For example in the Health Professions academy, in the first year the students learn fundamentals, terminology, and much more to set themselves up for year two. In the second half of year one, students are required to do a research component. Then in year two there is more preparation and students are selected to intern some place and really get to know what the work place is like. This is not the same for every academy. The academies differ from each other in what they entail, but this is generally what goes on.
Recommendations or Prerequisites: Each academy has different prerequisites -that is, taking a certain class beforehand- that are required for the student. For example, for Health professions, a standard Biology class and Common Core Algebra 1 are required. Different academies have different prerequisites and generally require a C or higher depending on what class is recommended to be taken for that academy. There are also different recommendations for each academy that are not required; however, if they are taken, they would boost the students’ general knowledge on their chosen academy. These academies with all the information that goes into deeper detail is found at Howard County Public School System ARL.
If You Dislike Your Academy: If the student does not like the academy they have chosen for the year, the student is not permitted to drop out of ARL completely, but they can switch into another academy. The student has the choice to be a part of the program Junior and Senior year or just Junior year. The student is able to drop out of ARL up to the first day of school, but after that there is no option for the rest of the school year. Taking two years of the same academy will be most helpful because in year two, internships are often offered for students who complete all the work. According to Junior Ben Kishter, who is in the academy of Homeland Security, there is a pretty large amount of work in ARL, and most of it is busy work. However this also depends on which academy is being taken and the personal preferences of that student. He claims that, “You definitely need to be interested in whichever academy you are in. If you are in one that does not spark your interest or desire to learn, the class may be harder, or boring. And once you go to the ARL on the first day of school, you can no longer drop out, so think long and hard if this is what you really want to do for one or two years.”
Why You Should Take ARL: Applications and Research Laboratory (ARL) is a great way to get more knowledge on a topic that any student wants to look further into. According to the ARL.hcpss website, “Students are able to earn industry certifications and college credits while attending the ARL which helps prepare them for success in college and careers.” It is a good source of new knowledge that is not offered within the high school. Students can receive internships and college credits at ARL. They also can determine whether or not he or she is passionate enough to take this learning experience to college and then into the future.