Too many kids are taking too many AP classes


Maura Losh

Concepts. Buzzwords. AP test. May 13. College Board. College credit. Study. Study. Study.

Many students enrolled in AP (Advanced Placement) classes hear these words over and over again everyday throughout the year.

However, not all these students have made the right decision to enroll in AP classes and need to learn from this mistake to plan ahead for a more successful and enjoyable schedule.

Students need to realize the importance of really pondering over their future schedules and what they enjoy doing and desire to pursue a career in. Students feel the need to take a certain number of AP courses, or a specific AP course because of the pressures that seem to be considered the “norm”.

For example, a freshmen student planning to take APUSH (AP U.S. History) the following school year because they feel that a majority of students take this class and the regular U.S. history class is for “dumb” or slower-learning students and that they definitely do not want to be labeled as one of those kids.

These freshmen listen to upperclassmen students they have never met say “It’s totally worth the sleep deprivation from studying and crying over hours of concept homework!” This is unacceptable. No student should have to feel that they need to place this burden on them to avoid being labeled as dumb, especially if they are not interested in U.S. history or any social science for that matter.

Why are so many students that want to become engineers or doctors or architects in APUSH? It just does not make sense. Students could take the regular U.S. History class and focus more on areas they are interested in.

Another issue students need to realize is that there are several different opinions about AP classes depending on who they talk to and there is not a clear answer. It is all about the student’s research. A counselor may suggest taking the AP Language and Composition course junior year because of previous success in past honors English classes and staying “on track” in the honors program.

On the other hand, there are teachers that have majored in English and claim that they never took an honors or AP English course in high school because they knew they would be taking a lot of English courses in college.

They did this because there is no guarantee that the college credit earned in high school can be applied to a specific class requirement in college. In fact, most likely there is no loophole around skipping, for example, a college freshman chemistry class if one is interested in nursing because the college wants that student to take their course on the information.

In the long run, not much time is saved if students will almost certainly have to repeat a class in college similar to an AP class taken in high school because the college wants a student to take their class if they plan on earning a major from that school. It is sage to take an AP class in an area of interest, but should not be accepted or expected to be a replacement course for a similar area of study in college.

Almost any person, whether it is a student, faculty member or parent, would make the argument that AP courses are highly recommended because college credit can be earned and save money in the future.  This is true in that depending on the score received for the end of the year AP test, college and specified area of study, college credit can be earned, and it is beneficial to some people. But does anyone look into this? Doubt it.

Much like Rochester has a four year mathematics graduation requirement, it does not matter what math courses one takes, as long as the minimum requirements are completed. A freshman that takes Algebra 2 does not have to continue taking Calculus classes or AP Statistics.

Although they have managed to take advanced courses for their grade level, they may decide that they are interested in math, but do not want the heavy workload and decide to enroll in math-related courses the next three years instead to stay on track to graduate.

This decision is effective for some individuals because instead of taking more math classes and receiving new information, the student can apply their skills already attained to potential career possibilities and explore their options.

Not many people make this suggestion or inform that student of their options though because it is assumed the student is comfortable with math and is going to continue on the average mathematical track for high school students. College draws some parallels in that it may have math credit requirements, but it will not be specific in saying every student must take the same math courses. There is a wide variety of options to take and receive credit like in high school.

AP courses can be rewarding for enthusiastic learners seeking to save money by earning college credit, however, if a reasonable schedule is not well thought out throughout high school, students can easily feel overwhelmed and waste their time and effort in classes that just were not meant for them to take.

Crying and becoming insane over a course that is not a requirement (any AP or honor class) in a student’s schedule should not be tolerated or sugarcoated to the next grade level in order to coax them into having a similar schedule, because every individual is different and needs to plan their future around their interests and not older students’ opinions.