Junior Year Course Stress

Carolyn Fenerty, Writer

This week, incoming juniors begin choosing classes that determine their academic futures, balancing their workload and learning what colleges want.


As junior year approaches, sophomores must choose their courses for the most significant year in terms of college applications. However, it is difficult to find the balance between more rigorous classes and the extra curriculars, sports, and jobs colleges look for, and to find the time to relax that courses and activities can take up.

One of the more popular questions is whether it is better to receive an A in honors class or a B in an Advanced Placement class. Different colleges have different ways of looking at GPAs, and view weighted and unweighted GPAs differently.

But, at such a crucial time in preparing for college, students must choose whether or not to challenge themselves with higher level courses or to take easier classes for higher grades. Some colleges prefer higher level courses, but others may take away points avoided by higher classes in calculating GPAs.

Students also worry about which AP classes to take; AP Calculus may look great on a college transcript, but it can be a risk when math is not a student’s best subject, or too challenging a course. When asked about APs, one sophomore had this to say:

“I’m taking one,” comments sophomore Angela Baker, “Because I’m already taking APUSH 1 and English AP isn’t offered for juniors. I’m not as good at math or science so I don’t think I would be able to take an AP course.”

With crunch time approaching, upperclassmen offer advice for choosing classes.

“It’s really stressful,” says junior Allie Ethier. She adds, “Having one AP class is good. You should push yourself in honors classes because they’re more challenging.”