Pushed Into AP?

Julia Fenerty, Writer

AP classes can challenge students and look great on a college resumé, but are students jumping into them for the wrong reasons?

Students are likely to feel pressure from peers, parents, and teachers to take advanced placement (AP) classes before they are ready. APs are designed to challenge students in their field of interest and prepare them for college level classes, but they have been turned into the pinpoint of stress and anxiety.

So, what is the key to deciding whether or not AP is the right choice? Sophomore Ally Nesbit advises that students should be committed to the class and prepared to work harder than ever before. According to Mr. Leighton, AP U.S. History teacher, an AP class is usually more difficult for students who are not motivated to take the class out of interest. In other words, students that take the class because of pressure or to impress colleges, are usually less likely to succeed, while those who are truly passionate about the subject and are looking for a challenge often perform much better in the class.

The stigma associated with AP classes is that they are impossibly challenging and stressful, but at the same time, they are the only way to get into a good college. This stigma has forced students to take classes for which they are not ready, and for which they are not even passionate.

Leighton comments that some students who take APs just to impress colleges can get more stressed easily because they are not as interested in the class. Sophomore Maryann McCahill, a student of Leighton, adds that college applications put on pressure to add more challenging classes to her transcript.

The best advice might be to focus on interests and passions. If a student is overworked with sports, a job, or extracurriculars, finding the time for an AP class can be difficult, especially if they are not even interested in the class. AP classes take dedication, organization, preparedness, and interest. APs are there for the challenge, and for students with interest in the subject, not for impressing colleges.