Pressure to take AP classes causes unwanted stress

Erik Tischer

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Advanced Placement classes are like black Friday. Sophomores to seniors try and grab as many AP courses as they can get a hold of, cramming their schedules full of these college classes. Why do we do this? The pressure to take more and more AP courses is increasing, and it doesn’t need to be that way.


If you were to walk around and ask a student here at Grady how many AP classes they take, you will probably hear numbers like three or four, maybe even six. This is absurd. We are willingly taking up to six college level courses as a junior in high school. These AP courses weren’t meant to be taken TVs on black Friday. AP courses were supposed to challenge the individual and give them a more rigorous course than the average student.


When we have the average student taking three to four AP classes, it gets distorted. This pressure to take this many college classes hurts us socially and academically. Because we are taking these difficult courses, it affects our overall GPA. Nowadays colleges aren’t looking for the one who can grab the most APs, they are looking for the student who has a well balanced life and can actually handle their workload.


As a sophomore I took two AP level courses, which is a lot for a sophomore. Next year there are sophomores planning to take three or even four AP courses. This amount of college courses is the norm, and if you aren’t taking this many, you fall behind your peers. GPAs are getting higher and the course load is getting heavier, but is it really worth it?


I’m taking five AP courses this year as a junior, and I plan on taking the same amount next year as a senior. I’ll tell you that most of these courses I have no interest in taking whatsoever. I feel obligated to take these courses because my friends are taking them and if I don’t, my transcript will suffer. The story is relatively the same when it comes to others taking this amount of APs.  


It’s true that for some students, AP classes are the way to go. Some of these students are interested in the subject, and they want to dive deeper and learn on a college level. That makes sense, but I can guarantee that out of all the sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are taking more than three AP courses, that is not the case.


Maybe some of you want to take oceanography or yoga instead of AP language and composition, but as of now that just isn’t possible because of the pressure to take these ‘required’ AP courses. It isn’t required, and it shouldn’t be. These courses are for the students who want to go above and beyond in that certain subject. We have drilled into ourselves that in order to make our transcript look its finest, we must take these AP classes that we just don’t want to take.


To get college credit for these courses, students who take AP classes have to take an AP test at the end of the second semester and get above a three on the exam. For some students this is difficult enough, but with the added struggle of having to pay $92, taking the test just isn’t feasible.


Ask yourself or your friends why you take all of these AP courses. I am willing to bet the reason like black Friday, isn’t that you actually need all of these courses. The reason is that you think it’ll look good for college, and it is becoming the norm to take all of these classes. We are pressured to take these courses, and it shouldn’t be that way.

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