Many students will agree that high school is stressful; students try their hardest to balance extracurriculars and school work. However, on top of all of this, there are students who take Advanced Placement classes in order to increase their GPAs or earn more credits in high school. Advanced Placement (AP) classes require extra time, focus, and effort, as they are college level courses. While they can be beneficial for students and their future college careers, they can also add a lot of unnecessary stress and pressure on already nervous high school students.
By the end of the 2018-19 school year, senior Shayaan Subzwari will have completed 20 AP classes and 21 AP tests; he completed all of the AP math and science courses Heritage offers except for AP Biology, and he also independently studied for the AP Physics 2 exam in his junior year.
“AP classes definitely add a level of stress to high school. The workload and studying for assessments definitely comes with a sacrifice of sleep, but you also learn so much from these classes,” Subzwari said.
Although Subzwari doesn’t believe AP classes are “needed” to succeed in high school, he believes it is a way for one to challenge themselves or learn more about a subject they are interested in.
Many students take APs as a way of challenging themselves in school, much like Subzwari does. APs benefit the student in this way, as students who are more advanced wish to challenge themselves, but if one has no interest in an AP class and is just taking it for the credit, then what is the point in spending the extra time and effort studying and learning for the class?
“By taking physics early in high school,” (Subzwari started freshman year taking AP Physics I.) “I had the time to develop and expand my interest in the subject and help me decide what I want to pursue in the future,” Subzwari said.
However, taking many rigorous AP classes is not always beneficial for students either. “I think that someone should take AP classes if they feel that they aren’t being challenged enough in a certain subject or if they want to explore a particular field further. I don’t think you should take an AP course just for the grade, but rather from an interest or a desire to be challenged,” Subzwari said.
Junior Ashley Affolter took AP Human Geography freshman year and AP World History sophomore year, opted out of AP Biology her sophomore year and decided to take all honors classes her junior year. “You always have to go with a class that works with you and your own limits,” Affolter said.
If someone is working themselves to the bone just to get a good grade in a class that is depriving them of all of their free time, they should think seriously about why they are taking it. Yes, it is a good way to get ahead in school, but if the class is too time-consuming or overwhelming, one should not force themselves to take it.
“I believe that everyone has something about them that makes them stand out. As long as they can truly express that in and out of school, I think that they can achieve success. Sure, it may be harder in the eyes of colleges if you aren’t taking a bunch of AP classes, but success doesn’t just come in the form of an AP class,” Affolter said.
As Affolter pointed out, everyone has something special pertaining to them. Whether one excels in studies, sports, theater or other areas, everyone can stand out in a positive way.
APs don’t guarantee success. While the classes give you something extra on your high school transcript, they are meant to be used as a tool students can use to their advantage in figuring out which area of study interests them most, not as requirement to get accepted to college.