AP Classes: By Choice or By Pressure?

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Verona High School prides itself on its academic prowess. Students are pushed into taking honors and AP classes as early as freshman year and are encouraged to continue in these classes throughout the entirety of their high school career. Many claim this AP push is to prepare students for college life while others think it is simply a way to stand out to colleges. 

Many students feel that AP classes should only be taken if a student expresses interest in a particular academic field. VHS senior Nicole Volpe stated “It’s interest based. If you don’t like English why would you take an AP English class.” Many students as well as teachers share similar views. A feeling that APs should be offered but not thrust upon students  One VHS staff member shared the following:

“A student who doesn’t take an AP class is no less than any other student who does take AP classes. It’s choice; you should not be forced to take a college level class in high school just because someone else is doing it. I have a favorable view of AP classes; I just don’t have a favorable view of forcing students to take AP classes.  They should he for students to challenge themselves in a particular subject. I think it’s a great thing to have in place for students who want to pursue a particular direction.”

Contrary to what may be expected, most students and staff understand the pressure put on students to take AP classes and the value of enrolling in courses that one finds enjoyable. VHS senior Gillian Lamb commented:

“Students who decide not to take AP classes are not of lesser intelligence by any means. Many of us have had to make the decision between caving into the pressure put on the students to take as many AP classes as possible and taking classes that we personally see the value in taking. I think it is important to remember that it is much harder to take an AP class of no interest to the student. The effort and time is not worth it if you have no prospects in the future regarding the subject of the class. My advice is to take classes that you enjoy and challenge yourself to a few AP classes that you know you can put the effort into and do well.”

Many students and staff members share similar views on taking AP classes. Most believe that they are something only to be taken if a student expresses interest in them and never to be pushed to make them to stand out to colleges, or to increase VHS’s profile with colleges. Regardless, AP classes will continue to be a part of Verona High School and will require further introspection to come to a definitive solution on when students should take them.

 

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