AP Classes This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

      Many students are feeling intense pressure due to the difficult AP classes we are told we must take to get into the best colleges. The AP system, however, should not even exist - tough college courses should be taken in college, not before.

The most significant disadvantage of AP courses is the stress they cause. I am taking three and have hours of homework every night. I work extremely hard yet often worry that I am not meeting expectations. It is not just me who feels this way. Another student remarked, “My life revolves around my schoolwork. It is always on my mind, I can’t relax.”AP students often are so swamped with work that they miss important parts of the high school experience like getting a job or hanging out with friends.

It may seem as though students have a choice, that nobody forces us to take so many AP classes, but the truth is, we’re pressured into it by colleges, teachers, and parents. Adolescence should not be filled with so much pressure; kids need time for fun.

Those in favor of the AP system say that these courses prepare students for college, plus save time and money. But what is the rush? Entering college with an entire year’s worth of credits already completed may save tuition dollars, but it may shorten the college experience. Early graduation allows students to get started with their careers as soon as possible, but there is no reason to hurry to accomplish all this. We have the rest of our lives to work; we should enjoy our childhood for as long as possible.

The most competitive colleges accept students who have challenged themselves with AP classes. According to CollegeBoard.com, these give you “a head start on college-level work” and “show your willingness to push yourself to the limit.” But is that really necessary? If colleges did not admit students based on their AP courses, students wouldn’t feel compelled to take them and the need to push themselves beyond their limits. It would not make us lazy, just more relaxed. Teenagers already have enough stress trying to fit in socially, dealing with family, and experiencing physical and emotional changes. Why add the stress of college-level work?

The AP exam at the end of each course is yet another source of stress. Long and difficult, these tests are more important than all of the work done for the class. A score of a four or five can mean getting into a dream college, while a two or a three can mean that a student worked hard all year for nothing. The fact that many end up taking one or more AP exams around the same time as the SAT does not help. There is no reason to make one test so significant.

It seems as though every decision a student makes during high school will affect their college admissions and future life. Students often join clubs because of how good they will look on their applications and overload themselves with difficult AP courses for the same reason. The high school and college experience should not be one and the same, there ought to be a clear distinction. AP courses combine the two, preventing students from enjoying high school while they are in high school and experiencing college when they are accepted.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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JustAnIdea said...
Jun. 29, 2016 at 1:26 pm
Also, if you think about it, there is no reason to take college classes in high school. If you want to challenge yourself to that extent, take one at a local community college or online. But they are dubbed COLLEGE classes for a good reason.
NourElM. said...
Oct. 3, 2014 at 4:53 am
I am in a strong disagreement with this article for the following reasons:
Not everything in our lives is about grades. It's about improving our skills and applying what we have learned to our daily life and that's exactly what those AP courses offer. Colleges may turn down a 4.0 GPA student, who didn't take any AP courses, that were offered by his school, and who didn't engage in any extracurricular activities for a 3.2 GPA student, who took one or two of the most challeng... (more »)
dasneuemaedchen said...
Oct. 3, 2014 at 4:29 am
I completley disagree with this article for the following reasons: Not everything in our lives is about grades. it's about learning and improving our skills and that's excatly what those ap courses offer. it doesn't matter if you have a four or even a three on your ap exam, at least you tried, right? To be able to challenge yourself, is what colleges look for in a student. They will turn down a 4.0 GPA student, who didn't take any ap courses that was offered by his high school ... (more »)
scott said...
Nov. 18, 2013 at 7:03 pm
My AP classes never give homework. And the people in those classes (especially chem and english lang) are very immature as well.
futurece@cmu said...
Jul. 29, 2012 at 1:58 am
This article is wrong by saying "a four or five can get you into a dream school". Colleges don't even consider the actual scores in the admission decision, they just want to see that you take them and challenge yourself. The AP System is definitely great for mathematics mostly. I took AP Calc BC as a junior and I would be board out of my mind taking Calc 1 and 2 in college. History AP's are also on par with college level. Others though like english and science don't come close to reflecting a co... (more »)
NattyPie said...
Jul. 1, 2011 at 9:56 pm
I'm a student who is at an an Advanced Placement level and I have chosen for myself not to take the classes. From what I know about AP classes is that they do learn a lot. But the material that is being taught doesn't help them on Standardized Tests. Another thing I have noticed about the students(and this is just my opinion). Is that the majority of them are taking AP classes because they want to feel like they're smarter than everyone else. I know a girl in an AP English class, who brags about... (more »)
SallySunshine replied...
Nov. 16, 2011 at 9:18 pm
If you're at an AP level and you've chosen not to take them, then that means you're too lazy to try to reach your full potential.  And it sounds like you think you're smarter than everyone else--"I'm at an Advanced Placement level..."  And I, for one, take AP classes because they're enjoyable and I learn a lot, not just because I want to get into college or because I think I'm smarter than everyone else.  And another thing--"AP classes don't prepare you for standardized tests."&nb... (more »)
JustTaz said...
Dec. 19, 2010 at 2:03 pm

I don't really agree with this, mostly because regular high school work, really isn't that much or that hard. If you really think it is so much pressure, then don't take the class, you can get into college without it. Being in a home school group, I know a lot of people who took community college courses before AP classes were even available. There is an above-average group that high school level is too easy and if they have to sit in class they might as well get college credit and save some ... (more »)

KTisAWESOME said...
Dec. 8, 2010 at 5:07 pm
AP classes are the worst! I'm a high schooler! Why should I be pressured to take COLLEGE classes when it's not even going to help me learn because the teachers are so busy preparing for the exam that they never TEACH! AP classes are the reason that I hate my life!
middy93 said...
May 7, 2009 at 3:24 am
I totally agree with this. I feel pressured by my own self to take these classes.
InkBlogger replied...
Sept. 3, 2009 at 8:51 pm
Ironically, I was thinking about this today in my world history class. I am worried that the teacher does not teach what I need to know, therefore I have to read the textbook on my own. This is a teacher that everyone has always loved, but that I now hate because she does not teach what I need to know. What happened to senior year? - Class of 2010 Valedictorian
thestr4wberry replied...
Mar. 20, 2010 at 10:00 pm
I actually disagree with this article. Students in other countries study their best to achieve their dreams, but America is just too lenient in everything. I believe that having AP classes is actually a great benefit in America and should be considered a benefit, not something to be hated upon due to the "pressure" it gives.
annieb replied...
Aug. 18, 2010 at 11:05 am
 I completely agree with the reasoning in this article. I'm a parent who went to college and grad school, but do not see the benefit in the push for AP classes. Our son's English AP class had homework over the summer, which you must complete to even qualify for an "A" the first semester. What's up with that? Homework during the summer? Give me a break. No college class requires that. Why would an AP class? And, I actually think college courses are often easiir than AP classes. Sometimes the... (more »)
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