The AP Pressure Keeps Cooking

By Brandon Danuff
Volume 68, Issue I

In 2017, when top colleges want students to do anything and everything, the debate over whether a student’s well-being, well roundedness as a student, and work ethic is considered in addition to grades and dif cult classes rages on.

It’s not hard to see how competitive students are with each other at Briarcliff, and while friendly competition is no bad thing, the question is where to draw the line. Briarcliff is a small school, and students constantly try to outshine their peers to impress for colleges. The competition can rise to a point that some students may feel socially compelled to take some of the many Advanced Placement (AP) classes offered, not because they actually want to, but because they want to t fin and not be shunned for taking “just” honors or Regents classes.

Others may be taking APs for economic reasons: if a student

scores high enough on an AP exam, he/she may be able to get college credit for that class, thereby cutting college tuition. That is, assuming every student who takes an AP class is going to college.

While higher education is a great thing to strive for (and APs are college level classes), it seems today we Gen Zers have been told college is the only way to a successful future. But in reality, this just isn’t true. Enrollment in trade schools, for example, provide invaluable experience for students who knows what they want to pursue in life.

CollegeBoard, the company in charge of AP courses, states that “by giving you the opportunity to explore what interests you the most, AP courses help you nd and pursue your unique direction [in life].” Basically, one should only take an AP course if the subject matter truly interests him/her and he/she sees him/herself studying and applying the material later. With the passion a student eager to learn may bring into an a class, his/ her motivation and performance will yield more success and usefulness of the class than a student who takes the same class to conform to “Briarcliff standards” and look better for colleges.

There seems to be this myth that the student who takes the most APs is the most successful and most sought-after type of student by colleges across the country. Again, that just isn’t true. Whereas one student may be taking three or even four APs, another student could more than make up for a lack of APs in his/her schedule by doing after school community service projects, playing sports, or (gasp) taking regular classes he/ she is really interested in.

APs may be great for some students but not for others. Students should choose carefully the AP classes they will actually get value by taking instead of choosing what they think colleges want. To each student his/her own, but is stressing over something you’ll never apply yourself to in life really worth it?


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