By Natalie Allen | Staff Writer
AP level classes offered to juniors and seniors provide challenging course work as well as the chance to earn college credit. Yet, the pressure of high level curriculum and the struggles in time management can make the college-bound crumble.
“Well, the transition from sophomore pre-AP to junior AP English is a big jump. Students sometimes underestimate the rigor after the first week and need balance,” English teacher Heather Sargent said.
The heavy load has some students feeling uneasy and wanting to drop their AP classes. Often, regular and pre-AP level courses are perceived to be easier, but the syllabuses are similar.
“All classes at the junior level in Texas are required to teach the same type of curriculum. The difference is being college ready versus taking a college course,” Sargent said.
Of course, there are certain standards that have to be met before actually dropping the class.
“The student has to wait to drop the class at the semester. There will also be a parent-teacher conference. The student will go through some tutoring and we will see if they are more successful in the class. Hopefully, the student will do this around the first semester. Then, finally, they will be able to drop the class,” counselor Patricia Snider said.
Therefore, students should give serious thought to their abilities and consider other factors such as extracurricular involvement when they choose their schedule.
“There are some students who just don’t want to do as much as work. There are also students who find a way to maximize their schedule with AP classes,” Sargent said.“Like, there can be a student who is comfortable taking 5 AP classes and maybe orchestra. There are other students who are only able to take 1 AP class and band or track. It just all depends.”
Concern over class rank is often taken into account when students are debating whether or not to take a higher level course.
“The grade weighting set up is a huge incentive to do something that may not be in your best interest. It’s almost a requirement if you plan on being in the top 10 percent,” Sargent said.
The chance to be exposed to college academics is why teachers recommend that their students remain in AP classes.
“I encourage people to challenge this great opportunity. I think all students should experience some AP classes while they can.”