January Issue
January 18th 2022
77°F in Pasadena, CA
Scattered clouds ↑81° ↓67°
January Issue
January 18th 2022
77°F in Pasadena, CA
Scattered clouds ↑81° ↓67°

The AP Dilemma

Worth taking, or not?


Many ambitious students turn their attention to the AP curriculum, which provides a more rigorous, college-level learning experience for a variety of subjects. With the college application process getting increasingly competitive each year, students are striving to enroll in more AP classes—to the point where over half their schedules might be comprised of these higher-level courses. Of course, the abundance of work generated by AP classes leads to inevitable consequences. Lack of sleep, falling behind in class, and deteriorating mental health have become more of a problem. This leads to the question: are AP classes really worth the sacrifice?

According to a 2015 College Board report, the answer is yes. They found that students who succeeded in AP classes were more likely to graduate college within four years. In addition, AP scores of 3 or higher can sometimes allow students to skip lower-level college courses, allowing them to graduate in less than four years.

According to Mr. Gardner, who teaches AP Physics at PHS, AP classes are a way for students to “recognize and work toward what is needed in their college and career futures.”

“[Taking an AP class] is not necessary,” he adds, “but it will help any student willing to challenge themselves.”

What about someone who is actually taking the classes? Amber Wang, a junior, said that it “depends on the classes you’re taking.” Amber has taken several AP classes throughout high school. This year, her schedule is crammed with the maximum of six AP classes.

“It can become quite fun!” she confided. “But the workload can vary by a lot from time to time. Being honest, it stresses me out a ton sometimes and I often get burnt out in the middle of the week. I can’t imagine myself taking any other classes though, so I just treat it as something I’ll have to get through.”

Of course, everyone’s work ethic and learning preference are different. Some people may not be academically inclined, or are not willing to pursue a career related to an AP subject. Others may simply not have enough time to fit these difficult courses into their schedules. And there’s also the price—a whopping $96 for each AP exam without a reduced fee. But the general consensus seems to be that AP classes are a great opportunity for every high school student, regardless of how they envision their futures.

If you haven’t already, perhaps you should consider adding an AP class to next year’s schedule—it might be fun, and it’s a great way to step out of your comfort zone, while also gaining new knowledge.