Head 2 Head
Advanced Placement: Drop them or stay the course?
November 21, 2019
AP needs advanced changes
We all know the stress an AP class causes. If you haven’t personally dealt with it, you’ve at least heard about all the anxiety, mental breakdowns, and excessive amounts of homework that comes with taking these classes.
Students should be allowed to drop the AP class within the first two weeks of school and at the end of the first semester.
When signing up for an AP class, students sign a contract saying that they will stay in the class for the entire year and that they understand what they are getting themselves into. Unfortunately, students truly do not know what they’re actually signing up for.
Students have heard from other people about what the class may be like, but that is unreliable. A class may be easier to a student who is only taking one AP than to the student saying it is hard and taking five APs.
When taking an AP, students must sign the contract in spring before the school year begins. Before summer even starts, students have already signed their life away for next year. A lot can change over the summer that would result in a student not needing or wanting to take an AP.
During the summer, students have time to think about what they truly want to do. They are able to learn about what they truly enjoy and eliminate subjects they are not interested in. Many students such as myself discover a new major or area of interest.
Before going into summer, I wanted to be an engineer, so I signed up to take AP Physics. Over the summer, I worked as an intern at Georgia Tech Research Institute. It was here that I discovered how much I disliked engineering and decided I’d rather be a teacher. So now, I am stuck in an AP class that will not help me in any way for my future career.
Until students can fully experience the AP class and see how it fits into the rest of their schedules, students should be able to drop it. A student can truly grasp what the AP class is like only after experiencing it.
When students sign up for an AP class, they also sign up for anxiety, mental breakdowns and constant stress that comes with it. Unfortunately, the school fails to mention these side effects in the contract. The school cannot truly claim to care for students’ mental health when they keep the students in an environment that is worsening it.
Taking an AP class should not mean students have given their lives away for an entire year. Students should be allowed to drop AP classes at the end of the semester and within the first two weeks of school.
Giving up is not an option
What is the point of signing up for an Advanced Placement class if you think you would want to drop the class sometime in the future?
Advanced Placement imply that these are not classes needed in order to graduate high school. These are ones that students can choose to take in order to boost their academic career and further influence colleges to accept them.
Before applying to take an AP class, students are able to attend an informational meeting that allows them to understand exactly what they will be getting into. At this meeting, students learn what subjects they will be studying over the course of the school year, the workload for that class, and how it will transfer into college credit.
Teachers also explain that after getting into these AP classes, students will still have a chance to choose if they want their name down as a committed student by writing “yes” or “no” on their application sheet.
This period of time should be long enough for students to know if they actually want to commit to the class.
If students choose to take Advanced Placement classes already knowing the commitment that comes along with it, they should know what they are getting into.
At the informational meeting, teachers do tend to cover up the truth by mostly talking about the benefits that will come from taking an AP class. This can easily be resolved by talking to former students that have taken that AP course to get their opinion and advice on it.
Former students will be able to talk about what actually happens in the class, and since they were in the students’ shoes the previous year, their input on the class should help to prepare you for it.
As far as the stress and workload that comes with taking an AP class, this should be expected. A person who decides to take the class should already have an understanding that these are college-level classes with the amount of college-level coursework.
Although colleges would not be able to see that a student dropped out of an AP class at the beginning of the year, they would be able to at the end of the semester. With this knowledge, colleges could assume that the course has gotten too challenging for the student or that the student is no longer willing to put in the work required.
After going through all the energy to be able to take the class, students should not drop it without fully trying.