Pressure at GA to Bulk Up on APs?

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With the beginning of second semester comes course registration: a time of anticipation, big decisions, and Advance Placement (AP) registration. For many students at GA, the term AP is often accompanied by a feeling of dread.

Students cannot help but ask each other how many APs they are taking. This sense of competition in our community during course registration is overwhelming, and it begs the question: Why do students feel the need to take so many?

AP courses are designed to help strong students achieve college credit while still in high school. It seems that what was once a way for scholars to access a more rigorous curriculum has become a norm, if not, a “necessity.”

There is definitely pressure to take at least one AP in Junior Year,” said Jessica Yacobucci, Group X.

“Everyone believes that other people are all taking at least one, but this is not necessarily true,” said Ellie Garland, X. “Basically, GA girls pressure themselves into believing they need AP classes to succeed.”

If the pressure to take AP classes comes from competition, then many students may be in over their heads. Students who sign up for more APs than they can handle ultimately devote an excessive amount of time struggling to stay afloat in their classes.

“I think it’s silly how people are taking a bunch of AP classes when all they are doing is complaining about the course load,” said Julia Paschal XI. “It is important to feel comfortable with the classes you choose and not to take on a course load that is too much to handle.”

Students need to keep in mind the dedication and effort required of students in AP classes before they make the decision to sign up for too many. It is so much easier to say that you are taking numerous APs than it is to actually take them.

AP course registration is also a time to really think about your interests. Students need to remember to choose an AP class based on criteria other than the label. Other, non-AP, courses may be just interesting.

They may also be just as challenging.

“There is a perception that AP equates to rigor. It is one that we try pretty hard to debunk. One of the blessings of being a small school is that colleges recognize rigor in a lot of our courses that do not have the AP designation. That’s why some of our new interdisciplinary courses are so interesting and exciting to take,” said Ms. Melissa Anderson, GA college advisor.

While planning your schedule, remember that number of AP classes does not necessarily reflect intelligence or ability. It’s time to think outside the AP box.