Pro / Con: AP Cap
October 8, 2018
In a competitive high school environment like that of Clayton High School, advanced students are urged to take as many AP classes as they can. Some, however, find that this situation creates unnecessary stress for the students and suggest that the district impose a limit to the number of AP classes a student can take per year. The Globe staff takes on this issue, providing strong arguments for both sides!
AP classes are meant to enrich your learning, but excessive amounts can be harmful. We should limit the number of advanced placement courses a high schooler can take per year. It will reduce students’ stress and allow them to focus on excelling in a few demanding classes.
CHS should have an AP cap. Students that benefit from the cap will have the mental peace that they have done all that they can with their schedule.
This will reduce stress and it will help them focus on other aspects of life such as forming relationships, sports, relaxing and clubs.
Colleges will acknowledge that those students did all they could with their schedule. According to college counselor Carolyn Blair, “It would not affect our admission. We would just tell the colleges here’s what we’re doing and they would respect that and our kids would not be penalized for that.”
One of the reasons many gifted students pile on AP classes and endure a rigorous schedule is so they can prove that they are the best choice for selective colleges.
Other top private schools such as John Burroughs School have an AP cap of three honors.
Although most students think taking AP classes may reduce the number of classes they have to take in college, very few people who take AP classes graduate before four years.
Students also take AP classes so they stand out to colleges. Even if students take an impressive number of advanced placement classes, the lack of other achievements can cause colleges to lose interest.
If we limit the number of advanced placement classes students can take, high schoolers can focus more on service hours, sports, passions, clubs and hobbies.
Some students take many advanced classes to prepare themselves for college and the workload there; however, college students usually only take around four classes per semester.
So taking five to six AP classes a year creates an unrealistic workload for students.
John Tierney, a high school and college professor states, “the high-school AP course didn’t begin to hold a candle to any of my college courses.”
Even if you take an AP class, you may have to take that class again in college.
All of this could be avoided if there was a nationwide cap, but since we cannot control the entire country, we should address an AP cap within CHS.
We should implement a cap of one to four AP classes at Clayton High School per year.
Some students are taking five AP classes this year alone.
One example is senior Areeba Khan, who is taking five AP classes this year, and took four last year. This cap will allow students to push themselves without causing damage to themselves.
Some students are thriving with loads of AP classes. Some aren’t. Every student is different, so having an AP cap that tolerates the needs of most people is important.
An AP cap lets students follow their passions instead of focusing on getting into the best college all the time. Some students drop classes they like in order to take AP classes, even though there is no guarantee that that class will help them get into the college of their choice or even if the college that they decide to go to accepts AP credit.
Introducing an AP cap will help students manage their stress and focus on other aspects of their life, but as college counselor Carolyn Blair pointed out,“It’s going to take a big shift to make any changes. And it is really going to take really kids and parents saying that this is not okay.”
So, if this is your opinion on AP caps, speak up so we can start to make a change.
Dheera is a senior and this is her fourth year on Globe. She is a News Section Editor. Dheera joined because she is passionate about writing and wants to inform the Clayton community...
Many schools across the nation are placing a cap on the number of Advanced Placement courses a student can enroll in to decrease the stress and pressure put on the student; however, doing so limits the student’s chance to take the classes they prefer, and might strip away motivation as they are forced to take less challenging courses instead.
At CHS, students are only allowed to enroll in AP courses during their junior and senior years. Other schools, including Ladue High School, not only permit students to take AP courses starting freshman year, but Ladue students can also skip grades in a specific subject to push themselves even more.
By having only two years of time to take AP classes, CHS is already limiting enrollment in AP courses, so there is no need to place a quantitative cap to limit AP enrollment further.
One of the reasons why some people feel the need to limit the amount of APs is because AP classes place high stress on students. AP courses tend to have more homework and require more studying than other courses. However, these workloads challenge students to be more efficient in doing homework and studying, which serve as preparation for the college years to come.
Also, the amount of homework is different depending on the specific AP class. For example, the homework for AP Music Theory is very different from the homework for AP Physics II.
It is also the school’s responsibility to advise and guide students’ choices in course enrollments. Clayton has designed tests to measure student proficiency in a variety of subjects, and the highest level course placement should be based on assessments and teacher recommendations.
If a student wishes to take a more advanced class than recommended, they should request a meeting with their counselor. The fear of overextending the student should not be a reason to limit their choice of courses.
Many students take AP courses to push themselves and to meet others who share the same interests. Since AP courses are designed for college students, their contents are much more rigorous than those offered by College Prep or Honors classes. By not allowing students to take APs freely, the school restricts students’ freedom to pursue subjects and courses that they are passionate about.
Several students have also reflected that there is not enough time to take the classes they want.
Freshman Jessie Lin said, “There are a lot of classes that I want to take at the high school, but because of schedule problems I can’t take, and I feel like AP caps would cause the same problems.”
In case students do make mistakes and choose a class that is too advanced for them, they always have the option to drop out.
Kellan Duan, a junior currently enrolled in 3 AP classes, said, “I recognized at the end of sophomore year that I would have trouble trying to take AP Calc BC, AP Bio, AP Chem, and Honors American Lit all together. So I decided to drop HAL in favor of CP English III and to not take AP Bio altogether.”
In conclusion, Clayton should not limit the freedom of class enrollment. Doing so might be able to help some students to not overwork themselves because of peer and adult pressure, but after all, that should be up to the student.
All students will face competition and pressure later in life. There is no reason for high schools to limit student achievement.
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