AP Courses



Deepika Joshi

There are many students that take an AP class not because they want to gain the knowledge in a deeper level but because it is an “AP” course that they have to take so it looks impressive on their college application or boosts their GPA. The increase of tension regarding the number of AP classes a student should take has become a controversial issue that concerns much of the educational population. Within the past few decades, the AP class overload on a student has increased substantially. Widespread discussions on the topic are inducing school boards to look over the concern, and question if the number of AP classes a student takes should be limited or not. Taking multiple AP courses challenges students to reach new heights and exposes students to levels of understanding that would be administered in a college-level course. However, the lack of social participation, extracurricular activities, and overall value of these courses in college raises the concern that these courses are unnecessary. Overloading students with AP classes contradicts the original reason for creating AP courses and minimizes the students’ chance to really explore the subject. Additionally, AP classes have created a competitive environment in schools around the US, where the initiative is not to engulf oneself into the fascinating subject matter, but to achieve nothing but a high letter grade to impress a certain university or peers. Therefore, the number of AP classes taken by a high-school student contrasts the premise of the course, and a limit should be set in order for students to maintain a more riveting experience in an AP class.

By limiting AP classes a student can take, schools allow students to explore subjects that they are personally interested in. The number of AP classes a student takes should be limited is because it leads students to be stultified rather than allowing students to explore the subject out of curiosity. This should not be the case, as this demises the creative aspects of the class and steers students down a lackluster road. The Atlantic recently had a publication about this topic where they present an argument that promotes this idea by establishing that the current AP curriculum “leads to rigid stultification” and “squelches creativity and free inquiry” which suggests the necessity for change in the current methods of teaching and portraying the ideas to be learned (AP Classes Are a Scam , John Tierney). Moreover, the importance to amend the procedure of assimilation is made distinct by Tierney through his position on the topic. Tierney places emphasis on the lack of creativity in current AP curriculum. This suggests that the curriculum should be more about allowing students to become proficient in a few creative topics where they indulge in complex ideas for a longer period of time rather than forcing students to follow a fast and skim through the syllabus where they learn the mere basics about numerous topics. In general, students agree with the idea of fully mastering a complex idea and finding the creative uses of their knowledge in the real world as compared to only gliding the surface of a subject.

In addition to amending the process of relaying the information to students, the amount of workload should be manageable as it should not hamper in the student’s life outside of school. Furthermore, other articles have been published which are seen to have similar overarching themes about the necessity of limiting the number of AP classes taken by a high school student for similar reasons. The New York Times recently published an article that suggests that the number of AP classes taken by a high school student should be limited as it hampers social and extracurricular activities outside of the academic workplace. Author Valerie Strauss makes her point clear as she states that students social lives are completely brought to a halt as the overloading workload of AP courses is making a detrimental impact. “I know high school students who literally have no social life and enormous anxiety because they spend practically every waking hour doing school work(AP Courses : How many do Colleges Want?, Valerie Strauss). Strauss makes a strong point on the effects of overworking students on their after school activities and social activities. The AP workload should be reconsidered as students are lacking the real insight into the knowledge in the first place and the extreme workload is not a positive influence on the overall learning process.

The quantity of AP courses that a student chooses to enroll in should be limited as it contributes lack of efficiency for mastering the material. As the competitive environment augments in high schools throughout the nation, students become pressured to take more AP courses to simply surpass a number of courses taken: “Some may believe that the sole purpose of an AP class is to obtain the extra grade point on a transcript, and the AP program only creates hostility within classrooms across the nation”. Additionally, the number of courses taken do not contribute to the level of knowledge at a supposed “college level” course. The depth and methodologies used in college level are incomparable to the course that scratches the surface in high school curriculums. Furthermore, it can contribute to deviating a student from the individual’s passions. A good score on one exam can cause a narrow-minded approach when it comes to course registration: “The senior already has a schedule of three AP classes. But what if this student wanted to continue with English? What happens if he or she wishes to challenge his or herself while fulfilling the fine arts requirement by enrolling in AP Music Theory?” Due to such reasons, it validates the position on why it is important to limit the amount of courses as prominent evidence is presented in the article.

Overall, the enrollment during AP courses must be limited due to decreased social and extracurricular activity, deviation from original goal of an AP Course, and lack of efficiency. It leads to more stress yet the student does not reach the level of knowledge as they ideally would without the intensified pressure and competition. Therefore, the quantity of AP courses taken by a student should be limited to a moderate level.