Are AP Classes Worth It?

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Nicole Massaro, Features Editor

Starting in the sixth grade, we are interrogated and forced to decide at such a young age if we want to trudge down the honor classes path. But, can a 12 year old really make a decision that could affect their entire high school career?

How hard is hard when it comes to AP classes? Junior at BHS, Stacy Kappel, admits “some courses are harder than others” but, if you put in the effort and do your work, it will ultimately be worth it. Advanced Placement courses, though, have proven to be extremely challenging. Most of the time that you used to consider “free time” will likely now consist of hours of reading, writing, studying and much more. The crux of the question, are they worth it, stems from the amount of effort put in that could potentially go to waste. There is no guarantee of college credits; you might fail the AP exam and that would result in a  year of useless struggling to inevitably be told that you are not receiving any credits and that your GPA is now down numerous points.

Supporters of  these advanced classes often claim that your GPA is not really affected due to the 15% weighting of the course on your transcript. That, in fact, is true. Your transcript places both your unweighted and weighted cumulative average from your high school experience. However, what they don’t tell you, is that some colleges ask for your unweighted averages only. This could hurt you tremendously if you were relying on that 15% weighting.

AP classes aren’t all bad, though. We reap tremendous benefits from these challenging classes. Our brain, like any other muscle in our body, must be worked out to stay in shape. While we struggle, we simultaneously grow more intelligent and prepare for college. Does it really prep us for that major experience though? AP Language teacher, Ms. Whalen, describes her course as “really good practice for the type of writing you need to do at the college level, since it is often research based.” However, she explained that it is not quite the same as an actual college class. Some similarly argue that AP classes are nothing compared to college’s difficulty. In reality, no high school course could ever really give you the same experience as the college equivalent.

At the end of the day, if you want to challenge your abilities and believe you have the time for it, take an AP class or two. But I would not recommend overdoing it; stick to a few subjects you feel confident in and focus on those.