To AP or not to AP? Let’s study that question


Caroline Kealy

Junior Sophia Slone looks on at the AP textbooks; with registration happening now, most students are currently considering whether or not AP is for them.

If one were asked what he or she thought the easiest year of high school was, there would likely be a consensus: senior year. The concept of “senioritis” is practiced by students and feared by teachers, with the hashtag #syfi growing more and more popular as the months of school progress. However, with juniors beginning to consider what classes to take next year, they are often left wondering: is it worth it to take hard classes for the last year of high school?

As of now, Central offers 64 different classes which are categorized as “advanced”. This mix of honor and AP classes hits on almost every academic focus, ranging from art to English. These classes focus on topics which are shared by regular classes, such as AP United States history reviewing the same historical events as the regular US history classes. However, the honors and APs often require more effort, whether it be reading thirty pages a night or moving through difficult concepts in short periods of time. These classes are designed to be challenging, providing an opportunity for students to work their brain. While there are classes which are specific to underclassmen, such as English 1 Honors or AP European History, there are many class options which become available in students’ third and fourth years of high school.

One of the most important things to take into consideration during this process is to not allow peers to sway your decision too much. While advice from graduated students can help to provide insight on the workload and the level of enjoyment they have experienced, it isn’t wise to let your best friend influence you too strongly about what classes to take. The courses one takes are often very personal decisions, mostly determined by the strengths and weaknesses of one individual. Your intelligence is often not perfectly modeled by another.

As with most things, knowledge is power. Finding out information on the topics covered in the class and the amount of work required can be substantially beneficial to one’s selection. In finding out this information, one is able to have a better feel for how the class will work for him or her. Much of this information can be found from teachers, counselors, or by a quick visit to the program of studies page on the school website. Also taking time to step back and review the classes you have taken in the past helps with the selection process. If you are one who often takes on a handful of honors classes, it often isn’t a bad idea to take a couple your senior year. However, the last year of high school may not be the time to jump up from a regular to an AP level course. Unless it is something which you are very passionate about and have experience with, the leap from regular to advanced is often a difficult and bumpy process.

So, is it worth it to take these classes when everyone else is seeming to relax? Unfortunately, there can be no definitive answer. Any teacher will tell you that, yes, you should take the higher class to challenge yourself. However, many students are burdened by the thought of extra work for their last year at home. It all really comes down to your own skills and aspirations. If you’re interested in going into business, taking an honors business course may not be a bad idea. If you have mastered solving equations, AP Calculus BC may be a perfect fit for you. While cruising through the last year may seem appealing, it is smart to be honest in your selections.