Multicolored Microsoft Excel spreadsheets detailing every class available at the high school circulated the halls. These schedules found them- selves crushed at the bottom of backpacks, scattered around school like the lingering dead leaves in fall, and the schedules found themselves being pulled out during class periods to be compared with other schedules. While this time is filled with the excitement that comes with planning for the next school year, this exhilarating haze is causing very smart students to make very unintelligent decisions.
A frequent topic of conversa- tion between underclassmen and future seniors is scheduling, and as they compare their plans for next year, it almost turns into a competition for who is taking more AP or honors classes. It feels good to put a check mark in a box for an AP or honors class and have a teacher from that respective subject initial it, but this is a seriously dangerous game. Seeing an upper-level class on a sheet of paper is deceiving.
When the title of an AP or honors course is typed out in 10 pt. font squished together with the rest of the school’s curricu- lum, it seems doable; however, some students fail to understand the depth that those 10pt. font words have. Students fail to evaluate not only the difficulty of the class and how multiple AP and honors classes’ work- loads will interact with each other but also the emotional and physical toll these classes take on a person. The emotional/ physical stress should be one factor students consider.
Students should be honest with themselves about their abilities, not over schedule themselves and learn to leave room for college applications, after-school activities, social events and other unplanned events.
The fact that students are scheduling too many honors and AP classes may be attributed
to the appeal that these higher level classes have to colleges and universities. With rising competition among students
for acceptance into colleges, an excessive number of higher-lev- el classes almost seems neces- sary for students to get into the college or university of their dreams.
This looming pressure placed on students to take many honors and AP classes not only can be blamed on colleges but also the high school. Many high school personnel encourages students to take high level classes but often times cross the line and harass students to add more stress to their daily lives.
At times, when these classes become too much for the wrong students, many take way to the ever-growing problem of cheating. From copying simple homework sheets to peering over another’s shoulder, all sorts of cheating are wrong. Someone who does not actual- ly do any work but scribbling down someone else’s work may receive a good grade or an even better grade than someone in the class who truly working their hardest. It becomes ridiculous when all of this pressure piles up on a student and forces them to take credit for something they never did.
Honors and AP classes are for a select group of students who are able to balance the hard work and effort with the rest
of their life. It may be difficult for us to decide if we are “good enough” for this sort of class, but the whole idea that regular classes are supposedly frowned upon should not persuade those to take a class that they might not actually be able to balance or handle.