Students Take Advanced Classes for the Wrong Reasons

Simone Britto, Staff Writer

At Miramonte, many students take AP and honors classes for the wrong reasons. Due to peer and parental pressure, people that can’t handle them or are not truly interested in them feel forced to take college level classes.

We’re in high school, and some of us are only 15. Not everyone is ready to take college level courses.

“A lot of people sign up for an AP class, thinking that it will look good on their transcript,” junior Lina Mathkour said.“But they overestimate the amount of work and time they were willing to put in. An honors or AP class is a big commitment.”

Many Miramonte students are taking AP classes purely to impress colleges. College looms over us, and because of the pressure to go to a well-known school, students forget that there are schools out there that will accept people with less than a 4.0 grade point average.

“Although I am truly interested in some of my classes, the fact they are APs is why I really chose them,” junior Hannah Li said. “I chose not to take certain classes that I wanted to because they were not honors or AP. Between my parents and me, I don’t think there was ever a question about whether I would take US History or AP US History.”

Applying to colleges appears to have become a cutthroat competition. Padding your transcript with honors and advanced placement classes seems to be the only way to beat your peers into the college of your dreams.

“It seems like everyone at Miramonte is applying to the same five colleges, but there are a lot of great schools that everyone forgets about,” junior Miles McCaulou said.

If you aren’t interested in history, why would you subject yourself to taking AP European History? “Because you have to devote so much time studying for AP European History, when you are taking the class, you have to convince yourself you love it, even if really you don’t,” current Euro student sophomore Maritza Grillo said.

This appears to be the general attitude towards advanced placement classes.

Students stress over how many AP classes they are taking, and it becomes a contest. We pressure each other to take classes we aren’t all ready for.

In other cases, parents force their kids to take AP and honors classes, thinking that it will improve their child’s chances of getting into a good college. In reality, it could be hurting them. If a student is not prepared for an advanced class, the stress and time required  to study could ruin the rest of his or her grades.

“My parents told me I had to take four AP or honors classes before I graduate, but it doesn’t leave me time to study for my other classes,” sophomore Kara Hom said. “My other grades are important too.”

“When you’re fighting for a B- is it even worth it?” junior Julia Duncan asked. “My AP United States History class is full of students that thought they should pad their transcripts and are regretting it now because their other grades are suffering too.”

The weight of AP exams and coursework can lessen students’ overall high school experience, detracting from their social lives and sports teams. High school students should be enjoying these years, not spending them inside studying and worrying.

If you’re not passionate about the environment, taking AP Environmental Science isn’t the best idea. “There are tons of people in my class who expected it to be an ‘easy AP’ and all they do during class is complain about how boring it is,” current AP Environmental Science student junior Kate Holmes said.

There are some students at Miramonte that take AP classes because they are interested, and for those students it offers a much valued challenge, but taking advanced classes shouldn’t be on everyone’s to-do list.

So don’t stress. As you sign up for classes over the next few years, don’t jump on the AP bandwagon unless you are truly interested. Tell your friends and parents to relax, and take the classes that interest you. There’s a college out there for everyone.