Freshmen taking advanced placement classes

Anne Wu, Senior Writer

It seems like the class of 2015 always misses out on something. First, we missed the newly remodeled facilities at Maywood. Then, we missed out on Liberty’s new stadiums. And now, we have yet another thing to add to the list – freshmen AP classes. While these missed opportunities are the source of bitterness for many seniors, perhaps, they will eventually prove to be beneficial.

I find it dubious that 15-year-olds can handle the rigor of college-level classes. I do not doubt that certain individuals are capable of it, but I am also certain that many students come to AP classes wholly unprepared.

Freshmen don’t realize that middle school classes do not adequately compare to the AP classes offered in high school. Having good grades in middle school does not translate into a smooth-sailing high school experience in which decent grades are ensured. AP classes are college courses: they are meant to be rigorous. Students can expect to have a heavy workload, difficult tests and academic standards far above what they are used to.

Furthermore, taking AP classes requires students to allocate time previously used for socializing to studying. This is a sacrifice some freshmen – or, really, students of any grade – are unwilling to make. Honestly, who would rather huddle at home doing homework than go out to the movies?

Another glaring issue is that the exact difficulty of an AP class cannot be fully conveyed through the ominous warnings of teachers and counselors, but only becomes apparent once students are weeks into the class and can no longer transfer out. The result? Grades suffer and students start to fall behind.

In contrast, upperclassmen enrolled in AP classes usually have developed the study skills and work ethic necessary to excel in AP classes, as well as a deeper understanding of what they can and cannot handle.

I am not advocating for the elimination of freshmen AP courses; I recognize that some students are itching for a challenge after slogging through the haze of academic boredom in middle school. A more pragmatic solution, I believe, would be the modification of the screening policy already in place.

Currently, the school may give feedback to students whom will likely be unsuccessful in an AP course, but students still have the final say on what classes to enroll in.

Instead, only those whose grades demonstrate proficiency in the topics related to the AP class – such as A’s and B’s – should be allowed to enroll in the AP courses of their choosing.