To AP class or not to AP class

Macy Sanchez, News Editor, Features Editor

One of the incredible facets of OHS is the wide variety of classes it offers. With regular, dual, honors, and advanced placement classes, students have the opportunity to succeed at any level. In a student’s first year of highschool only honors and regular classes are offered, but as a student continues to climb up the ladder and enters their junior year, a plethora of captivating and diverse classes sit at their feet.

Possibly the most enticing, and also the most fear inducing of these, are AP classes. These classes are the highest level offered at OHS. Naturally, the courses are rigorous, moderately paced, immersive, and challenging. OHS offers an AP level class for history, math, science, ELA, foreign language, art, and computer science. AP classes are incredible because the course goes highly in depth and is immersive. They prepare students for both the workload and commitment required for college classes, but also equip students with pocket-fulls of information that will help them succeed in the next-level class they take in college.

Another benefit of taking an AP class is that it is an opportunity to receive college credit. This way, you will not have to repeat the same course in college. A student cannot receive this credit without passing the AP test. This test is taken at the end of the year, and has several parts. Ranging from three to six parts, the tests can take up to six hours. Each part is timed and difficult, but throughout the year teachers do a marvelous job of preparing their students for the content and structure of the test. The score one receives on this grandiose test determines whether or not they will receive college credit, but it does not affect a student’s overall grade in the class. Students are given an overall score out of five points. A score of four or five will grant college credit in most colleges, but some colleges also accept a three. This test, for each class, is around 100 dollars, but is optional.

Despite these incredible benefits, students often cower away from taking these classes because the workload and level of difficulty overshadow the greatness of the class. As a general rule, each AP class comes with about a half-an-hour of homework each night. When taking multiple classes, this can end up amounting to hours and hours of work. This, of course, depends on the day, the teacher, the subject, and how much a student was able to get done during class. Most AP teachers understand that students have a full workload, and they take that into consideration when assigning homework. 

I believe that most students have the ability, as far as being intelligent goes, to take an AP class. They require a lot of hard work, but they are not impossible classes. Teachers want their students to succeed, and are there to help when things go South. Mental ability aside, there are other things to consider when deciding whether or not to take an AP class. 

The most important of said things is whether or not you are interested in the class. There is no point in taking a class that requires hours of work and dedication if you do not want to learn about the subject. History is a required class, but students have options. If a student is not fascinated by history, then it is not the greatest idea to throw themselves into an AP class where a deep love of history will help them succeed. Otherwise, the class will be a boring pain in the butt. AP classes are mainly for students looking to learn about the subject on a deeper level. 

An equally important factor to consider is mental health. These classes come with some stress and a fair amount of homework. If you feel you are not mentally capable of handling stress on that level, the smartest thing to do is go with another class. There is no shame in that, in fact, it is honorable to recognize one’s limits. 

This goes hand in hand with time management. Students who are involved in sports and after-school activities need to consider how much time they will have leftover for schoolwork. It is, of course, important to try and fit in some downtime every now and then, to be able to stop and smell the roses. A good rule of thumb is allotting three hours each night, or even in the morning, for homework. If this does not seem plausible, then maybe AP classes are not the smartest idea. 

Many feel that they must take an AP class if they want to get into a good college or earn scholarships. Yes, AP classes will definitely help with that, but they are not the only option. Dual enrollment classes will allow students to complete college courses throughout high school so they do not have to repeat them again. This is great for saving money and getting a head start. The only possible hiccup is that these credits generally do not transfer to out of state colleges. General education classes, classes that are neither AP or dual enrollment, are remarkable, as well. Students will also learn a ton of information in an engaging way. The main difference with these classes is that the information taught is more surface level. 

Apart from classes, there are a plethora of other things that colleges consider throughout the admissions process, so try your best to not spend all of your time worrying about which class to take. Not taking an AP class does not mean you will not get into a great college. Likewise, taking an AP class does not guarantee that you will get into an advanced college, either.

Most students who take AP classes were the students in the gen-ed or honors classes that got an A on every test, project, and in every class on every report card up until entering high school. The tough thing is though, performance in an AP class rarely works the same way. AP classes are a few steps up from a regular class, so the information and tests are hard to understand. However, this is okay This just means that students have to put in a little extra work to ensure they understand the material, not that they are going to fail. AP students need to be okay with not getting an A on everything. They need to do away with pridefulness. 

AP classes are incredible. The teachers are amazing. The material is engaging. However, this can be said about other classes, too. The main difference is that the level of difficulty, detail, and work is much higher than in other classes. Every student is different, so do your best to choose the class that suits you, but do not panic about it. Afterall, it is just a class.