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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Students weigh the benefits and downfalls of diverse AP offerings at other schools

Algebra 2 Trig Honors, English Honors, Physics Honors, and World History Honors. These are all classes that were on the freshman schedule of current Harker junior Ashwini Iyer.

Harker is a private high school that offers 29 AP classes, compared to the 17 that Saratoga High offers. Archbishop Mitty, Lynbrook, and Monta Vista all have more APs than SHS.

This leads to the question: Should the school offer more APs? Should SHS risk adding to its already stressed out environment?

At Mitty, students have the option of taking up to eight classes at a time. Some take as many APs as possible, overloading their schedules.

“Some people stack their schedules with AP classes and take seven or eight classes, sacrificing their off periods,” Mitty junior Leslie Cheng said. “[The administrators] tell us to pick classes we're interested in, but everyone just does it for the GPA boost.”

Unlike Mitty, Harker’s advanced placement courses are mostly electives.

“I don’t think anyone is that pressured to take APs by their peer’s decisions,” Harker senior Jennifer Dai said. “It's mostly your own decision; however, some AP classes are more common than others so people feel more competition taking them.”

Most Saratoga students agree that they would like more AP courses, but that harder classes would create more competition. In a Falcon poll of 172 students of all grade levels, 61 percent of students disagreed with the policy of limiting AP classes.

Senior Jennie Werner agrees that some students’ rush to take APs is a little over the top, but doesn’t think that limiting the number of AP and Honors classes would solve the problem.

“Students will always find a way to take the classes at community colleges and to overload themselves and I don’t think that by changing the course offerings this will be fixed,” Werner said.

She said there needs to be a cultural shift and students must realize that classes are for learning and not for simply boosting their GPA. At the same time, Werner thinks that having the option to take more AP classes would have benefited her.

“If I had the option to take more AP classes, I might’ve been able to take the AP classes I was truly interested in,” Werner said. “I felt the pressure to take APUSH even though I’m not that interested in history, I think maybe I could’ve taken another AP class I was actually interested in.”

Even though the addition of more AP courses may have helped Werner, she also noted that for some it would just result in students overloading themselves on too many AP classes.

“There’s more to high school than what college it gets you to,” Werner said.

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