There was an article yesterday on “US News & World Report” in which we’re quoted that discusses the ruminations of some high schools to implement AP course limits. With AP course limits, these high schools believe, parents and students could “breath a sigh of relief” that they’re doing all they can to get into the best college possible. But these parents and students are missing the point and we’d like to explain why!
Is it stressful to have to take a plethora of AP courses? Yes. Would it be easier for a junior to fill in her schedule with a public speaking or creative writing class (classes that aren’t part of the AP program)? Often times, yes. But since when is easier better for students? Just because it’s less stressful? Are high schoolers at high risk of heart attacks? What are we missing here? Don’t get us wrong, it’s not healthy to overwhelm students in their teenage years but we hardly see how taking a few extra AP courses is going to do serious damage.
The fact is that highly selective universities want students who want to learn. They want students who exhibit this intellectual curiosity. They want students who seek out the most challenging and rigorous academic curriculum…and excel in that curriculum. So if a student’s high school only offers a few AP courses, should that student just take those classes and say to themselves, “I did all I could with what my high school offered me?” No. Students can take AP exams in coursework not offered at their high schools! We’re not saying to take additional AP courses. (But that’s fine too!) We’re saying to sit for additional AP exams…ones that may require some study. Colleges just love that and it’s a good way to stand out on your college application!