Seniors struggle to balance APs and college applications

Sophia Yodice

More stories from Sophia Yodice

AP courses cause an imbalance when paired with college applications. As a result, seniors struggle to carry the weight.

Illustration by Ishann Romala

AP courses cause an imbalance when paired with college applications. As a result, seniors struggle to carry the weight.

As seniors crawl their way into their last year of high school, the light at the end of the tunnel is barely visible as college applications and AP classes block their view. This balancing act has created a mountain of stress for students as they try to avoid cracking under the pressure.

The school year has only just begun, but seniors have already found themselves sacrificing their social life and self care for advanced courses, college essays and extracurriculars. In their fourth year of highschool, seniors focus most of their energy on the college application process, even unrelated school courses like APs are taken for college credit. As a result, many feel that the workload of an AP adds to their stress but isn’t the main component as college work takes that trophy.

“You need that workload to be able to be prepared in class and be able to learn the material, and I find the AP process really rewarding, especially if it’s difficult and you feel like you’re really making progress,” senior Megan Walker said.

Despite the AP difficulty, the rigor of the course prepares students for college and gives them access to college credit that they can utilize going forward. This leads students to credit most of their stress towards the complexity of college applications and everything that goes into completing them.

It requires me to get into the school both academically and artistically, so while I have to fill out the common app, I also have to record videos of me singing, dancing, and acting with specific requirements.

— senior Ava Benson

Seniors also express the unfairness present in applications with the immense amount of money that goes into them.

“I do think it’s unfair because it’s not just merit that goes into determining where you go…there’s always other things that come into consideration like money, it’s a lot easier to get into a school when you pay full price,” Walker said.

On top of college expenses, AP courses are also not cheap to take, they require a lot of separate time, money, and energy.

“I think it’s unfair because some people aren’t able to afford to take AP classes so it turns them away from taking the classes, and it’s the same with college applications,” Benson said.

Time management is a valuable source of strength throughout this procedure, but some lack such a skill which causes them to fall even more behind. While some students hate the process, others enjoy it as they develop time management skills and hone their abilities approaching college. But even with said skill, students are forced to sacrifice their social life for their education.

“It’s hard to keep up with friends and hangout with them outside of school especially when I’m working all the time, but while I wish I had more time to spend with people, I’m not too upset because I think it’ll pay off,” Walker said.

In terms of developing better time management skills, seniors provide their advice on how to juggle work throughout the week.

“Set aside days of the week when you want to complete work, if you have homework on the weekend, finish it Friday night so the weekends can be strictly for other stuff,” senior Riya Pradhan said.

At the end of the day, virtually every senior is struggling to carry the same weight, whether one side of the scale tips more than the other, both areas are extremely complicated and anxiety filled.

“Only stress about the things you have control over,” Benson said.