WJ students shouldn’t overload on AP classes

More stories from Alex Wolfson

For mental health, students are better off only taking AP classes that they know they can handle and benefit from.

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For mental health, students are better off only taking AP classes that they know they can handle and benefit from.

Every year, WJ students complete a particular survey that asks questions about their classroom experiences. A central part of this poll is asking about the availability of AP classes and whether or not students have been sufficiently encouraged to take them. The poll undoubtedly has a clear attitude that it’s wrong if not all students are strongly encouraged to take APs. This, however, is a mistake on WJ and the county’s part. The problem is not a lack of encouragement to take APs, it is pressure to take them.

At WJ, many students take an overload of AP classes that lead to overwhelming amounts of work. Many juniors and seniors take at least two or three and sometimes even more. Honestly, there is no point in taking that many AP classes from an educational or mental health standpoint. Not only are AP classes more work, but they are very limiting. There are a lot of great electives that students close themselves off to when they feel the pressure to reach 10 APs by graduation. There is Law, Philosophy, Mediterranean Studies, Molecular Biology, Astronomy, Anatomy, Guitar, Piano, tech classes, Ceramics, Journalism and the list goes on. WJ offers so many unique classes, but when students opt for APs they miss out on the opportunity to try something new and interesting.

The poll always seems to take the stance that there is something wrong if all students are not encouraged to take so many APs. But it’s okay if students have other interests they want to explore or if they know that an AP class may be too much work.

The best advice I got from a teacher my junior year was not to overload on APs because it becomes much harder to fully grasp material when a schedule is jam-packed with AP classes. College and grades are important but so is taking the time to be with friends and family, something that is critical for good mental health. So the problem really isn’t a lack of access to APs, it’s too much access. Students: don’t overload yourself and enjoy your time at WJ with classes that are meaningful to you.