If AP is a Ceiling, Shatter That Glass

The AP, or Advanced Placement, program constitutes college-level curriculum classes that contribute challenging course material that educates high school students. This program was started by the College Board, an American organization created in 1899 to help students with higher-level education resources and creator of the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test). The AP program can also help high school students gain college credits by passing the exam for that course at the end of the year.

“Well, at this school and probably other schools,” Evelyn Balderrama, AP Literature and AP Language teacher, said, “Our AP classes are very rigorous and fast-paced, even compared to other school’s AP classes. Part of [the work ethic] is putting forward the work and time, the rigor and the pacing may be hard and teachers move through concepts and different lessons pretty quickly.”

The fast pacing of the AP classes helps students become immersed in the college environment. The AP exams test every student for a large capacity of knowledge about a specific subject, therefore the quick timeline of the course can help the student learn as much as possible.

“When you really look at it, they’re taking a semester class in college extended over two semesters,” senior Madeline Tredway said. “I mean, that sounds kind of easy when you think about it, and the workload is a lot, but it’s just the workload.”

DSHS has many different AP sourced classes and programs, from AP Art to AP Biology and beyond. In 2018, around 1.24 million American students took a total of 4.22 million AP Exams, which shows an increase of 65% from the number of students who did so in 2008. 

“I think that there are many benefits to the classes.” senior John Mihaly said, “First and foremost for certain that they place you in a good position for when you apply to university. That looks very attractive. The colleges like to see your rigor and your strive in this and AP courses in general.”

  The Student Research Foundation cited the pressure upon certain students to do well and be in an AP class, as it seemingly determines your intellectual strength. Yet, many DSHS teachers have stated they believe the success of an AP student lies in their work ethic and not their natural intelligence.

“Just be ready to work hard and it’s not going to be easy,” Balderrama said, “But if you’re willing to put forth the effort, and I can probably speak for most teachers here, they’re going to work with you and meet you wherever you are and get you to the level that you need to be at.”

The exams that occur in May constitute the ending tell-all of an AP class and its success in teaching its material to the students. Students may purchase an official College Board study guide to prepare for the important test.

“The first obstacle is dealing with what’s in front of you,” Mihaly said, “Which means that you’re going to have to put in the work inside and outside of school. You’re going to need to be studying everything, using all the resources that you have available to you as you get closer to the test.”

Though the AP exams contain a lot of coursework, they help the student save money (through the ability to gain college credits by the exam) and also help the students prepare for the college environment. 

“Don’t let it consume you,” Tredway said, “Realize that you’re more than just someone who takes an AP class and that you have different interests and if something in the AP classes does not come naturally to you, or you don’t get it right away that doesn’t make you unfit to be in an AP class. It doesn’t make you different from everybody there it doesn’t matter until you actually do the work.”


By Ethan Everman, Staff Writer

Featured photo by Tessa Stigler

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