Balancing AP courses with electives

In high school, some students find it beneficial to take on more rigorous courses, such as Advanced Placement classes, in order to challenge their intellectual ability. Students usually see these AP courses as beneficial to their future education and a way to create a more developed understanding of the world. 

For some students, AP courses are classes that provoke deeper thinking and nurture their need for more knowledge. Elizabeth Williams, a junior, will have taken four AP classes by the end of this school year, and says that she has enjoyed all of them. 

For Williams, it is important for her to immerse herself in challenging coursework so that she can better prepare for her future.

“What’s most important to me is exposing myself to difficult material now so that I’ll know how to deal with and overcome obstacles similar to those in college and in real life,” Williams said.

That seems to be the case for most students: Taking AP courses with the main goal of preparing for higher education. 

Assistant Principal Amy Driggers has some insight on the specific things that colleges are looking for when it comes to accepting students.

“College personnel will tell you that they want to see well-rounded kids that will take the most challenging courses available,” Driggers said.

Driggers mentions that colleges are more willing to accept students who push themselves intellectually through AP courses. However, she also clarifies that taking an AP course shouldn’t stop students from taking classes that involve something that they love. 

Kaley Jackson, a sophomore, has already taken two AP courses and is planning on taking two more in her junior year. She says that she has enjoyed her AP classes so far and likes the information that was taught in those courses.

Like some students, Jackson has had some issues fitting all the classes she needs into her schedule.

“Because I’ve taken AP classes, I had no room for Spanish and have to take Spanish I my junior year,” Jackson said.

There is no denying that a lot of students do feel pressure to take some AP courses over some honors or elective courses. Williams specifically acknowledged that she felt like she had to take an AP course over an honors one, but she knew that taking the more challenging course would end up benefiting her in the long run.

Driggers reminds the student body, too, that the choice isn’t always binary.

“If you want to be an artist, we absolutely want you to be, but we also offer AP art,” Driggers said.

This information is important for students who are especially worried about GPA scorings at the end of each year and how non-AP classes will affect their end-of-year grades. Chapman offers courses that are in the AP track but not necessarily core classes that you would regularly take.

“I really don’t think you can say that one class is more valuable than another because they uniquely come together to create your body of work as a student at Chapman High School,” Driggers said.