To AP Or Not To AP | Ali Youel

To AP Or Not To AP

by Ali Youel


It’s the start of another school year, and there are papers to write, tests to take, projects to create, all-nighters to be pulled, and an enormous amount of coffee to be consumed. The deadline to drop a class without a “W” is Tuesday, September 12th, and as we realize our course load and schedules, the question is: to drop or not to drop? For students with Advanced Placement (AP) classes, the question is very important. It also brings up the thought, “Are AP Classes worth it?”

Obviously, there is the possible GPA boost as well as the college credit, and it can make your transcript look better for college applications. But AP classes come with a load of homework, and if you have no interest in the subject, the work can be tedious and brain-numbing. Not to mention stressful. For students taking two or more AP classes a semester, the work can pile on, creating a mountain of stress, and with sports and other extracurriculars, this can become hectic.

Stanford University senior lecturer Denise Pope said, “Frankly, many high-achieving high school students are really stressed out. They have a lot to do between extracurricular activities and homework and also trying to get the sleep they need. They need to be prepared for what an AP course involves. The extra tests, extra homework, on top of an already demanding schedule, can be brutal. And a very low grade on your transcript from an AP course may hurt you more in the long run than not taking an AP in that subject at all.”

AP classes can potentially save you a lot of money. You can get credit for a hundred dollar test, much less than the alternative thousand plus dollar class. As College Confidential states, “AP college credit is a good buy... [An] AP course can be taken for the price of registering for the final exam, which is less than $100.” This is a great option for many students and their families, and should definitely be considered when in deliberation over taking an AP class.

All in all, the decision is yours, and you know best what you are capable of. Be careful when taking multiple hard classes, especially APs. Don’t forget that your mental health is the priority. I know you may laugh at the idea of a full eight hours of sleep, but it is possible. Do what is best for you.