Ladue Lead

Is taking APs worth it?

Photo by Ope Falako

Photo by Ope Falako

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As the end of the school year approaches, freshmen and sophomores will begin to consult with their friends, families, and counselors to determine what classes to take next year. An important factor that they take into account is the effect these courses will have on their GPA. In my opinion, it is better to take Advanced Placement, or AP courses and risk lowering one’s GPA rather than taking non-advanced classes and possibly maintaining – or raising- one’s GPA.

As of right now, taking an AP course acts as a rite of passage for many students. They are encouraged by their peers to take either AP European History or AP World during their sophomore year and to increase the number they take in subsequent years. Taking these challenging courses not only shows a student’s ability to understand various topics at the collegiate level, but also shows colleges they can handle the rigor. However, a downside to Ladue’s AP culture is the fact that students tend to take too many APs. They underestimate their ability to balance all of their responsibilities and end up dropping the course at the semester and their GPA takes a nosedive.

Though their level of rigor isn’t as high as APs, non-advanced classes provide students the opportunity to explore their interests. Classes like Technical Theatre give students the opportunity to learn about different power tools and help build the set for the annual spring musical, while Advanced Expository Writing allows seniors to work on their college essays. These courses give students a break from their core classes, thus creating a well-rounded schedule. Since these classes aren’t too challenging, they don’t pose a threat to one’s GPA and could potentially help raise it.

I believe that it is better to take AP courses and risk lowering one’s GPA than to take non-advanced classes and maintaining one’s GPA. AP classes allow students to learn at a higher level and give them the opportunity to earn college credit. Though non-advanced classes provide students with a way to explore, colleges prefer schedules that consist of harder classes and one could explore a topic at a more advanced level. If you are still worried about your GPA, the key to succeeding in an AP course is to not overwhelm yourself and ask your teacher for guidance when you begin to struggle.

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Is taking APs worth it?