Too many AP classes can be overwhelming

Published 11:05 am Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Happy Medium by Erin Murtaugh

In addition to the proposed calendar changes in coming years for Albert Lea Area Schools, administration is going to add more advanced placement courses in the high school. While I agree that AP courses are a great way to challenge students and get ahead in college while still in high school, there are reasons why I disagree with taking AP courses.

I have taken five college-in-the-schools classes during my junior and senior year. I took pre-calculus, humanities social studies, humanities English, writing college papers and AP government.

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While I have done just fine last year and am doing just fine this year too, I wish I wouldn’t have taken all of them. Sometimes, it just feels like too much. Yes, there are students who take more college classes in high school than I did.

Let’s take a look at a typical college student: They take four or five classes that most likely don’t meet on a daily basis. These classes obviously are more challenging than high school classes, but, still, there are two fewer classes than high school students take.

Right now, we have seven-period days. That means seven classes. For some students, this could mean as many as four or five college classes right in high school. Students are in school for a whole day, then either have sports practices or work after school. The workload can be overwhelming.

Students, if you’re thinking about signing up for AP courses, go for it. If you’re thinking about signing up for multiple AP courses, take a step back and look at your schedule and personal life. Can you handle the stress of the rigor in the class? Does your schedule allow you to easily get your homework done? If you think you can handle it, then by all means, go for it.

For staff and administration, I hope that they can come to compromise. If a student is taking multiple AP courses, consider making an alternative way for them to do their schedule. Make it possible for them to have multiple study halls or go to a block schedule day.

Students’ workloads are growing to be too much between AP courses, sports, work and just being a teenager. Administration, teachers and students need to find a middle ground so that students can take advantage of more challenging classes and college credit without feeling like they are drowning in the stress of school.


Albert Lea resident Erin Murtaugh is a senior at Albert Lea High School.