Advanced Placement (A.P.) Classes: What Every Student Wants Their Parents To Know

From a young age, students are told to enjoy their youth and take advantage of any opportunities that come along. High School is easily one of the best places to expand, grow, and challenge yourself. One of those opportunities for expanding knowledge is by taking Advanced Placement or A.P. classes.

However, with all opportunity comes responsibility. As someone who has worked diligently to maintain high honors and has enrolled in 9 college level AP courses, I will be the first to add that keeping up with schoolwork, extracurriculars, and maintaining good relationships can be difficult at times.

Nowadays, the demands and pressures of high school might be hard for parents to relate to because their experience was so different. When explaining to my father what classes I’m in, it’s as though I’m speaking gibberish.

As a parent who may or may not have taken A.P. classes in high school, it may be hard to understand what your child is going through. Therefore, you should remind yourself of these few considerations…

Stress Is Real

When in harder A.P. classes, even the most prepared students become stressed. It doesn’t mean they procrastinated or are not trying hard enough. A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that “Teens reported that their stress levels during the school year far exceeded what they believe to be healthy (5.8 on a 10-point scale) and topped adults’ average reported stress levels (5.8 for teens vs. 5.1 for adults). ” Thus, it is important as parents to keep in mind that your child could be under intense pressure and it is the parent’s role to provide support when needed.

It Is Not For Everyone

A.P. classes DO NOT determine intelligence. Your child may be an excellent writer, but their grade in A.P. English may not reflect that. A.P. classes are only one route to take for accelerated work. Other options include; International Baccalaureate (I.B.), Honors, and Dual Enrollment (D.E.) courses that each provide their own benefits. If you find your child is not thriving in any class, it is crucial to remind them of your support, help them problem solve and trust that they will get on the right track.

“I Can’t, I Have Homework” Is Not Just An Excuse

A.P. classes are a full-time commitment and need dedication before and after school hours for the class. Some nights, I remember watching the sun set and then rise while still doing homework.  But, with proper time management, even the busiest students can make it work for their schedule.

Parents, I know it may seem like an excuse… but from a student’s perspectives, having less free time and not being able to do more preferred activities are just some of the sacrifices that students have to make to succeed.

The Rewards Are WORTH IT

For your child, the homework, the studying, the late nights, the hard end of year exams may all seem daunting… but the end results are entirely worthwhile. Here are just a few of the long term benefits of taking A.P. classes: competitive college applications, the ability to take fewer college courses later,  savings on college tuition $ and overall more in depth knowledge on particular subject areas.

It is vital to remind your child of the long-term benefits rather than short term struggles.

So Remember To:

1)Remind Your Child You Are There For Them.

2) Stay Focused On The Important Things- High School is not all about grades… the relationships, growth, and lessons can be worthwhile.

3) Be Their Cheerleader- Listen when they vent, guide them when they ask for help, Be Their Backbone when they just need to feel like they aren’t alone.

Before you know it, your child will be walking across the stage to grab a diploma.

By Charlotte Apfelbaum- High School Senior

For more information about A.P. classes and information see the AP Students College Board Website

For further information about picking a major once in college check our other blog The Major Question

Sources

Teen Stress Rivals That of Adults

APA’s Stress in America™ survey finds unhealthy behavior in teens, especially during the school year. By Sophie Bethune April 2014, Vol 45, No. 4 Print version: page 20