In a society in which grades are revered, Diamond Bar High students are spending many sleepless nights in hopes of scoring 5’s on their AP exams.
According to a 2014 report by College Board, almost 2.3 million high school students took part in AP testing. At DBHS alone, there are 23 AP courses offered to students. However, the AP culture at DBHS is over emphasized, which is caused in part by the need to maintain a standing as one of the best high schools in the country.
Students need to find the balance between regular and advanced classes that works for them. Unfortunately, this is very difficult to do when not taking AP courses gives the impression of laziness.
Although the multitude of AP courses does help Diamond Bar stand out, it may be doing more harm than good. Taking AP classes can come with large amounts of stress and loads of additional classwork, and, on top of that, many DBHS students participate in sports, clubs and music programs. All the extra work does not help if it causes the loss of sleep, poorer grades, in-class fatigue, and poor scores on the AP tests. While taking AP classes can demonstrate that students are actively trying to better themselves, pushing themselves beyond what the average student might do, it does not do any favors when they burn out in an attempt to fit everything in.
The sad truth is that students are being pressured into taking these difficult classes, many of which they can’t handle, because of the atmosphere of DBHS that is created by an obsession with passing as many AP courses as possible. With the apparent majority of students taking multiple AP classes, it is hard to be a part of the minority and take regular classes rather than those that are sure to cause excessive stress levels.
Students hear the words “taking more AP classes will get you into a better college” too many times. Individuals should be able to judge for themselves how many AP classes they are capable of taking without being exhausted by the end of the day.
There should be no stigma attached to not taking an AP class, especially if it is not an important subject to the student. As a warning, if you know that extracurricular activities will be taking up too much of your time or if you can’t buckle down and do all of the extra work that comes with taking a harder class, you should not have to. It is much better to get the better grade in a regular class than to suffer in an AP class you know you can’t handle.