Enrollment in Advanced Placement classes has been on the rise in the United States over the last few years, and Loy Norrix seems to be proving this phenomenon.
About two years ago, Loy Norrix Principal Christopher Aguinaga, then Dean of Students, started the AP scholars program, which highlights AP students and their accomplishments. Aguinaga uses the school-wide morning announcements to share brief interviews with students on their AP experience as a way to make AP classes more familiar and accessible to Loy Norrix students.
“The general climate and culture on AP has changed over the course of ten years, with a steady increase of students taking AP courses and trying them, and that’s over the whole district,” explained Dean of Students, Erin Middleton.
Advanced Placement is a program in schools all across the country. It was created by the College Board in order to provide college level material to high school students. These classes help to expand knowledge and prepare high school students for future college courses. These classes are challenging, but they are most certainly not impossible.
“I decided to take AP Lang because English is my favorite subject in school. I wanted a challenge, and it looks good on college applications,” said junior Willa Kuttner.
AP classes look good on college applications, but it doesn’t stop there. There are numerous benefits to taking AP classes, and LN teachers try their hardest to balance challenging material with a realistic outcome of accomplishment.
“It forces them to get into the habit of independent work, think critically, ask more questions, and to be proactive in their education,” said AP Biology teacher Alison Nelson.
AP classes are expected to give students a head start on college requirements while students are still in high school. These classes are most definitely challenging, so there is a lot to prepare for.
“Students should be prepared to expect the rigor of a college level class. We cover a chapter a week, there is a lot of independent work, and we discuss a lot of branches of biology with labs that compliment those topics,” said Nelson.
It is very normal for students to feel discouraged and afraid to take on an AP course. It’s become a common stigma that AP classes are only meant for “smart” students. This is far from the truth. At Norrix, all students are encouraged and welcome to take AP courses, regardless of their prior knowledge on the specific subject.
A lot of this anxiety for students over AP courses stems from the AP exam that is taken at the end of the course which decides whether or not you will be receiving college credit for the subject. Here’s some advice from a senior Heidi Seaman who took the AP Government exam last year.
“Just take your time but don’t overthink it. If you know it, you know it. If not make your best guess and don’t stress about it too much,” said Seaman.
The College Board offers many resources for students who are preparing to take the exam.
“Take the practice tests online or from a book so you can prepare for the types of questions asked in the exam,” said junior Antoinette Puca, who is a scholar of many AP classes.
Middleton’s advice is to “Just try it,” and she’s exactly right. Taking an AP course is definitely a challenge to try that will most likely benefit you in the long run.
“If you don’t get a 3, 4, or 5 [passing grades] on the AP exam, no harm no foul. You are still getting a [high school] credit for it which is a goal for your high school diploma. So it’s a win-win on both sides,” said Middleton.
Even if you did poorly on your AP exam, AP classes are weighed 1 point higher on your GPA at Loy Norrix, meaning that what would normally be a B is weighted as an A on your transcript and so on. Additionally, colleges like to see that students have tried to challenge themselves during high school.
If you’re interested in taking an AP class, chances are there’s an option for you here at Loy Norrix.
Advanced Placement classes available at Loy Norrix:
- AP English: Language and Composition
- AP English: Literature and Composition
- AP Calculus AB
- AP Statistics
- AP Biology
- AP Chemistry
- AP Physics I
- AP U.S History
- AP United States Government and Politics
- AP Art History
- AP Studio Art Portfolio
- AP Psychology
- AP World History
- AP European History
- AP Comparative Government and Politics
- AP French Language and Culture
- AP Latin
- AP Spanish Language and Culture