The Uproar

AP Influenza

In+a+school+as+academically+competitive+as+NASH%2C+it+%27s+too+easy+to+convince+yourself+that+AP+is+always+the+better+choice.
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AP Influenza

In a school as academically competitive as NASH, it 's too easy to convince yourself that AP is always the better choice.

In a school as academically competitive as NASH, it 's too easy to convince yourself that AP is always the better choice.

graphic by Jonathan Ross

In a school as academically competitive as NASH, it 's too easy to convince yourself that AP is always the better choice.

graphic by Jonathan Ross

graphic by Jonathan Ross

In a school as academically competitive as NASH, it 's too easy to convince yourself that AP is always the better choice.

Jonathan Ross

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Like Mahatma Gandhi, Xi Huang Di, George Washington, and Selena Gomez, the name William Hildebrand holds quite the connotation among NA students. Last year, I had the privilege of studying AP Human Geography in Mr. Hildebrand’s class. Although I must confess I did not apply myself nearly as much as I should have, the curriculum was still highly interesting to me. However, the same cannot be said for the many students who take HuG.

During one particularly complaint-filled class, Hildy said something roughly to the effect of, “If you don’t enjoy the material, why take the class? It’s a ton of work and more pain for you.” The answer to this, of course, being, “we need the AP weight”. Because students need above a 4.5 to achieve in life.

Right?

In certain cases, yes. AP classes and the grade weight that comes along with them are good, a necessity even. Nevertheless, there is a fine line between leveraging the school and the scope of classes it offers and inflating grades. For many of us, the ideals of a 4.5+ QPA and perfect SAT scores have been ingrained since we were young.

Although achieving these statistics is time- or perhaps even soul-consuming, I cannot argue that they do not help in college admissions. Because of this, I instead would like to propose that the AP craze blighting NA, as well as other large schools in our area, limits the specialization in areas of interest and the overall well-rounded nature of students.

The thing which most clearly proves this theory is the contrast between the classes that students want to take and the classes that students feel they need to take. Seeing as I have been at North Allegheny my whole life and have not only seen but also lived this predicament, I can vouch for the potential danger of this attitude.

The danger comes at the peak of AP obsession, when a student’s interests and goals are compromised by the compulsion to take AP classes. For example, a student who has their heart set on being a surgeon may elect not to take the seemingly logical choice of Anatomy because of its “measly” honors weight. Similarly, a student who wants to be a political science major may take AP Psych in place of Honors Foreign Policy.

Furthermore, the potential experience to be gained and possibly used later is sacrificed for a relatively small prize. Because of our school’s policy regarding the release of class ranks, the prize for enduring these misery-invoking tasks bubbles down to a small increase of a few hundredths in your GPA and, if you’re within the top 5% of students in the grade, an invitation to a banquet—with mediocre food at best.

So you need to ask yourself:  In a school where the highest ranked student currently maintains a GPA of 4.7083, the 50th ranked student a 4.4366, the 100th ranked student a 4.302, and the 227th ranked student the first to drop below a 4.0 with a 3.9973*, is that 0.27 difference between first place and fiftieth really going to set you apart from the others? In a school in which 226 other students have at least a 4.0, will that be the deciding factor in your admission? Or will it instead hinge on the multifaceted, personally relevant, and satisfying education that you could have received?

You tell me. You are the AP student.

 

*The above-mentioned GPAs were obtained by The Uproar courtesy of the NASH Counseling Office.  The Uproar neither asked for nor received the names of the students whose ranks and GPAs are provided.

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1 Comment

One Response to “AP Influenza”

  1. Mr. Hull on September 5th, 2018 11:42 am

    “In a school in which 226 other students have at least a 4.0, will that be the deciding factor in your admission? Or will it instead hinge on the multifaceted, personally relevant, and satisfying education that you could have received?”

    Excellent point about why we’re here. We need to re-think our education, and your article validly argues that.

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AP Influenza