Faculty Members Clear Students Doubts

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Students often have doubts about the differences between AP and regular classes.

College/Career counselor Julie Johnson does not believe that superior intelligence is a must to be in pre-AP and AP classes.

“It helps to be really smart but you don’t have to be in order to take AP classes because what it really requires a lot of work,” Johnson said. “If you’re a student who is ready to work and willing to put in the hours, then you’ll be fine. And you might not be the smartest kid in school but if you’re not academically disadvantaged, then you might want to push yourself to doing AP classes.”

College Advisor Carlos Rios says that AP classes prepare high school students for college because of the experiences that the students are put through.

“AP classes provide the rigor and advanced work and also demand critical thinking skills from students that they’re expected to use in college,” Rios said. “Skills like doing research papers, citations and taking notes are what AP students learn in their high school classes and that are going to be expected from professors at colleges.”

Rios says some students worry that they won’t be prepared for college if they’re in regular classes.

“That’s not the case entirely because what colleges really like to see is students who challenge themselves,” Mr. Rios said. “One of the things that colleges told me they look for is ‘has the student tried to challenge themselves and how well did they do with that challenge?’ so students who are taking pre-AP or AP classes, have a higher chance of getting into their preferred college because of the fact that they’ve been challenging themselves. But that doesn’t mean that kids who are taking regular aren’t going to get into college because there are a ton of other things that colleges look at.”

Some freshmen think that regular classes are blow-off classes, but Johnson said it’s important for students to realize as soon as freshman year starts, so does your GPA score.

“Preparing for college and where you stand starts from the very first assignment you have in high school,” Johnson said.

“Some teachers don’t like teaching pre-AP or AP classes because they like teaching regular. Teacher assignment also depends on what the principal wants and teachers who get picked for pre-AP or AP have to go get training for AP. The main difference in the classes for the students is that AP’s are at a faster pace and they’re at a higher level.”

That higher level can make things easier for students in college but not always.

Pre-AP and regular Spanish teacher Ethan Shaw says the reason some students don’t go to college is mostly due to the high rate of student apathy. He says one of the big factors nowadays is the scarcity of motivation and work ethic some students show.

“I’ve noticed this, and you can ask any teacher and all will say the same thing, that kids nowadays are more apathetic than ever before,” Mr. Shaw said. “You can ask any teacher or administrator and they will tell you student apathy is off the charts. There’s intrinsic motivation and there’s extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic is what you get from your mom and dad and intrinsic is what you get from yourself. And both play a big part in how a student does in school.”

Yet Shaw also believes that other factors such as wanting a job right away can also contribute to students deciding not to go to college.

“We have certain programs that are really good,” Shaw said, “like the Carrigan Programs. I think those are wonderful because not everyone wants to go to college. They would rather get a job straight after high school. The Carrigan program can help you get certain certifications so after you graduate you can apply to whatever it is you like.”

As students continue through their high school years, they have the impression that college is their ticket to success. However Mr. Rios says college does not define success for every student and they should not feel limited.

“College is not for everyone and that’s okay because there are other things that they can do like enlist or get a job, and I just don’t want kids to think that that’s all there is to be successful,” Rios said. “I want students to come up with their own definition of success.”

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