AP Courses: Would It Be Appropriate for Sophomores, Too?


AP classes are not provided during 9th or 10th grade courses (AP European History is not provided at Irvington).

AP courses are stressful. This is a well-acclaimed fact that many high school students can validate, staying up late slaving over essays and labs, all for their advanced placement classes. It is this stress that leads us to reconsider the weight of taking loads of AP courses per year during high school and the detrimental impacts it may have on students. It is as a result of this workload and negative effect on students that Irvington should reconsider allowing sophomores to take other AP courses on top of the offered AP world language classes. 

The opportunity of taking AP courses in sophomore year would enable students to reduce the tension in their schedules. Students wouldn’t need to compete over limited AP class placements, which already happened earlier this year when students were upset over not being able to receive their requested AP courses, such as AP Art History. This would become less of a problem, however, if the classes were separated throughout sophomore to senior years since there would be less competition for getting into those respective courses. Students would have already taken some of those classes in their sophomore year, allowing spaces to be freed for rising junior or senior students who wish to study that subject. 

Not to mention, the incorporation of AP classes during students’ second year of high school would let them spread out their classes and plan for which ones they want to take. Taking into consideration the number of AP classes that the school recommends (0-2 APs) versus the amount that many students may take (2+ APs), it would be beneficial to give students the ability to choose whether or not to take AP courses so that they can decide what their schedules for each school year look like. Under this system, students would be able to focus on a smaller number of classes rather than being overwhelmed by three or more AP courses. For example, two AP classes per year is inarguably more preferable than forcing in three of the same classes per year from junior to senior year. 

Moreover, having AP classes in sophomore year would permit students to take AP courses in which they are actually interested, in addition to allowing them more free time. ROP and elective courses are available at Irvington, and as such, students who are looking toward working in these fields in the future can pursue said classes. Freeing up a period or two in their school schedules can also pave the way for students to attend more extracurricular activities, such as clubs or sports, or even let them work extra time in part-time jobs. Not to mention, at Irvington, students are required to participate in benchmark projects (Change, WIP, QUEST) that are a year-long and are time-consuming as well. According to the benchmark packets and the 2021-2022 FUSD course catalog respectively, the time needed to comply with the deadlines of these benchmarks is 1-2 weeks of work with an additional average of approximately 3 hours of nightly homework (including AP courses), meaning that a students’ day is already occupied by the workload from school and the time needed to carry out daily living activities. If AP courses are to be provided in sophomore year, this workload during each school year would decrease as the number of advanced placement classes would be spread out throughout high school and not bundled up in the last four semesters.

Although some people pose the argument that sophomores are not yet ready for AP classes due to a lack of experience. This is true: Being in high school for a year does not qualify a sophomore for all AP courses, as they haven’t attended the fundamental classes needed to support them in many advanced classes. However, there can still be a way to enable sophomores to take AP courses without having to skip the basics. A solution is to limit the number of AP courses that a student can join. Irvington could limit these courses to easier classes, such as AP Psychology or AP Environmental Science. If the administration continues to restrict all chances of attending AP courses, though, people will continue registering for courses or self-studying to pass their AP exams. This places low-income students at a grave disadvantage as they have to purchase external materials instead of the ones supplied by school. 

In the end, providing sophomores with AP courses would be both beneficial to sophomores themselves as well as juniors and seniors. It decreases the burden of scheduling and school work on students while permitting them time to delve into other studies that they enjoy. Therefore, the addition of AP courses in sophomore year will surely be favorable toward the student body and its school life.