Should Freshmen Be Allowed to Take AP Classes?

Shelby Morrow, Photography Editor

Advanced Placement (AP) courses are college-level classes that are currently only available for sophomores, juniors and seniors at East. 

While some freshmen may think they are ready for such an intense course, AP should only stay available to sophomores and up. AP courses take a lot of time and effort every day. It seems a little extreme for a freshman to go straight into high school and take an AP course. Not only for freshmen, but for anyone taking an AP course, it is best to have experience in an honors course first. Although honors and AP are different, honors is beneficial in preparing for AP. 

Middle schools offer an Academic Challenge (AC) program in which students have to be accepted or requested. Students who were in AC have a better chance of succeeding an AP course as freshmen because they were in more rigorous classes in middle school. 

Tyler Schmidt is the AP economics teacher at East and has taught for two years as an economics teacher. He had a few choice words about AP courses.

“I wish we had a way to help students better prepare for AP. I feel like when students come they don’t have a full grasp of what it really takes to be in AP,” Schmidt said. 

Although they might do better, freshman should not have the option for AP. Freshmen are exploring high school and what it has to offer. Taking AP will put too much pressure on them. It even puts a lot of pressure on upperclassmen, which means it would affect the freshmen more due to maturity and experience. 

Additionally, advanced classes in middle school are different from advanced high school classes. While they can prepare students, AP is more challenging than AC or honors classes.

“Students don’t always understand what an AP class takes. A lot of them look at it like it’s an honors class,” Schmidt said. 

As someone who takes an AP course, and is taking them in the future, it just seems like the best option to allow freshmen to get acclimated to high school is waiting to take AP. Freshmen should have their first year to figure out their academic path and prepare for AP, if that is what they choose.

At the end of the year, AP courses allow students to take the AP exam. AP Economics, a course that many sophomores take, costs $94 while AP English and Math courses cost $9. Underclassmen are not offered a reduced cost for AP exams. For a freshman to pay $94 to take an exam and not be prepared is a waste of their time and money.

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