Starting with Challenge Success and continuing with the new late start schedule, La Cañada Unified School District is looking for new ways to create a more balanced, healthy lifestyle for students. The AP Cap is just one of the new policies proposed by the school to continue this trend-but it was met with negative response. Although the proposal has met many protests since it’s introduction, the AP cap is actually not all too bad if you think about it.
The first benefit the AP cap brings is one of the most obvious: the students’ health. As one of the most obvious reasons, it is also the main reason why our school district is pushing for the policy. There is an obvious correlation between taking more AP classes and students having more stress. For instance, someone taking 5 AP classes would have more homework, tests, and AP tests to stress over compared to someone taking 3 APs, which is the proposed limit. This reduction of stress, combined with a decrease in workload from less homework and tests, would result in more sleep for students, leading to less health problems.
College students take around an average of 3-4 classes per semester. APs are classes created to emulate the difficulty of these college-level classes. Many Juniors and Seniors take around 4-6 AP classes a year, meaning that many are taking 1 or more college level classes than actual college students. This, along with other honors level classes and extracurricular activities, make for an intensely stressful high school career that burdens the student. High school is supposed to prepare students for college, not be harder.
One of the biggest reasons why people are against the cap is how it will affect their transcripts. Many students and parents think that the lowered GPA also lowers the student’s chances of getting into a good college. Many people think that if the cap were to be implemented, the maximum GPA that a student could get would be lower compared to other schools (granted they don’t have a cap as well), making our chances at prestigious schools such as Ivy Leagues minuscule. This, however, is not an issue. Colleges, when looking at applicants, compare them to students from the same school, not those from other schools. They receive a percentile ranking of the students (based on our GPA) that our school provides, and consider applying students that are in the top percent. As everyone in the school would have the 3 AP class cap, the student percentile would not change, making no difference in the likeliness of getting accepted. What matters more would be the extracurricular activities you participate in, which students could spend more time doing due to the AP cap. In addition, counselors would be informing all of the colleges that an AP capstone was implemented, making sure that colleges understand the change in our transcripts.
The strongest argument against the cap is that it doesn’t allow students to chose their own education, and limits their ability to foster personal and intellectual growth. What I argue is that it is doubtful that AP classes provide the right environment for this growth in the first place. You are given too much material in a too short span of time, making it impossible to create a stimulating environment for intellectual growth from genuine interest. Rather, it ends up becoming how much information you can cram in a short period of time. Because of its rigorous forcing of raw information, intellectual curiosity dies soon after class starts.
The school is only looking for ways to make our lives as students easier and better; the least we could do is consider the policy without the headstrong mentality of wanting to look better for college apps-as that isn’t a problem in the first place.