The online student newspaper of Vandegrift High School

Vandegrift Voice

The online student newspaper of Vandegrift High School

Vandegrift Voice

The online student newspaper of Vandegrift High School

Vandegrift Voice


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AP courses: Are they worth it?

Maya Bustami

From AP and IB to ACC, there are numerous rigorous courses to choose from. Most students opt for AP courses, drawn by the academic challenge, college credit, and a competitive edge in the ever-evolving landscape of higher education. Many of these courses have gained substantial popularity and are seen as a pathway to academic success in high school and beyond. But the question remains: What drives students to take on these demanding courses?

I started taking AP courses freshman year because I wanted to learn from the best teachers with an academically motivated peer group and take classes that would best prepare me for college,” senior Gage Gruett said. “[AP Seminar] was one of the few classes where I felt I was genuinely learning applicable concepts for both real life and research in college. AP Research is, in all regards, important to me.

— Gage Gruett

The reasons for enrolling in AP courses are as varied as the subjects themselves. For many students, the desire to challenge themselves and engage with more demanding coursework is a primary motivator. The advanced curriculum provides an opportunity to delve deeper into subjects of interest, encouraging a desire for learning beyond the standard high school curriculum, as non-AP classes may fall short in providing enough of a challenge to students.

“Because I’m planning on pursuing public health in college, I decided to take AP Biology to get a feel for what the curriculum would be like,” senior Ying Bonfils said. “We’re fortunate enough to have an amazing teacher, Mr. Bruce, who makes the content we learn engaging and fun.”

Despite these motivating factors, the decision to enroll in AP courses isn’t without its challenges. The workload can be overwhelming, and the pressure to perform well in these classes can take a toll on students’ mental health. Maintaining a balance between academic excellence and personal well-being remains a considerable challenge.

“Even though AP Calculus BC has helped me gain fundamental studying and time management skills, like any traditional AP course, these courses usually tend to prioritize efficiency and expediency over fun and engagement,” junior Neha Kunka said. “They push through so much material in such a short time that they bypass the actual learning and comprehension of the concepts.”

The appeal of such courses lies not only in the desire for challenging coursework but also in the skills gained, challenges overcome, and the preparation for future academic endeavors. Shaping students into well-rounded, driven individuals prepared to take on the world beyond the school halls, these courses not only provide academic challenges but also open doors to opportunities for growth, lifelong skills, and perspectives they carry into the broader world.

“Truly, I would recommend AP to anyone interested in seeking a challenge or anyone who enjoys having intellectual conversations and meaningfully contributing to academic discussions,” Gruett said.

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About the Contributor
Marley Page
Marley Page, Staff Reporter
Marley Page is a senior and is thrilled to serve her first year on staff. Apart fr0m newspaper, she is involved with Operation Smile, NHS, and Yearbook at Vandegrift. In her free time, she enjoys going to concerts, spending time with her friends, and volunteering at Ten Thousand Villages of Austin.

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