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Get the Heschel Administration to Reconsider the Implementation of APs for Our Senior Year

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Dear Heschel High School Administration,

It has come to the attention of the Junior class that the High School is considering offering an AP Statistics course and an AP Physics course during our Senior year. While we understand that AP courses provide a more rigorous curriculum for those devoted to the specific AP subject, overall we believe that the presence of AP courses at Heschel during senior year will not allow students to take full advantage of the AP offerings, and will only detract from the academic experience of Heschel Seniors next year.

Although AP courses may be beneficial the Heschel community in the future, the implementation of AP courses should be well thought out and planned, to find the best way to incorporate them into our rich academic experience Furthermore, as rising seniors and just being let know now, in May, that there will be the addition of APs next year, feels very out of left field. As juniors, we already have the stress of college applications looming over us and offering APs only derails the process of which we are already halfway through. On the numerous college tours we have been on, all admissions counselors stress the same thing: taking more APs will only benefit you. As students of a non-AP school, we felt a weight lifted off of our shoulders; instead of feeling obligated to take APs just for the credit and the validation, we have been told that we will be able to pursue our own intellectual interests and academic clubs that are of utmost importance to us. However, with the unforeseen addition of APs for our senior year, we now feel pressured to choose the course that will demonstrate that we challenged ourselves the most at school, instead of pursuing our unique interests. We are not opposed to the possible implementation of APs at Heschel, however, the incorporation of APs for the first time at Heschel, for a senior class, is a disadvantage for the senior class. While we do not want to have APs introduced for the first time during senior year, we implore the administration to consider offering APs as an option for future lower grades, such as the tenth grade. Providing APs in early years, first, will allow for more thoughtful scheduling, and will help students be accustomed to the AP course load before they enter the most part of their High School careers, the college process. Offering APs, only senior year, will only be a disservice, rather than a means of more in depth learning.

Offering APs senior year is not an effective way for students to learn at a higher level of rigor and intensity. We have prepared to choose the senior elective that most intrigues us rather than choose based on its title. If APs are offered, students will feel obligated to take an AP simply because their transcripts will say that they took an AP, and therefore, help with college admissions. Though, in an ideal situation, students would enroll in AP course because of their interest in a specified subject, unfortunately, this is not the case with many High School students. One student, when reacting to the possibility of the AP physics, stated, “I don’t want to take AP physics, but I have to.” whereas Honors students are chosen by teachers based on academic merit, the student, him/herself, chooses to pursue an AP course. Even students who are not able to cope with the stress of APs will still feel as though they have to take an AP because of its label.

Many other senior elective options are just as academically intense as APs; however, the label of an AP has the appeal and makes all the difference when students are choosing their senior electives. Therefore, we ask you to consider not offering AP courses for seniors next year, and instead, begin to discuss the implementation of APs in a way that will better benefit the student body. We hope this into consideration when planning the introduction of APs into the Heschel school.


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