TO THE PARENTS OF STUDENTS WHO HAVE REQUESTED 3 OR MORE AP COURSES IN THEIR SCHEDULE FOR SCHOOL YEAR 2018-19:
As a counselor, I encourage students to design each year of their life based on these guidelines:
*** Challenge ** Balance ** Joy ***
As I collect AP Plans for next year, I notice an uptick in the amount of AP classes that many students are taking. While it is exciting to see that so many students have a wide variety of curiosities, aptitudes and interests, it is also alarming when some students tell me that they feel they must take every AP class or they will not get into college. Many students have the ability to handle a busy workload, but others feel intense pressure to compete or be left behind. I hope that students take classes that challenge them because they have a strong desire to engage in that subject area, as opposed to making choices driven by pressure from others that may overwhelm them.
While each student is unique, with her/his own interests and aptitudes, taking three or more AP courses is a major time commitment that may be difficult for students to wrap their heads around. Once fall semester rolls around, and they begin to attend courses, participate in athletics, internships, jobs and community service, some students find that they run out of time and energy long before their assignments are complete. Oftentimes, students tell me that they take numerous shortcuts to ‘keep up’ with the workload, unable to fully commit their time and energy to the specific subjects that interest them. They also tell me that they are sleeping less, and that they feel more anxiety. The issue is not intelligence, motivation or ability; it is an issue of not having enough time in a 24 hour day to do all the things that excite them. I assure students that college will provide many more opportunities to learn, grow and explore their interests.
I want to support each student’s academic goals, while simultaneously supporting their social and emotional well-being. Hence, I caution you as families to consider the impact of your student’s choices on their academic and emotional development. Habits formed now will carry over into college when we will all have less proximity or input to support students to maintain balance and joy.
While the course selections are clearly a student and family decision, I want to strongly suggest that you review some of the following information with your student as s/he plans out next year’s courses:
- Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, by Frank Bruni
- The Path to Purpose: How Young People Find Their Calling in Life, by William Damon
- Designing A Year in Your Life
- How to Raise an Adult, by Julie Lythcott-Haims
- Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids, by Denise Pope, Maureen Brown and Sarah Miles
- In the News! – there are many relevant articles on a wide variety of topics related to teens
Thank you all for sharing such a terrific group of students with me and for the great work you do as parents.
If any of your students would like to change any of their course requests, please send them my way and I will be happy to help them in person. If there are any questions, please let me know. Warmly,
** For those taking AP Macro/AP Micro Economics, please be aware that this is two separate college courses, with two AP exams in May. Macro is taught in fall and Micro is taught in spring.
Posted on 3/2/2018 (emailed directly to all 10/11 parents/students in this category).