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High school students feel pressure to load up on AP classes
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Gifted high school students all over the world are enrolled into Advanced Placement programs.

AP was originally introduced to high school juniors and seniors in order to earn college credits without the expensive cost. But, it isn’t all about the credit anymore.

Sixty-two percent of college institutions now recommend and or require at minimum four AP classes be taken while in high school.

The average student will not be able to handle the workload, independent studies, pace or the amount of homework of AP. A traditional AP class has a minimum of one hour of homework three to four times a week.

Flowery Branch High AP economics teacher Scott Tilden told Young Edge, “I may not give out an assignment each night, but (I) highly suggest my students study the material we have gone over in class each night to refresh because the next day, we are learning something new.”

Having an A in the class isn’t sufficient enough because at the end of the school year the AP exam is given. This is a cumulative test given over a school year’s worth of knowledge. Students usually take more than one AP course a year, so around May, an AP student is slammed with homework, review sheets and late-night studying.

A recent study has shown a third of freshmen are coming into high school ready to take AP classes. AP was designed for upperclassmen. Some Georgia middle schools have allowed the “gifted students” to take high school credits in place of the normal classes.

Where are the basics being taught now? Harvard now expects the average student in its 2019 fall semester freshman class to have 18 AP courses.

This standard of already having college courses on a student’s transcript is not letting some children actively prosper. According to the University of Georgia’s official admissions site, UGA considers a student with a 3.5 GPA, 26-28 ACT score and three to four AP classes an “average student.”

Meanwhile, inside the high school this student is outstanding and exceeds with flying colors. Skin and allergist Dr. Jonathan Johnson, a UGA alumnus, expressed told Young Edge, “UGA was not like this back in my day. It’s extreme to get inside of those Bulldog walls nowadays. I feel as if students cannot be perfect. You have kids completely stressed out  taking AP credits just in order to ‘fit in or meet’ UGA’s crazy averages.”

It’s known that colleges want the best of the bunch, but have things gotten a bit out of hand when it comes to admissions? Personal essays and teacher recommendations are now optional on applications, and truthfully aren’t recommended.

Personal essays on the topics of goals, leadership and what makes an applicant “stand out” in the past were mandatory and played a major role in decisionmaking. Teacher recommendations at several schools used to be a requirement, as well. It showed your growth and your role inside a classroom, but now if a student's GPA isn’t the highest in the bunch, it is put on the bottom of the pile.

An anonymous Flowery Branch recent graduate ended her high school career with a standing unweighted 3.9 GPA, five AP credits, a 27 ACT score and 11 outstanding leadership positions inside and outside of school. Inside Flowery Branch High, our source was a class officer all four years of high school.

The graduate planned to apply early to her top choice, Duke University, and Mercer University. She ended up getting deferred from Duke early admission and denied after the waiting process. Mercer accepted her, giving her a full ride to pursue her aspirations of being a criminal justice lawyer. The high expectations of her dream school would not give an excellent student a chance.

Is an excellent student good enough anymore? Students are now simply a GPA or an ACT score. Schools have the highest expectations.

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