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AT TOWNSEND Harris High School, most students register for AP courses as soon as possible. And why wouldn’t they? The potential for college credit, the “academic rigor” that colleges want to see on transcripts, and the weight that boosts your average all serve as incentives for taking such courses. But these benefits are confronted by one key limitation: availability.
Currently, AP course availability at THHS is restricted. Every year students from each grade, except freshmen, compete for a limited number of seats in the few AP courses that they can take. Yes, our school offers more than half of all AP courses, but how many APs can students really take? Most sophomores can only apply for AP Human Geography, and even then they have to compete with seniors and juniors for seats, on top of scheduling conflicts with their other classes. Most juniors are still fulfilling their science requirements and thus only have one elective slot to use for an AP class, in which they still have to compete with seniors. Sure, the addition of AP English Language is a step in the right direction, but adding one AP class is not enough. Many students are still deprived of the opportunity to pursue certain academic interests and get ahead in the college process.
What THHS needs is an expansion of its available AP course options.
One solution is to increase the number of AP sections already present courses at THHS, such as AP U.S. History, AP Psychology, or AP English Language. This would lead to fewer scheduling and class size problems because more classes being offered at more times would mean more schedule possibilities that include AP courses for students. There are two approaches for producing more AP classes. One is to add more classes for the APs THHS already offers, such as AP U.S. His – t o r y , AP Human Geography, or AP Psychology. This would allow for an increased number of interested students to be accepted into AP classes. Adding more diverse AP courses in subject matter, such as AP Chemistry or AP Microeconomics, would be another approach. THHS, compared to other competitive schools, does not offer as many APs. Though this can be due to a variety of factors, the school should still try to widen the variety of AP subjects that are available to students.
Understandably, attempting to add more AP courses to THHS isn’t simple; budgetary, faculty, and resource limitations are obstacles to this. Yet, because of limited AP course availability, students are unable to pursue their interests and challenge themselves academically. It isn’t exactly uncommon for students to gripe about the lack of APs available in our school.
AP courses don’t make or break schools, and they certainly don’t turn students into Ivy League all-stars, but that doesn’t mean that one of the best schools in the city should accept its current course options. Instead, THHS should strive to expand its AP program so that more students can be educated at a higher level and have the chance to be rewarded for it.