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AP Students and the Pressure to Succeed

Two South River High School students take on the stress and responsibility of college courses.

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Enroll in college courses while still in high school? What?

Yes, it has become more evident that today’s high school student must be prepared for college long before getting there.

For some students, it means taking on the extra stress and responsibility of earning college credit on top of other high school responsibilities and activities.

Advanced Placement or AP  classes allow high school students to earn college credit with its 34 courses and exams. The courses range from Chinese Language and Culture to Environmental Science to Psychology.

AP courses help students explore their interests and discover new passions that might be their future careers.

Students who take the courses stand out in the college admission process and come equipped with improved writing skills, sharpened problem-solving abilities and discipline.

Is it really worth the extra pressure to take college courses while still in high school? Are they beneficial?

Ricky Obear, a junior at South River High, began taking AP classes during his sophomore year and is currently taking three college courses- Calculus, English Language and Computer Science.

Before taking on the courses, he sought advice from other Advanced Placement students.

“I talked to some other people and I heard that it’s a challenge.  But, if you dedicated yourself to the courses you can definitely learn a lot from them,” Obear said. “It’s definitely an accelerated track and the college credit is definitely an awesome opportunity.”

How does Obear handle the stress of AP courses? He has learned time management.

“I had to learn time management because of these classes.  It’s really something AP classes forced me to learn. Personally, I have to list out what I have to do and thenschedule a time to devote to each class,” he said. “I have time for friends on the weekends but school is my priority during the week.

Obear plans to take five college courses during his senior year and wants a career in engineering or computer science.

South River High senior Karina Stronciu has been taking AP classes since her freshman year. She maintains a 4.6 grade-point average on a 5.0 scale all while handling responsibilities as class vice-president.

“I think when you start taking the classes earlier it’s a better advantage to you. I’ve seen an improvement in myself over the years because I’ve developed my time management skills for homework,” she said. “I enjoy my classes because everybody is more mature because they want to learn and there are no distractions. It’s a team environment.”

Stronciu said though her senior year has been stressful, she wouldn’t trade her experience.

“It’s been stressful for me this year especially because I have to maintain my grades all while applying to colleges.  I had to space everything out because I could not wait to do things at the last minute,” she said. “I want to study International Relations in college and the AP classes I’ve taken built my foundation.”

Stronciu will attend the University of Maryland-College Park next year.

To learn more about Advanced Placement courses, contact the school guidance department.

robin schafer May 06, 2011 at 01:13 PM
I am working with a filmaker, and will be making a short film helping students cope with the added pressure of high school . I am a Certified Coach and would like to interview the two students in this video for my documentary. I have two students already from East Brunswick High School. If they are interested please have them contact me at robinschafer@comcast.net. I am President of Masterful Kids. I have been in the Wall Street Journal and on t.v. Thank you. Robin Schafer
Talisha Dunn-Square May 06, 2011 at 01:41 PM
Hi Robin, You will need to contact Chad Bickel, guidance counselor at South River High School. His e-mail address is cbickel@aacps.org. Thanks.


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