Are AP Classes Worth It?

Callie Kranz, staff writer

Many students at Joliet West are enrolled in Advanced Placement Courses. However, it is often wondered whether or not these intense college- level courses are worth the time. A total of 22 AP classes are offered at Joliet West. A lot of students participate in these advanced courses in hopes of receiving college credit. 

Various students at West take many AP classes at one time. Since AP classes require a lot of hard work and dedication, Senior and AP Scholar Claire Kranz, advises that students not take more than three Advanced Placement courses at one time. “You have to have a balance between all of your work. More than three doesn’t allow for that,” she explains. 

If students take on more than they can handle, they may find themselves not submitting their best work, due to the substantial workload that comes along with AP classes. “You end up cutting corners in other classes to get your AP work done,” shared Kranz.

Joliet West also offers many dual credit courses in addition to AP. In many cases, a class may be both AP and dual credit, or simply one or the other. However, when trying to transfer the credit to a college or university after graduation, dual credit may not be accepted everywhere. “You can use your (AP) credit pretty much anywhere. But with dual credit, some colleges might not accept the credit. AP is pretty universal,” she describes.

According to the College Board website, “Advanced Placement courses allow students to earn college credit while enrolled in high school. Participating in AP coursework leads to college savings for families because the typical student who scores a 3 or higher on two AP Exams has the potential to save, on average, $1,779 at a public four-year college and over $6,000 at a private institution.”

If given the option, Kranz believes that taking AP English courses offered at Joliet West would be an effective choice. “It prepares you for college English,” she explained. As far as taking other Advanced Placement courses, she believes that it depends on your career interests. For example, if you wanted to be a software engineer, it may be worth taking the AP Computer Science courses offered throughout high school. 

On the contrary, Junior Savannah Wascom believes that Advanced Placement courses aren’t worth the investment. “You spend a whole year learning a lot of content which feels more like memorizing than learning. After you’ve done all that, you pay a lot of money to take the test to fail or get the credit. If you fail, then it has all been worthless.” She describes

From the perspective of Mrs. Bloom, an Honors Biology and AP Environmental Science teacher, AP classes have many benefits. “If you take the AP exam and earn college credit, then it is one less college course you have to pay tuition for.” Along with being financially efficient, AP courses may also be beneficial for students and their particular interests. “They allow you to learn more about the subject(s) that you enjoy and provide you with experiences you would not have received in an honors or general education course.”

Joliet Township High School has also earned multiple awards for the outstanding performance of their students. In fact, back in 2017, JTHS was named the College Board’s Advanced Placement District of the Year. 

In summary, it depends on the wants and interests of each individual student. Whether they want the workload of college level courses during high school is completely up to them. However, some may see these courses as a way to get ahead and prepare for college, or to get a feel for what higher level courses are like.