Welcome to SLV’s scrumptious buffet! We have entrees of all types, ranging from science to math to literature to music. Take anything you like, as long as you think you can fit it all in your stomach! Of course, there are those dishes you just have to try; you have not truly experienced this charming restaurant if you leave without taking a bite out of Chemistry or PE.
Once that’s done, you can start branching out into other options, some of which, we are sure, you will find quite a mouthful, yet extremely delicious in the end. But perhaps our finest delicacies we have to offer are our AP courses. Yes, not everyone can handle so much flavor packed into a course spanning only a year, but these juicy entrees are well worth it. I have not a single regret about munching on some nice APLAC and APUSH this year, and I am hungry for more when the next rolls around.
In all seriousness, though, do take Advanced Placement classes. SLV offers a wide variety of these courses, ranging across a plethora of studies, including two new ones that are available for signup this year, namely AP Art and Physics. Ask your counselor about the possibility of AP classes; even if you missed the meetings, it’s not impossible to sign up. The first year you have the opportunity, take at least one, maybe two; if you’re feeling ambitious, go for three.
There are several benefits to taking AP classes. Firstly, AP classes offer deeper and broader exploration of their subjects. Look at APUSH (AP U.S. History) for example: In this class, you span the story of the United States starting during the era of colonization, delving deep into the context and influence of each area with texts by esteemed historians, whereas normal U.S. History is, for the most part, a continuation of what you learned in eighth grade. Though AP courses do take a lot more dedication and work than do normal classes, the knowledge and skills you can acquire in these classes are well worth it.
Secondly, AP classes save you time and money. Though they may briefly turn your life into a frenzy, and the $89 fee for each AP test may seem rather daunting, they gain you college credit. This means that you can move more quickly to higher-level classes in college, having covered many necessary basics in high school. If for no other reason, take AP classes to spare yourself the trouble of having to take them in college for a much greater expense.
Thirdly, they give you a grade bump for your high school GPA. If you get a C in the class, you receive credit equivalent B; if you get a B, you receive an A; if you get an A, well, you might just find yourself with an impressive 5.0 GPA! On second thought, maybe not. But still, the grade bump is a vastly advantageous, and probably the most immediate, effect of AP classes. If you’ve recently fallen short of the perfect 4.0 GPA you’ve achieved throughout middle school, do not lose hope: AP classes just may be your savior.
However, do keep in mind that AP classes are a serious commitment. Don’t be one of those kids who takes six different AP classes and ends up wading through papers by the end of the year. As mentioned earlier, it is advised you take one or two the first year they are made available to you; the following years, consider the work load of the last and evaluate responsibly. Also keep in mind that AP classes not only require an open and agile mind, but good time management and organizational skills as well. Advanced Placement is true to its name: it is, indeed, advanced in several regards.
So try AP. See which classes your counselors recommend, and by all means, take them. AP classes are intellectually and pragmatically rewarding, and will benefit you greatly in the years to come. Studies report that there is a strong correlation between students who succeed in AP courses in high school and have higher graduation rates in college. Roughly 25% of SLV students are currently taking AP classes. Sure, this may seem a smaller number than expected, but do not let this deter you; instead, let yourself be part of that 25%. Take up the challenge. Join the ranks of succeeders, of achievers, of those who strive to satisfy their intellectual curiosity. Dare to take your education a step further and truly learn; learn at a level of depth you’ve never seen before.
– Jesse McMilin