Are My AP Courses Enough For You, Harvard?

By Aliaa Mohamed

Students at Lisgar are constantly overwhelmed with the scary prospect of what to do at the end of their four years. To be better equipped, we are told that we should take as many AP courses as possible. But, you might think, why would I put myself in such a stressful position? Think about it this way: you are in high school, but to be better prepared for university, you have to take university level courses in high school. Does that not seem unnecessary? I mean, if you are going to learn that content in university anyway, what is the point of doing it a few years earlier?

On the one hand, we get a head-start on the course load and therefore, the content is easier in university. In addition, universities offer first year credits for certain AP courses. So, in short, it is like skipping ahead to get to the finish line. Not to mention that if you are really interested in a subject, taking its AP course might be enough to inspire you to pursue a major in it. Basically, it’s a great way to introduce yourself to the course work that you will be experiencing during your four years of university.

However, as has been proven by many students who have taken one too many AP courses, they can sometimes be terribly time consuming. Many AP students spend most of their time buried in the never-ending workload that keeps them up many a night. The counterargument has always been that this heavy workload prepares the student for the workload that they will experience later on in university. But it is troubling to see that many students sign up for too many AP courses in hopes that they will enter a top university.

However, much like how it is with many things in life, does the end justify the means? If we are going to experience this workload in the near future anyway, why should we stress ourselves now while we are still young? One could even say that AP courses don’t matter at all. This is because, nowadays, undergraduate degrees aren’t regarded anymore; people only care where you went to graduate school. Therefore, getting really high grades in high school to get into a really competitive undergraduate program isn’t what people look for. They look for the high grades you get in that undergraduate program to get into a competitive graduate school. In short, what actually matters is what courses and grades you get in university, whether it be a local university or Harvard.

While this article offers more questions than answers, you should really consider why you are taking an AP course. Are you doing it just so that you could get into a good university, or because you truly love the subject matter? As students of the 21st century, we must ask ourselves, why are we in such a hurry? Can we not just sit back and enjoy our youth while we still have them, before they are overrun by the chaos of adulthood? ♦