Are AP Classes Limiting Your Interests?


Bridget Quinn, Contributing Author

When you get to your junior and senior year of high school, all that many students are thinking about is what classes will help us get into college. This means that our interests and real-world skills are put on hold, dismissed, or forgotten. We place priorities on high level academic math, science, and English courses instead of the numerous art, music, and shop classes that our school offers to broaden students’ interests and develop creativity and learn hands-on skills. These “core” subjects are the classes we are told to focus on because we need them to get accepted into college instead of the classes that encourage us to follow our passions and to learn by doing.

Earning credits at Goffstown High School is a cumulative process, meaning if you don’t start taking high level classes freshman year, you will be limited by the classes you will be able to take later in high school because most classes have prerequisites. This may not be obvious when you are making your freshman course selection. For example, I did not take biology my freshman year, but knew I wanted to take high level sciences as an upperclassman. By opting not to take this class as a freshman, I had to double up on classes in my other years in order to be able to take the AP class that I desired. Consequently, my elective choices were limited in pursuit of the higher level class.

Another example of the current class scheduling process limiting interests is that band is only offered first period, orchestra only 2nd and chorus is fourth period. This year AP Biology and AP Chemistry were only offered 2nd and 3rd periods. This means you cannot have musical aspirations and science driven goals because of this scheduling conflict. To quote one Goffstown student “If I didn’t like where my preps fell I would switch around or drop classes so in a way it did lock me into a path.”  Students must choose between these higher level sciences and music- potentially missing an opportunity to be inspired as a future scientist or to be motivated to pursue a profession as an entertainer because the current system does not allow one to pursue both interests.

I understand that scheduling an entire student body is a difficult undertaking, but in the current system students seem to have to choose either a science based curriculum or a liberal arts curriculum and it is very difficult to explore these interests concurrently. Furthermore, with prerequisites for many of the classes, your fate is almost set in stone from the classes you choose to take in freshman year, whether you realize it or not.