Students weigh costs of stress and college


A classroom’s wall shows passing AP test scores.

Chris Kuester, Editor

In today’s society, there seems to be a lot of pressure to take Honors and AP classes and to go to a good college. Approximately 23 percent of students take at least one AP course in their high school career. When taking honors courses, one would see the same 30-60 students moving from class to class, the only difference being what electives the kids take. Now the question is, why do students take these classes if all they do is stress out about them? Some of the answers come from the students themselves.
When asked in a survey, a number of high school students all had a number of similar responses ranging from “I don’t know why people take honors classes,” to “Because they’re more engaging and challenge me.” Another thing that students talked about was the fact that taking Honors or AP classes not only prepares students for college, but can also earn students college credit. Easing the burden of tuition by earning college credit can be a huge reason why one would take AP classes and it would be worth the stress.
Also asked on the survey, on a scale of one to ten, students ranked how stressful the semester has been. There was a large range from two or three, all the way up to ten. Most of the numbers were around a five or a six, meaning although the stress is manageable, it is still present and a part of students’ everyday lives. Many of the stressors that students identified are not even school or homework related. Instead, most of the stress comes from other things such as sports, other extracurriculars, parents, and overall just time management.
Students were also surveyed about future goals regarding higher education or college. A large majority of students indicated they planned on attending a four year college. Many expressed that the career or job they wanted required a four-year degree from a college or university. This interest in a four-year degree would also lead to a rise in students taking AP or Honors courses.
All in all, there are many reasons that students take stressful classes and there are always going to be differing answers as to why they take them; however, there are a few common themes: to help pay for college, to increase their odds of acceptance at their college of choice, and to challenge themselves. Perhaps these factors have increased pressure to take more challenging classes in order to stand out, worsening the struggle of time management and increasing stress levels.