From forensic science to psychology, Coppell High School offers a variety of classes to accommodate students’ interests, no matter what that might be. Out of the 36 total Advanced Placement classes established by College Board, CHS has a total of 32 AP classes.
While this gives students opportunities to take on tougher classes, it also turns the courses tools to enhance their applications, rather than reflections of their interests. Students have started to take classes because they feel they need to compete academically with their peers.
At schools like CHS, where classes are categorized by levels based on difficulty, AP classes are considered level four classes and most other classes are level three or below, often level two. Similarly, International Baccalaureate classes are ranked as level four classes. Effectively, a student in an AP or IB class who earns a 90 will gain a 0.5 point boost over a student in an honors class who received the same grade.
Students of all grade levels have started to take on more advanced classes to keep their grade point average above a number they feel will be competent with their peers while applying for colleges.
This goal of academic excellence drives many students away from classes that match their interests because they feel that these classes are not as valuable to their transcript as an AP or IB class. Classes start to be judged for their value based on how they could positively impact one’s GPA and not their interests.
Many feel overwhelmed, disinterested and apathetic towards their classes as they fill their schedule with college-level courses that require a lot of work and are not geared towards the students’ passions. This apparent lack of interest further demotivates them to work for the class. Essentially, in an attempt to maximize their GPA, students pile themselves with classes that do not benefit them in the long run.
This is the opposite of what students should be doing throughout their high school experience. Instead of taking classes based on a supposed benefit towards their transcripts, students should take the opportunity that high school gives them to explore their interests before college.
High school is the best time to explore one’s passions because it is the last phase in a student’s life where they receive support from experienced teachers and have the freedom to make personal choices. Students can also make more mistakes and learn from them in school, compared to the more rigid environment they will face after high school.
CHS offers different categories of courses electives with different practicums for courses as learners advance in the field. Students who pursue a certain group of electives will gain increasingly advanced experience and graduate with a stronger skill set than those who begin pursuing their interests later on.
It is invaluable for students to think about what they will pursue during and after college. For many students, taking classes that will allow them to delve deeper into their interests will better prepare them for their future. Rather than jumping into discovering their passions during college, students should focus on figuring out what interests them earlier.
Though taking a class in high school purely for interest may seem like a waste of time, that initial push can create a foundation for students to learn the basics and keep working towards their goals even after high school. Instead of looking at it as unimportant, students should view their high school experience as an opportunity for individual growth.
Even with the growing pressure of college and the standard of academic excellence placed on them, Coppell students should focus on classes that allow them to solidify their interests for their future. Taking advantage of the value offered by high school classes is a crucial part of making a student’s experience in high school more profound.
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