A Yearly Struggle
Students painted with disappointed, hopeless expressions roam the Rotunda on Maze Day. While ranting frustrations to their counselors, AHS students are faced with the realities of their class decisions that they made back in February.
This year, just like every year, students have been adamantly requesting schedule changes from school counselors to remove AP classes and change classes based on teachers. However, counselors have become much more strict on schedule change requests, and have been more particular about this administrative decision since the beginning of this year. The savage, lingering crowds of students outside counselor offices each year have now finally become much shorter.
Students have a very personal perspective on the issue of switching classes based on teacher. Krina Shah (12) says, “Sometimes my friends and I switch classes based on a teacher because we don’t want to stress ourselves out when we know we cannot do well in a class.”
Students have also been unsure about their classes and change their schedules on Maze Day, despite having a preview of their schedules before the last day of school. Shah continued, “Summer is a time when students get to think about their classes and talk more to parents and classmates about what they want to do.” In some cases, students want to take a different track with their classes. Many AHS students were distressed that they did not receive their respective version of the “perfect, stellar star-student schedule,” after countless hours of anxious time spent making tweaks and worrying over it. However, creating schedules is just one of the many responsibilities counselors have, and it takes time to readjust students’ schedules. Counselors have to regard factors such as classroom sizes and numbers of teachers while creating the class schedule. Ms. Barrington, the vice principal and AP coordinator at American, said, “We really create the schedule so that 99.5% of our students get everything they ask for.”
Ms. Barrington continued, “Feedback from teachers from previous years was that schedule changes have been dragging on from the first three or four weeks of school, and we needed to minimize that so that they could get on going with their curriculum. I think that there were certain students who felt it really strict because there was a lot of leeway in the past.” When students are indecisive of their classes, they enter classes late, causing them to become a bit behind their classmates. Moreover, this interrupts in the overall pace of the class and creates a domino effect that in turn affects teachers’ plans and curriculums.
A lot of students feel a pressing burden to take so many AP classes, so they eventually reduce or increase their number of AP’s on Maze Day. Students unfortunately tend to base the excellence of their schedule on simply a number. When students themselves do not have an individualistic interest in the substance of their rigorous courses, they remain confused trying to swim in the sea of swarming stereotypes like “college-packer.” “The message that we have been trying to get out is that colleges are really looking for the breadth of experience and not just a student who is taking a million AP classes,” Ms. Barrington stated. Furthermore, students have a consistent view regarding the College Board, the multinational corporate company that administers AP classes. “For my major, architecture, colleges should be looking at my creativity, instead of just AP scores,” Shah (12) remarked.
The question on classes remain a constant issue every year at American, and whether AHS students will become more definite on their class choices by the succeeding school years will remain uncertain.