I am sure there are many students who enroll in AP courses because they truly want a challenge. However, I believe many students have lost sight of this reason. I will admit, I am one of them.
If I was to poll high school students on the reasons why they signed up for AP courses, I am almost positive the number one answer would be: “because it looks better on my college application.” But isn’t the point of APs to prepare the student better for college, not to help them get into it? College Board states that AP classes are for students to “find their passion, prepare to succeed in college, experience a different kind of class, and to earn college credit.” But in reality, these are not the only motivations.
The pressure put on high school students to take APs for college is extremely high. In my experience, for some colleges it is a make-or-break deal whether AP grades are on a transcript or not. The influence these classes have on college decision represents a severe drawback to the AP system and a glaring inconsistency.
This however, raises another question: should those students who take AP courses not get benefits for extra work and dedicating significant amounts of time into the courses, both in class and out? The AP system is a bit of a Catch 22: there is no way to solve the dilemma because APs themselves are the problem. Although some positives do exist, overall I find the system to be seriously flawed.