Across the country, high school students have big dreams of going to college, especially those at Edgemont High School: an institution where competition between students is immeasurable. Many students hope to attend college at an Ivy League or prestigious state school. But the question is, what does it take to boost yourself into the college of your dreams?
College advisors all over the world want you to take all the AP classes you can. With the increase in competition for college every year, students are willing to give up parts of their social life to try and do well in these AP classes. With college acceptance rates reaching all-time lows, the College Board is ready to snag your money and your social life to give you the priceless gift of yet another AP class. According to junior Brad Johnson at Bishop Sycamore High School, “I quit the water polo team to focus on AP macroeconomics.”
To further ensure that you are truly prepared for college, the College Board has also added new “college-level courses,” like AP Judaic studies, AP Dance and Choreography, AP Comedy: Writing and Performing, AP Costume Technology, AP Kinesiology, AP Zoology and AP Gastronomy. Studies show that taking two or more AP classes will result in a 95.1% stress increase from the stress you’d have in standard classes. Studies also show that 95.1% of students who got below a five on the AP Literature and Composition exam in 2021.
Your college decision and search process would obviously be nowhere without the College Board and its AP’s. According to Sandra Beaver from Miller Grove High School, “These AP classes are the key for me to get into college. I NEED to get a five on every test.” Colleges almost require students to take these challenging classes or they simply will just skip their applications.
Indeed, according to Kenny Dutter, Dean of Admissions at Monsters University, “We are looking for students who excel in AP classes (an A- average will suffice) with fives on every AP exam they took. We also want to see students that have the ability to think critically and quickly.” The College Board may be scraping away students' souls, but given the attitudes of admissions officers like Duttler, their efforts seem worthwhile. Yes, they are basically saying,
“Hey, can you memorize this textbook?” But who cares? All that matters is that five. It’s worth it, right?
That said, it’s important to note that there is one college that has deviated from the rest: Blue Mountain State. BMS is a Pennsylvania state school that has an acceptance rate of 8.9999%, an average SAT/ ACT score of n/a, and average AP scores of null. The average GPA is 3.91 on a 4.0 scale. Based on the stats, Blue Mountain State is a top-tier school in Pennsylvania competing with the likes of the University of Pennsylvania, but has no requirements for AP’s and standardized tests. According to freshman Alex Moran, the new starting quarterback of the Blue Mountain State Goats, “I could not be more happy at this school. I had a fairly easy high school experience. It consisted of regular classes, football, and track and field. BMS was on my list since 9th grade because there are no test requirements. I knew I had the capabilities to get a 3.83 without taking the unnecessary AP’s. Being a two-star recruit, my grades pushed me into BMS and now I am the starting QB. If I had to take those APs, I would not be where I am today.”
Alex Moran is an anomaly. Even though he chose to preserve his mental health and happiness, he somehow still made it to a great college. While it is awesome to put work into your 15 “college-leve” AP classes so you are ready for Harvard, I guess you could save yourself the stress, time, and struggle of AP’s and focus on schools like Blue Mountain State. I would still probably go with the crowd. All those $96 checks must be worth something!