Walking into her 6-7A Advanced Placement European History class on the first day of school, sophomore Alicia Amsel was not expecting to be handed a four-hour-long reading assignment.
Amsel, who took World Civilizations freshman year, said the sudden change in pace was a “big jump.” However, she is planning on taking more AP classes in her following high school years.
Physics teacher Tony Valsamis said he only took one AP class during his time as a student at Glenbrook North, as APs were not as popular when he was in high school, but today there are more high school students taking an advanced placement class.
Since the early 1980s, GBN has offered AP classes in varying subjects. According to social studies teacher Robert Berg, the main draw to take the class back then was the credit a student could earn from colleges as well as the money that could be saved by taking a freshman-level college course in high school.
Berg said there has been a rising trend in the number of students taking AP classes in comparison to when he went to high school. One of the reasons is “students expect that colleges want to see … APs on their transcript and so I think many of [the students] feel like ‘this is something that I just have to do.’”
Berg said he worries that students are choosing to take more AP classes over classes they would be more interested in taking and that the workload of AP classes may be too much for many high school students.
According to Valsamis, the increase in the number of students taking AP classes is a result of the snowball effect of students taking AP classes for more college credits and colleges consequently raising tuition prices to bring in more money per class.
“It’s a college course for a reason,” said Valsamis. “I don’t think it’s necessarily [an] every school, every student kind of thing.
“If APs were more popular back when I was in school, maybe I would have taken one or two more, but I don’t think I would have loaded myself up with, you know, 10 AP courses that some students take over their four years.”