Are advanced classes worth it?

Pro’s and con’s of advanced classes


Park offers a variety of levels for courses, including Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and honors. I have taken on the challenge and taken one of each throughout highschool–. But do I think it’s worth it? As someone coming from a second-generation-immigrant household who thrives on academic validation, I do think it is worth it. Motivation is something I have been working on maintaining, as students have to be pretty consistent to keep up with these courses.

Regardless of plans after high school, these courses are worth it, or at least worth trying. During my freshman year, I took AP Environmental Science for a little while. While I was in that class, I learned to take really good notes. I am taking an AP course at the moment, specifically AP Spanish Literature and Culture. This class is amazing. Not only am I learning Spanish, I am also learning valuable academic lessons I have never been introduced to in an ordinary class. This class is truly unique, and isn’t much to keep up with, considering I haven’t done the ESP program before. AP courses are worth doing for those that plan on going to a four-year college. I myself am not, but I enjoy challenging myself academically. 

I would suggest taking IB courses for a class you are very invested in. I would say IB goes more in depth. If you are passionate about spanish, english, history, etc., then taking an IB course for that would be worth it because you get to truly dive in depth whereas another regular class would only cover surface level. For example, I take IB Americas and it has been an amazing experience for me. I am passionate about history and the workload isn’t too much. I get a lot of motivation in this class because I enjoy what I learn about. IB, in my experience, has made learning fun.

I also took Honors English my sophomore year. It was my first time taking an honors class. Honors courses offer a lot. I feel like they prepare you for school in general. While taking honors classes, I learned to put my all into the work and not just submit my first draft. It has taught me patience. 

All of these courses have an amazing amount of benefits but they also have disadvantages, one of them being the lack of people of color in these classes. I have noticed that the majority of the people in AP, IB and honors classes have been white. I reflect a lot on that. I feel excluded at times in these classes. That is something I would like to see Park work on. One way I would suggest to help this problem is introducing these classes more in-depth to students, instead of a small summarization the day we sign up for courses. 

These courses have a lot of work compared to other regular courses. These classes have taught me to be patient and find motivation. I have learned that consistency is better.