Senior year builds college pressure- AP overload

By Devon Constable            
                  Almost every senior is experiencing it. You’re spending three-and-a-half hours a night on homework for your AP classes and you still have to find time to finish the applications and write the essays for the five colleges you’re applying to. And let’s admit it, you’re probably kind of regretting it.

     “Despite what guidance counselors tell them [during scheduling], students get bogged down,” Mr. Jira says of the amount of APs Hereford students take and their subsequent workload.  

     But it’s what colleges look for: on the popular online college forum College Confidential, the average profile for a Towson University freshman applicant includes three AP classes, and the average Hereford student certainly stacks up: students are usually involved in three APs, with over 1,000 slots currently taken in AP classes, plus, according to the U.S. News World and Report, a participation rate on the AP exam of 53%, and a passing rate of 81%.

     Indeed, Mr. Jira says that “colleges like to see everyone get into an AP when they get into their senior year.”

     And let us not forget the all-important SATs (or ACTs, whatever is your cup of tea). 171 students are enrolled in an SAT prep class, with 55 in an ACT prep class, and 18 juniors are in a PSAT prep class. The PSATs, taken freshman through junior years, can be just as important as the SATs, with the possibility of gaining a National Merit Scholarship. In fact, some juniors are stressing already. Kelsey Heffernan (11) says of the college process: “it does stress me out. I don’t know where to start.”

     But there’s always help to be found: guidance department chair Ms. Fitzkee says that the guidance counselors will come into economics and public issues classes in mid-October to help out students with the college process, and that they are always willing to work with seniors on Fridays during enrichment.