AP Research students complete ultimate balancing act


Jay Goetz

Katie Lowe (’22), Taylor Brinsfield (’22), and Alex Bierly (’22) discuss developments in their research. The trio completed AP seminar in just 14 weeks last year, and are excited to see what develops from a full year of research.

Seated in a corner library table, a lone junior and a dozen seniors conversed quietly, while numerous sources filled their computer tabs. The class diligently took note of sources which they would incorporate in their year-long research project.

The workload, spaced out into numerous increments between deadlines, requires focus and discipline.

“It’s easy to put the class in the back burner, especially in conjunction with other tasks,” Katie Lowe (’22) said.

The first deadline lies at the end of September, meaning students had a month to prepare their preliminary findings. Such a spaced-out increment left plenty of room for procrastination. When that first deadline hit, many found themselves behind the eight-ball.

Unlike most high school courses, the development of AP Research falls on the shoulders of the individual student. The class involves a singular and focused research topic, which is chosen by each student. To succeed in the subject matter, students must focus on something they are passionate about and willing to delve deeper into.

Producing college-level research is difficult enough for most students and can prove challenging for upperclassmen carrying many responsibilities. The learning is in their own hands, and Mrs. Jamie Higgins-Shaull can only guide them in their efforts, as there’s no direct curriculum to follow.

The collaborative group, which formed a quirky family of sorts, engages in a variety of different methods to balance the sizeable workload with their other responsibilities. With bolstered organizational methods and an ongoing commitment to meet their deadlines, research is constantly on the students’ minds.

Sam Spencer (’22) finds sources for his research topic. Spencer has thrived in the self-driven environment of the class. (Jay Goetz)