Students share the impact, value of Advanced Placement classes
A STAR JOURNAL SPECIAL REPORT
Advance Placement is a program of college-level courses offered at high schools across the country, run by the College Board. AP classes give students the experience of taking an intro-level college class while still in high school, with the added bonus of potentially earning college credit.
In the early twentieth century, according to the College Board, Americans began to realize the gap between secondary and higher education was widening.
Following World War II, the Ford Foundation created the Fund for the Advancement of Education in effort to create a better-educated work force. Pilot programs, studies and committees led to the launch of a program with 11 courses. In 1956 the College Board took over, and has been running every since.
Today, more than 2.4 million students take AP exams every year in 38 subjects.
Rhinelander High School offers nine AP courses within its curriculum and some students have taken online version of the courses as well.
“The goal of my AP chemistry course is to develop my students’ skills in advanced inquiry and reasoning,” said RHS teacher Sean Moore. “Skills such as designing a plan for collecting data, analyzing data, applying mathematical routines and connecting concepts across domains.”
AP exams are scored on a one to five scale; college credit can be typically earned by scoring a three or higher. Depending on how many AP exams a student has scored a three or higher on, and what the average AP exam score is, students can be named as an AP Scholar, Scholar with Honor or a Scholar with Distinction. Congratulations to these RHS students who were named as 2017 AP Scholars.
Class of 2018 AP Scholars
• Ashley Adams
AP courses taught me to understand and apply concepts to new information rather than memorizing and reciting.
My advice: Make the learning experience go beyond the information that is taught in the classroom; find out how you learn and study best and what interests you.
Future plans: Attend a UW school for a pre-medicine program and later attend medical school with the goal of specializing in neurology.
• Jared Fabich
AP classes have allowed me to improve myself as a student greatly by providing me with a better understanding of what to expect one I reach college, and how to manage myself with a high-level course, which college will require. Taking AP classes has also allowed me to grow in my skills of critical thinking, analyzing and synthesizing.
My advice: I would advise them that the courses are at a college level and include a lot of work and will require effort. It is important that an AP student stay on schedule and complete tasks in a timely manner. Although AP classes at first appear to be strenuous work, the benefits gain from the AP test will make the year worth the work. I would strongly recommend them to students who are wishing to set themselves apart from other students, while bettering themselves for a future in college.
Future plans: Attend college to pursue a degree in mechanical or aerospace engineering.
• Colton Krueger
AP classes have shaped my education more than I could have anticipated. I have completed four AP classes, and will have two more by the end of the school year. I would not have near the same study and time management skills if it were not for AP classes allowing me to take on the role of a college student at a young age.
My advice: Challenge yourself as much as possible. I almost didn’t take my first AP class my sophomore year, AP European History. I decided to take it last minute and it was the best decision I made in high school. Had I not taken that course I likely wouldn’t have taken others, and would be nowhere near the student I am today. Have no fear and challenge yourself now so you don’t regret it later.
Future plans: Attend college, play football, become a physical therapist.
• Karyn Roberts
AP classes have made me a better student as they push me to do my best and look past common answers and challenge them.
My advice: Don’t take (AP classes) for granted. These classes have the potential to not only get you college credit but also invaluable knowledge about the world around you.
Future plans: I’m looking at pre-med and would like a biomedical sciences major, or a related field.
• Ryan Roberts
In general, I have aided in my growth as a student by challenging my concept of being a “student.” To be successful in these difficult courses means that students must apply themselves in every aspect of the course and must be on top of class work or else risk being left behind. These skills have taught me that every class I take must be taken seriously and to not underestimate seemingly simple classes since they all are important in becoming a better student.
My advice: Be prepared for almost nightly homework and a class that will be challenging. However, this great time commitment can really pay off as a successful AP exam can eliminate hundreds of dollars of college tuition and allow students to skip entry-level college courses, but only if students apply themselves to the class; there aren’t breaks!
Future plans: Attend college to study math and science.
• Belinda Weddle
AP classes have truly helped me prepare for college. These classes entail many challenges and have taught me to work hard. Enjoying the results of hard work has taught me to enjoy the difficult process. The work ethic I have obtained between balancing sports, work and school is mainly due to learning how to work through challenges, such as those the AP courses provide. I have absolutely enjoyed taking a variety of the AP classes that RHS offers.
My advice: Make sure you know your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t let your weaknesses make the decision for you. Use the AP class to work on the aspects of your education that aren’t your strongest. These classes provide an excellent opportunity to prepare yourselves for college and obtain an efficient work ethic.
Future plans: Attend college, pursue an English degree.
• Quinn Werner
AP classes have pushed me to be a curious, resourceful, and dedicated student. The extra work needed to succeed in these classes has helped my work ethic greatly, and I have become a much better student as a result of taking AP courses.
My advice: Definitely go for it. Even though the AP label may be intimidating, the teachers and your classmates are always there to help. You learn so much from these classes, and they also prepare you very well for college courses. In addition, if you don’t feel comfortable taking the AP test for a class, you don’t have to, so there really is no reason not to try taking an AP class.
Future plans: Attend the University of Minnesota and pursue a degree in biology, while also trying to gain acceptance into a pre-medicine program. Once I complete my undergraduate studies, I plan to attend medical school for the field of radiology.
• Owen White (with distinction)
AP classes have helped me become a better student because they have provided me more of a challenge than other courses, making me more responsible and better prepared for college.
My advice: Don’t take it lightly. Not only is the work required of you difficult, but the opportunity to receive college credit is something you don’t want to take for granted.
Future plans: Attend Michigan Technological University, major in mechanical engineering while playing basketball.
Class of 2017 AP Scholars
• Faith Bartelt (with honor)
College credits earned: 19
College plans: Currently attending Viterbo University, majoring in music performance and theatre, minoring in dance and performing arts administration.
Taking AP classes not only gave me an incredibly helpful amount of college credits, but also gave me a good skill set to base my college expectations on. People always say that college is a significant step up from high school, however, experiencing an AP class with higher expectations and the responsibility of studying for an important exam has made the transition that much easier
My advice: Don’t be afraid of something you’ve never done; there’s nothing to lose. People worry about the (cost of the) AP exams ($90). But in terms of saving thousands of dollars for college courses, that’s a small price to pay. Even if you don’t “pass,” you gain a ton of personal knowledge and growth in the process. There are only positives coming out of the AP program, it’s absolutely doable and pays off in the end.
• Sarah Brooks
College credits earned: 29
College plans: Currently attending UW-Madison, biology major.
One of the best decisions I made in high school was to take AP classes. The difficulty of the tests, course load and reading has helped immensely with all of my classes at UW-Madison. I gained useful skills in time management, taking notes and good study habits by taking as many AP classes that I could.
My advice: Take as many AP classes as possible. The experience of taking college-level classes will definitely help the transition to college by providing life-long skills.
• Katherine Gilbert (with honor)
College credits earned: 12
College plans: Currently attend UW-La Crosse; undecided major.
Taking AP classes helped prepare me for college as such advanced classes are fairly similar to the undergraduate classes I am taking at the moment. It helped to improve by study skills, and it taught me how to think critically and problem solve. AP classes introduced me to how higher-level classes work and what I need to do to success in them.
My advice: Challenge yourself and be open to learning new methods of thinking, studying, test-taking and reading. These skills will be really useful later in life, whether you’re going to college or straight into the workforce. Also, it’s okay to not be perfect at those skills right away; the classes are meant to help you improve and work toward honing the skills to assist you later on.
• Maxwell Holperin
College credits earned: 9
College plans: Currently attending UW-Madison; business major.
High school AP courses offer the best preparation for the daily reading requirement and analysis required in college.
My advice: If you want to be competitive with the kids from Milwaukee, Chicago or much of the state, be sure to take as many AP classes as you can handle. College often requires studying in groups, and so you want to have a similar academic background as your peers.
• Aaron Huber (with honor)
College credits earned: 12
College plans: Currently attending Nicolet College with the intent to transfer to a UW school; computer science major.
AP courses helped me prepare for the workload associated with college and also helped me build healthy study habits.
My advice: Stay caught up on homework and try to spread out studying for an AP exam over a long period of time, rather than cramming everything into one study session the night before the exam.
• Carmen Incha (with distinction)
College credits earned: 25
College plans: Currently attending Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University.
Taking AP classes taught me a lot about the importance of time management and writing skills.
My advice: The classes aren’t as scary as you think, and they are definitely beneficial, even if you don’t take the AP exam.
• Katherine Krueger
College credits earned: 10
College plans: Currently attending UW-La Crosse; early childhood education major.
Taking AP classes really made me work for the grade I desired and gave me that much more satisfaction when I was able to achieve that grade.
My advice: Absolutely do it. It may seem like a regrettable choice when testing comes, but overall you will be far ahead of those who don’t.
• Andrew Padgett (with distinction)
College credits earned: 16
College plans: Currently attending Macalester College; political science major.
Taking AP classes in high school has been extremely helpful in college, less from a content standpoint, but rather from a thought and reasoning one. AP classes teach valuable lessons about organizing one’s thoughts, formulating an argument, analyzing higher level reading material, and much more. The most important lesson I’ve learned taking AP classes has been identifying bias in writing; something extremely useful both in and outside the classroom
My advice: I would recommend any underclassmen to try taking an AP course. The weight added to the cumulative GPA of RHS students that take AP classes should alleviate any concern of an AP class negatively affect GPA, and colleges often more closely consider class load rather than GPA. The AP curriculum itself, with its reading-focused intensity, has been very useful. Even if college might not be for you, do yourself a favor and try one. I doubt you’ll ever regret it.
• Grace Quinn
College credits earned: 12
College plans: Currently attending UW-La Crosse; undecided major.
AP classes showed me that it is possible to push myself harder in classes and find new ways to study! I am definitely a better student for taking AP classes; I now have the basis I need to succeed in college.
My advice: Keep trying. The work load may seem overbearing, but if you exert consistent effort, it really is not bad! You will never regret pushing yourself to study more or work a little bit harder.
• Ellie Rickman
College credits earned: 12
College plans: Currently attending UW-Milwaukee; international studies and Spanish majors, pre-law intent.
Taking AP classes throughout high school has, without a doubt, helped to prepare me for the rigors of college courses. AP classes taught me to take my education into my own hands, they taught me to take the knowledge gained within the classroom and apply it outside of school and to be independent in my learning – all of which are invaluable skills in college.
My advice: Do it. Even if you do not do as well as you had hoped on the exam, or don’t plan on taking the exam at all, the course itself will help prepare you for the changes of college and will inspire a higher value of your education within yourself.
• Lauryn Roberts
College credits earned: 6
College plans: Currently attending Michigan Tech; environmental engineering major.
Taking AP classes helped me prepare for college because it exposed me to more difficult curriculum, which made the transition to college easier.
My advice: Take AP classes. It challenges you more than any other class you’ll take in high school, so it will have the most benefit, whether or not you take the exam.
• Albiona Sabani (with honor)
College credits earned: 14
College plans: Currently attending UW-Madison; biology major.
Taking AP classes assisted me in learning how to retain a large amount of material in a short time. AP helped me realize that I needed to change my study habits and study more. Now that I am in college, I have become aware that I need to use those skills and that my classes are going to be much, much harder than high school.
My advice: I would strongly recommend underclassmen take AP classes. From my experience, the classes do prepare you for post-secondary education. Not only do they teach how to learn and what information is relevant, but these classes teach you how to manage your time and in college that is extremely important.
• Sydney Schallock
College credits earned: 15
College plans: Currently attending Nicolet College and transferring to UW-Oshkosh; business major/marketing.
Taking AP courses helped me prepare for college by teaching me how to think and synthesize information. I know how to come to conclusions and form opinions about facts instead of just memorizing answers to a test.
My advice: I would tell underclassmen that they should take advantage of knocking out college credits while in high school. When you get to college and realize how far ahead of other students you are, you will be grateful for the extra effort you put forth in high school.
• Haley Sisel (with honor)
College credits earned: 12
College plans: Currently attending UW-Madison; biochemistry major.
Taking AP classes in high school was incredibly valuable as it taught me effective study habits, aided in my reading abilities and comprehension of material and gave me the freedom to work independently, which enhanced my time-management skills.
My advice: Without a doubt, take advantage of AP classes. Not only are they a great way to challenge yourself and acquire new knowledge, but they prepare you for post secondary education extremely well. And if you need more motivation, scoring well on the AP exam can save you thousands of dollars – not to mention time – in college.