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The Management of Kennedy Students Taking AP’s

How are students handling taking AP courses during their freshman year?
Melissa Caballero-Martinez
Student studying for the AP exam

Starting last school year, interested Kennedy 9th graders have the option of taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses. AP courses are college-level courses offered to high school students in search of a curriculum-based challenge. 

A variety of AP courses are available to students in grades 10-12 with some courses being open to 9th graders upon request. 

In the past, taking AP courses as a freshman was not encouraged for a variety of reasons. For starters, some college admissions offices only pay attention to academic grades from sophomore year and beyond. In addition, freshman year is a transition period that can quickly become stressful. 

“Over the years we have found that Medical Magnet freshmen are more interested in taking AP courses. Because of this, we have started to offer more manageable AP courses, such as AP Human Geography, as well as Algebra-1-based AP courses such as AP Physics as the curriculum is consistent with the math that is taken and learned in 9th grade,” said Medical Magnet Counselor Gabriela Cervantes. 

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In other words, counselors are encouraging manageable AP courses that utilize skills and knowledge consistent with the freshmen curriculum.  AP courses can be taken in history and social sciences such as Human Geography and Psychology, in science such as Physics (algebra 1 based) and Biology, in Computer Science, and in Spanish Language and Culture and Spanish Literature and Culture.  

Courses that can be taken freshman year are also those that count towards graduation requirements.

Kennedy freshman Lily Arce said, “I am taking AP Human Geography. I am scared but also feel like I’m ready for the challenge… I’m in the last stages of getting used to high school but I still have a lot to organize in my schedule. I’m not drowning in my assignments but…[AP Human Geography] takes up a little more [time] than normal in my schedule, but it is still manageable. I like the class so far.” 

The experience a freshman has in any AP course is contingent on the course being taken, their dedication to academic work, and their academic prowess. 

Kennedy AP Physics teacher Pooja Gupta said, “I think freshmen taking it [AP Physics] can handle it. It depends on how much effort they put in. It is good exposure…if they are capable they can do it, it is not beyond their capabilities.”

AP courses expose students to rigorous, college-level coursework and teach students to reach out and use resources offered to them. 

Ultimately, a student’s desire to be challenged, and knowledge of what they can handle, comes from within. Now one can only wonder how boosted the GPA of future graduating classes will be with this new change in place. 


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