Junior Year, AP Classes, And You

Junior year can be a lot. And AP classes, although beneficial, can contribute to that.


Yuntong Li, 11, is taking APs because she feels they’ll help her with future goals.

Annaliese Simons, Bear Hub Staff

Junior year is often referred to as the most important year of high school, which pretty much translates to “most stressful.” Ask any junior and they’ll agree: balancing schoolwork, college searches, extracurriculars, SAT prep, a social life, and more is hard. Sometimes you’ll wake up at noon and work until ten pm, then collapse on your bed and go back to sleep. Needless to say, ten hours of work is a heavy load. And to an outsider, adding AP classes on top of all that might seem like overkill.

AP classes have been around since 1955, when the College Board implemented ten AP subjects nationally. Now, 38 separate AP courses are offered across the country, most of which are first offered in junior year.  With that level of choice, one might wonder how anyone possibly decides which courses to take. For juniors, the answer varies. Yuntong Li, 11, is taking five AP courses. Though that might seem like a lot, these courses aren’t her biggest source of stress; instead, she says, her “AP classes are [her] easiest.” She doesn’t feel the same about sophomore year AP US History, though, which becomes clear as she vividly expresses that she “spent every single day crying over APUSH.”

Junior Sofia Sepulveda Pizarro, on the other hand, didn’t take any AP classes last year. This year, she’s taking three. Sofia says she was “initially worried that the workload would be significantly more,” but she’s “been able to manage just fine.” She notes that it’s possible block scheduling has made the courses easier. She also expresses that some classes are harder than others, noting that “taking Calculus BC assignments at home is not too great.”

Despite all of this, however, juniors manage to make it work. Yuntong says she takes school seriously because “it’s what’s going to get [her] to her goals.” And that seems to be the general sentiment. Junior year may be stressful, yes, but it’s a necessary stepping stone for the future. And AP classes, however difficult they may be, are part of that.