Should our school let students waive into AP classes?: Less stringent class policies help to allow students’ ambitions to thrive

Gillian Rush, Managing Editor

Many schools that offer AP classes do not offer the luxury that Schreiber students have, as they are allowed to waiver into AP classes even if they do not qualify.  Whether it be AP Physics, AP United States History or any other in the school, is waiving into a class even worth it?

Schreiber students could waiver into a course if they did not meet the prerequisites to participate; for example, in order to be automatically placed in AP European History as a sophomore, you must earn a 90 on the Global I midterm. If you do not earn this score, the school’s policy allows you to waiver in anyway.

Waiving in often causes the student to receive low marks in the course, inclining them to drop the class.  Though such actions could be pretty premature, many students find that if they struggle in an AP class, they are unsuccessful.

Dropping out of a course can also completely disrupt one’s schedule.  Since most AP classes are core classes, once dropped, you must be enrolled in a class of the same overall subject.  This requirement can completely mess with a student’s schedule.

Despite these disadvantages, students should still be allowed to waive into APs.  Many students that waive in end up dropping because they cannot keep up with the workload, or the material is more intense than they expect.  That being said, there are many students that enter a class determined to finish out the year. By challenging themselves, they could reach academic levels they never thought possible.

To take away a student’s freedom to challenge themselves away is to dismiss their ambition.  Students should be able to decide for themselves whether they want to participate in a class.  If they choose to drop out, at least they got to decide their fate on their own.  If the school were to prevent waiving, students would be kept from possibly discovering their full potential.

“I think students should be able to waive into classes. For AP European History, you get in just based on the midterm, but you can just have a bad test day on the day of the midterm.  You should be able to take AP Euro even if your midterm grade isn’t that good,” said sophomore Carter Shields. “I waived into AP Euro because I wanted to see how hard it was and if I could do it.”

There is a chance that students who waive could receive low marks in a class they did not meet the ‘requirements’ for.  However, it is unfair and quite a generalization to assume that these students have a higher chance of failing an AP.  It is no secret that AP classes are difficult; just because a student was not outstanding in a prerequisite by no means implies they will be unsuccessful in the future.

“If students wish to change their academic path, they should have the power to do so,” said junior Caroline McCarthy.  “Although waiving into an AP course can be difficult, if a person is determined, let them do it.  If it doesn’t work out, they can learn it for themselves.  Dropping AP Physics did not mess up my schedule because there was still room in the regents class during the same period.”

In schools, there should never be direct hindrances to the pursuit of academics and interests of students. While our school’s policy of allowing students to waive into Advanced Placement classes may be criticized for facilitating more dropped classes and low grades, what it allows is much more important: a school environment that encourages students to pursue anything that excites their intellectual curiosity now and for years to come.