AP European History should remain the sole sophomore AP course

Natalia Becsak, Staff Writer

After taking Global History and Geography 1 freshman year, sophomores are given two social studies course options: they can automatically be placed in Global History and Geography 2 or, if a student received an 88 percent or higher on the midterm exam, they have the option of transferring into AP European History.  With its numerous reading and writing assignments, extensive textbook homework, and challenging tests, AP Euro is rumored to be one of the most difficult classes offered in Schreiber.  However, AP Euro isn’t going to be the only AP social studies course offered for sophomores, as Schreiber is planning on offering AP World as another substitute for Global 2 in the 2020-2021 school year. 

“Schreiber decided to bring in AP World because it offers a larger sample of our history for our students to understand.  In an increasingly globalized world, I feel that this larger sample of history will be beneficial to our students,” said chair of the Social Studies Department Mr. Lawrence Schultz.  

However, offering another AP class may cause future sophomores to stop taking AP Euro due to its harsh reputation.  Many future sophomores are going to be unaware of the advantages that they will be missing out by not being forced to enroll in AP Euro if they wish to take an AP course then.  Because of its rigor, AP Euro would help prepare students for similarly challenging AP courses they plan to take later in their high school career.  

According to College Board, AP Euro thoroughly delves into the interaction of Europe and the world, poverty and prosperity, objective knowledge and subjective visions, states and other institutions of power, individual and society, and national and European identity.  The various writing assignments given out throughout the course teach students how to analyze and connect themes throughout a large period of time—a skill that is vital for most AP classes.  Having students read the textbook and know all of the tiniest details forces them to use their extensive knowledge to thoroughly excavate situations presented to them.  Administering tests with AP free-response and multiple choice questions prepares them for the style of the questions College Board uses for AP exams.

“I am glad I took AP Euro my sophomore year because I learned the type of commitment and work ethic that is required for AP classes, which is important for me going into my upperclassman years,” said senior Kyra Ching.

AP World History, on the other hand, has a reputation for being much easier than AP Euro.  As described by the College Board, the course focuses on general themes such as the creation, expansion, and interaction of economic systems, as well as the development and interaction of cultures and social structures.  Taking this class could give students the wrong idea about what is expected of them as a student in an Advanced Placement course. 

Although AP World is considered advantageous because it teaches critical thinking and sourcing skills and promotes the understanding of themes that have guided all of humanity, not just Europe, throughout modern civilization, a plus in taking European History as a sophomore instead of AP World is that it might make students stand out to colleges.  Most students across the country do not take AP Euro their sophomore year.  In the past year, only 68,670 students took AP Euro their sophomore year, while a whopping number of 236,687 students took World History.

“I decided to challenge myself by choosing the difficult option instead of the easier one, and it was extremely rewarding.  From this decision, I not only got in touch with my drive, persistence, and passion for learning, but I have also discovered a fulfilling career I plan on pursuing,” said senior Emily Gao.

The purpose of AP Euro is not to torture students with its detailed assignments, but to ultimately push them to step out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves.  Most seniors would not get any use of this class because they have already learned this lesson through the many other APs they have taken in the past.  But to sophomores approaching their junior year, which is often said to be the most difficult and important year of one’s high school career, learning this lesson is vital.  Looking at the bigger picture, this class ultimately prepares students early on in their high school career what is expected of them in college, and the real world.  By adding AP World, students will have the option to avoid taking this class completely if they want AP credit. 

As of now, the other details about adding AP World remain unknown, including who will be teaching the course.  Many social studies teachers are looking forward to adding another course.  

“I’m very excited to see how this works.  I look forward to adding to our already rich course offerings here at Schreiber Social Studies,” said Mr. Schultz.

This goal will take a while to implement, as adding this course depends on a variety of factors, including enrollment.

“I don’t know what to expect from the enrollment yet, and that will likely take a year or two,” said Mr. Schultz.