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Honors Courses: how much is too much?

Posted By Daniel Bender-Stern On March 24, 2010 @ 3:57 am In Editorials and Opinions | Comments Disabled

As a freshman, I knew exactly what I was going to do my sophomore year.

I was going to take as many honors classes as I possibly could, and I would deal with it with a smile and a lot of hard work.

After all, I could genuinely say that I liked every subject I signed up for.

So, in September, I returned to South, completely confident that a good work ethic and maybe a few all-nighters would be all I needed to get through tenth grade. But that was much easier said than done.

At Newton South, the atmosphere is completely centered around college. In spring, the question for seniors isn’t “How’s slumping? but more like,

“How many schools did you apply to? Have you heard back from any of them yet? We’re not exactly taught to focus our minds on college, and yet somehow we learn how to do it anyways. We learn to participate in various extracurriculars, take classes that challenge us, or volunteer and do charity work.

Maybe it’s because we genuinely enjoy doing these things, but college is at the very least somewhere in the back of our brain when we make the choice to do them.

Students are prone to taking as many AP classes as possible, but is that actually beneficial?

According to sophomore Grace Nathans, not at all. “In ten years you aren’t going to remember how many AP classes you took or how well you did on the AP tests, but you will remember how miserable you were because of your off-the-charts stress, Nathans said.

Grace is taking two Honors classes this year, and in general feels alright about her workload, but comments that several of her friends are taking more challenging classes, and are noticeably unhappy about it. Students need to find a balance. Of course it makes sense for us to challenge ourselves when we select courses for the next year, but it also makes sense for us to maintain a solid sleeping schedule.

“Taking AP classes is beneficial as long as you’re not overloading, junior Harry Neff said.

He says that when he decides courses, he chooses to take challenging classes when the subject is something he wouldn’t mind doing extra work for.

“You shouldn’t ever be taking it easy, but you can’t go crazy, obviously. Still, school should really come before anything else. I approach the course selection with that idea in mind, Neff said.

When I selected courses this year, I decided to go with what I could manage. I’ve enjoyed all my classes this year thus far, but I know it could have been more enjoyable and I probably would have been more interested in the material if I hadn’t been as ambitious with my selections.

Students need to be honest with themselves. We need to learn to not shy away from what we’re good at, but question whether or not taking another Honors class would cause us to under-deliver across the board.

Taking AP and Honors classes can make our school years interesting, challenging, and more enjoyable. But at the end of the day, overloading on these classes isn’t beneficial.

Putting our best efforts into a mixture of levels of classes and being pleased with the results is preferable to letting our stressful schedule bring our grades down in every class.

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URL to article: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/honors-courses-how-much-is-too-much/

URLs in this post:

[1] One too many could shatter the glass house: the honors debacle: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/one-too-many-could-shatter-the-glass-house-the-honors-debacle/

[2] Honors orchestra raises expectations: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/10/21/honors-orchestra-raises-expectations/

[3] Editorial: Find the middle ground: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2007/10/25/editorial-find-the-middle-ground/

[4] Girls in math and science: do the numbers add up?: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/02/15/girls-in-math-and-science-do-the-numbers-add-up/

[5] Overbooked classes make a tougher learning environment: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/overbooked-classes-make-a-tougher-learning-environment/

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