Opinion: don’t play the system

Playing the system by taking a heavy load of AP courses may not be in a student's best interest writes staff reporter Lucas Barr.

Wade Glover

Playing the system by taking a heavy load of AP courses may not be in a student's best interest writes staff reporter Lucas Barr.

Lucas Barr, Staff Reporter

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2017-18 course selections were due recently and the process of creating more than 2,000 student schedules has begun. For some students, it’s all about challenging themselves academically. But for some it’s about working the GPA system and taking specific classes for the purpose of boosting their weighted GPA.

This “playing of the system” is used by many just to get a high rank which can lead to extreme stress, overworking, and a complete loss of free time. GPA “chasers” take as many advanced classes as possible. Chasers also take credit by exams (CBEs) to get credits for classes they do not want to take and which do not count towards GPA.

However high school should be about students taking classes that genuinely interest them. There are dozens of Pre-AP and AP classes offered in the district, but students should focus on taking AP classes that intrigue them rather than ones that will boost their GPA.

The purpose of an AP class is to get a credit for that subject in college, and to further pursue that field of study in university. Not all colleges accept the credit and so students shouldn’t take every AP class they can as it could be a waste of time. Rather than pursuing all advanced classes, students can gain skills specific to their interest that are more valuable than a rank.

The CTE Center offers endless classes devoted to expanding not just knowledge of less common school classes, but also offering real life experience in a variety of fields. FISD students should be grateful for the chance the center offers to excel in a field of study or potential career. For example, those looking to pursue a successful career in the medical field, working up to the CTE course Medical Microbiology would be of much more use in comparison to a class on campus such as AP Calculus BC.

Playing the GPA game is also not needed to get into a decent college. While students in the top 10 percent of their graduating class can be automatically accepted to most public universities in Texas, GPA is not all that colleges look for. Spending less time chasing after AP classes can be spent doing activities such as volunteering, playing a sport, excelling in fine arts, or devoting more time to a desired career path, which are also impressive. Spending time in high school effectively exploring future paths says a lot more about who a student is than a number.