AP Courses and Mental Health

AP classes could be having an effect on student mental health


Sofiia Znakharenko, Co-Editor

A large portion of the students attending high school in Colorado have taken or are currently taking AP classes. AP or Advanced Placement classes are courses run by the College Board designed to allow students to earn college credit during their high school career, but the more rigorous workload that these classes provide may be having an unprecedented effect on student mental health. 

According to a study done by the Education Resources Information Center, students taking AP classes struggle with higher levels of stress as compared to standard classes and this research may be showing itself to be true within the school community.

“[AP courses] have definitely affected my mental health in a very negative way, with the amount of assignments that we are given and such a short amount of period to do,” Alien Nevares (9) said.

AP related stress can not only contribute to a fall in grades and class performance but could possibly lead to a lack of confidence when taking actual classes in college according to the University of Wisconsin Press, which conducted a study showing that students were less confident in their ability to do well in college STEM courses following taking AP science classes.

A large portion of the stress these classes provide can be coming from the lack of experience students, especially incoming freshmen, have with the amount and level of work they are seeing.

“Yeah, especially people who haven’t taken honors classes for the first time, and they’re just taking AP class for the first time for the credit, I think people tend to get really overwhelmed,” Zoe Aguirre (9) said. “Especially if there’s like an exam and there’s a deadline for everything, I’ve definitely witnessed people get upset over their grades in class.” 

But everyone’s experience with the mental health portion of AP coursework is immensely different, with many already being used to these kinds of programs. 

“I think I have done such a simple job of balancing all my classes, and I’ve taken honors classes all since middle school. So I think AP classes haven’t really had a huge difference in my mental health,” Aguirre said. 

While maintaining a quality work ethic and being productive are crucial elements in the AP program, it is also of extreme importance to balance your mental health.

“I would definitely tell them to take their time with as much time as you’re allotted and to relax because when you start to stress out more, you start overthinking about the negative possibilities,” Nevares said.