Nunez: AP classes should be a resource for all CPS students

Julianna Nunez

It was not until college when I realized the value of Advanced Placement classes. I am not speaking as a student who took several AP classes and as a result has a better grasp of college coursework. Rather, I am speaking as a student whose high school did not offer any AP classes.

I went to a high school in the Chicago Public School system. It was not a magnet high school, a school that has a more difficult curriculum and a tougher application process. My little high school, Devry Advantage Academy High School, seemed pretty ideal when I was 16. On average, it did better than most of the other high schools in the area and offered great access to technology and software.

What I did not realize was how a lack of AP classes would have an impact on me in college. Overall, colleges are pretty understanding if a student’s high school does not offer AP classes; if a student could not take any AP classes because the school did not offer any, the college will not hold that against them. That is good and all, but the impact of no AP classes extends beyond admissions.

When I started school at Northwestern, there were many questions regarding AP credits being used for college credit. During these inquiries I would stay quiet. I soon found out that AP classes assisted in the transition from high school to college as they gave students transferable credits and an idea of college-level coursework. Though I am in no way suffering academically in college, I recognize that AP credits would have been very useful, especially in regards to fulfilling distribution requirements.

Since I graduated, my high school has added AP classes into the curriculum. However, in regards to AP classes, CPS is an uneven playing field. A 2011 Chicago Tribune article highlights the fact that some CPS high schools, such as Lane Technical College Preparatory High School and Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, offer more AP classes than others.

For some high schools, like mine, I suspect the lack of AP classes is mostly due to budget limitations. Students at those high schools might take advantage of AP classes if it were an option, but they cannot because their schools lack the resources.

There’s giving high-achieving students access to more educational opportunities, and then there is continuously stumping the students who may not have done the best job when they were in middle school. AP classes in all high schools will give students who want to challenge themselves the opportunity to do so.

All CPS schools should offer AP classes. The budget may restrict the number of classes offered, but they are a good opportunity for all students. There may even be a few surprises.

Julianna Nunez is a Medill sophomore. She can be reached at [email protected]

All opinions expressed in this column are solely the opinions of the columnist and do not reflect the views of The Daily Northwestern. If you would like to respond to the column, you may comment below, email the columnist or submit a 300-word letter to the editor to [email protected].