AP awards bring unnecessary stress

The College Board announced that the national AP Awards will not be given out  this May. According to its website, the purpose of the removal is “to reduce the burden on students.” Although this is a dramatic change to the award system, it is also one that is absolutely necessary.

Many students already have countless extracurriculars and excessive amounts of homework, causing stress at a level that affects their daily lives and mental states. In 2018, a social network called After School learned that 45 percent of teens reported that they feel constantly under stress.

However, AP courses and the eventual AP tests add on to the list of stressors, not to mention the long list of hard-to-get awards. 

In order to achieve the National AP Scholar Award, a student had  to earn at least a four out of five on a minimum of eight AP exams. On top of this, their average exam score cannot fall below a four.

College Board statistics show that from 2015 to 2018, less than 6 percent of high school students take eight or more AP tests, clearly signifying that  to prepare for and pass eight exams with flying colors is a daunting task. Students who are desperately trying to be recognized by big-name colleges seek ways to impress admissions officers. 

One way is by earning the National AP Scholar Award. However, students can report the scores themselves when applying to college, thus making the actual “award” impressive in name only. 

Paired with extracurriculars, juggling multiple AP classes can prove to be a nearly impossible task, or at the very least one that heavily wears down high school students’ mental states. 

The infinite number of causes of high school stress is exacerbated by the fact that parents are always trying to push their children to new heights of academic excellence. However, the removal of the AP Awards and other awards can allow struggling students to readjust their relationships with their parents and be more relaxed about the subject of school matters.

At Diamond Bar High School, freshmen cannot take AP classes. This forces those who want to take AP tests to self-study and take classes outside of their already rigorous high school schedule to actually be eligible and pass the tests, which eats into the time and mental health of students. If the AP awards are removed, students who do take AP tests would do so of their own volition (for college credit), not to achieve some award. 

The least that College Board could do for their hard working students is to lessen their amount of overwhelming academic stress. The future of humanity and its education lies not with an ocean of workaholics, but with lively individuals that have more diverse skill sets and more personal interests.