Should Strake Jesuit Limit AC/AP Classes?

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Lucas Vaughan ’23

“Unfortunately, you have already reached your limit of AC/AP classes, so you won’t be able to take AC Pre-Calculus,” said the academic and personal counselor of Owen Zeng ‘23 last spring as he tried to add one more AC class to his schedule. Despite his near-perfect transcript, including a lofty grade in AC Algebra II/Trigonometry, Owen Zeng, along with many other high-achieving SJ students, has had the experience of being denied the option to schedule another advanced class 

There are many advantages to taking an AC/AP class as opposed to a normal class. “The class is more rigorous,” Vilmos Lo ‘23 said. “And because of that increased rigor, you also learn more, and are able to adapt better to the fast-paced teaching that you would be exposed to in college.” Strake Jesuit is a college preparatory school and should perform as such; by denying top students the possibility of taking more than five AC or AP classes, which best emulates a college curriculum, the school is not doing its duty to thoroughly prepare students for college.

An important aspect of Strake Jesuit is the way the school shapes boys into men, and one essential aspect of becoming a man is to “know thyself.”  Limiting the rigor of a student’s schedule, however,  rejects the principle that students should be able to decide for themselves whether or not they would be able to handle an additional advanced class.

A defining characteristic of a Strake Jesuit student is his openness to growth. When the school hinders the rigor of a student’s academic experience, as Owen Zeng says, “It’s counterproductive to be limiting a student’s ambitions.”

If the school does not want to give full autonomy to students when they choose their schedule, they should at least give exceptions on a case-by-case basis for high-achieving students who want to add more rigor to their schedule. This way, high achieving students who are able to handle the additional workload are able to adequately stack their schedule, and those who are content with the difficulty of their schedule would not be affected by the change.