Latinx students make up 24% of the student body at SPHS, yet only 17% of Students taking AP classes. We want to help change that.
To read this article from Propublica click here. Vecinos de South Pasadena wants to help Latinx students navigate their way to successful AP class enrollment. We’ve put together this guide so that Latinx students and parents can fully understand all the options that are available to them and to help students enroll in their first AP class in tenth grade, if they so wish.
We hope once students undergo the process of enrolling in their first AP class and experience success in it, they’ll be encouraged to take more AP classes in their junior and senior years.
A Word About AP Classes in General
- If you view SPHS’s AP Night Presentation (link is at the very bottom on the right) you might notice a majority of the presentation is wisely spent warning students not to take too many AP classes. Some of the students’ regrets came from those who took five AP classes as seniors and had little time for anything else. Other regrets were from those who took a lot of AP classes in subjects they had no interest in, just to “squeeze in a few more APs”. The one positive student is the one who took APs in subjects he was interested in. We urge students to challenge themselves, but strike for a good balance between schoolwork, down time and extra curricular activities (e.g., clubs, sports, part-time jobs, etc.). More importantly, however, students will find AP classes more rewarding if they take them in subjects they’ve enjoyed in the past, or have a genuine interest in. This not only challenges the student intellectually, but might help the student discover if this subject is a passing fancy or something they want to continue pursuing.
- For an estimate of amount of homework hours per class view SPHS table here. You can find a weekly time management planner here.
- College credit is not guaranteed. Key factors are: what score the student received on the final exam and the individual policy of the college. For more on this we suggest reading this article by the Progressive Policy Institute.
- Because AP courses are more standard across the country, this gives college admissions counselors a better point of reference for the rigor of your class, even if you do not take the AP test or don’t score 3 or above.
- How many AP classes? This is going to vary by student and by what college that student is wishing to attend . As we’ve read, some students take five APs in their senior year alone and regret it. At SPHS three AP classes per year is considered most challenging. The Los Angeles Times wrote in “A parent’s guide to AP classes: “For highly selective schools such as Ivy League schools, Stanford, and public universities like UCLA and UC Berkeley, it’s common for accepted applicants to take about eight AP classes throughout high school, though that number can range from five to 13. There are many colleges, though, that don’t ask for that many AP classes and offer a very good education, even though they’re not in U.S. News & World Report’s top 30 schools. Students can get into a four-year school with just one AP, and in some cases, with none. Students with a high school degree can also attend community college without any AP classes, and then transfer to a four-year school.”
- Since AP Courses can be dependent on current staffing, it’d be wise to check the current AP courses being offered by SPHS. You can find the current information here.
A Guide for SPHS rising 10th graders wishing to take an AP Class
A SPHS sophomore’s default classes are usually: English, Math, World History, PE, Science, LOTE (Language other than English) and Study Hall. Students are allowed to take AP classes starting in tenth grade but the options are limited: AP Computer Science, AP Chem, AP Art Drawing and AP 2D Art Photog.
Please Select a tab
AP Comp Sci: Because college-bound SPHS tenth graders don’t have an elective spot on their schedule, you’ll need to do some work on your end to open one up. You do have some options: One is easy, but pricey, the other is free, but requires a bit of work on your end, just depends on your preferences. They both require summer school between ninth and tenth grade. Follow the section below for opening up a spot on your schedule for tenth grade.
Opening up a spot on your schedule for the 10th grade
The Process and the Paperwork to enroll in APs
- First thing you need to do is attend the AP Exploration Meeting. You will receive an email from the counseling department in January with a list of classes they are offering for which grades for the fall. They will list all the times the Exploration Meeting (aka, “info meeting”) will take place, the first step is to attend this info meeting. Here is the list info meetings from this past January. Per the SPHS AP webpage “Students considering taking AP/Honors level classes must attend AP/Honors virtual meetings in order to understand the full scope and expectations of each course. Attending a meeting does not commit a student to enroll in an AP/Honors class and, conversely, AP/Honors classes can only be selected after attending the meetings and completing an AP/Honors contract. If you have a “C” grade in your current class, you must submit a Skills Mastery form that has been signed by a teacher and your parent/guardian. Email request for Skills Mastery form to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Complete a Skills Mastery form, if needed (see above)
- If you miss the AP meeting of the class you’re interested in, you can “attend” (watch) a previously recorded one and that will count, please ask your counselor for the link to the info meeting on the class you’re interested in, if you missed the in-person meeting.
- Complete the Advanced Placement (AP)/Honors Course Contract and submit it to your counselor.
- Enroll in summer school to make room in your fall schedule. We have a complete guide on how to enroll for free summer school, you can find the guide here.
- Once you complete your summer school class, take measures to ensure your transcript is sent to your counselor before classes begin in the fall.
Additional FYI: Instead of taking World History over the summer you may wish to take P.E. to create the same effect of opening up a slot, however, please note that Opportunities for Learning does NOT offer PE for a full 10 units in the summer, if you prefer to take PE over the summer, you will need to do it with Method or some other school that allows a full 10 units over the summer. This may be preferable if you’d rather take World History in the fall at SPHS.