Honors: To Take or Not To Take?
This picture depicts the locker of a student who is in Humanities. 9 out of 17 of the books pictured here belong to the Humanities course for first semester. In contrast, the English 4 course has 3 novels that they read during 1 semester.
Senior year provides a scheduling dilemma for seniors who can’t decide between the two extremes of English classes.
Senior year: a time for working hard and hardly working to prepare for college. Between choosing classes that you can easily handle, but also look appealing to colleges.
To graduate high school, you are required to take 4 years of English classes. From freshman year to junior year, an option to take honors or higher level courses such as AP are offered.
When you get to senior year, however, there are two options available at Mission Viejo High School: the Humanities course, and the college prep level, English 4 class. Unlike all previous years, a parent override can’t get you into the higher level classes.
The Humanities class is a test-in only class unless you are enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program here at Mission Viejo High School. So now over half of the previous AP Literature students are now forced to go from an AP style course to a college prep level course, that often works at a slower pace.
College prep level classes are great, and this article is not to shame those who take college prep level classes or display them as less than classes. However, in style and how the classes are run, it is very different than the AP style that a large number of students are used to.
Mission Viejo High School is a school that is known for their strong academics and their AP and IB programs with a large portion of students participating in them, more than any other high school. Moving from a class that depended on preparing the whole year to take the test in May, students around the country all focused on the same exact concepts and used analysis of novels as tools to get them through the test at the end of the year.
Sarah Smith is a senior here at Mission Viejo High School and states “I feel like I am wasting my time in a class where I am not being pushed to my greatest ability. And with going to college next year I want to be equipped with knowledge that will be helpful.”
The lack of an Honors English 4 class not only impacts AP students who were placed in the regular English 4 class, but it also brings an issue for students who are joining Humanities simply because there is no other alternative. Abby Ross, a senior, claims that she took Humanities because “normal English is too easy and not fun.”
This seems to be a common feeling among students. Daryan Ghaemi says, “I took Humanities because I was worried that I would be too bored in English 4, and I wanted colleges to see that I challenged myself as a senior.” Sophia Klueter agrees, saying “I felt that this class would prepare me for college better than English 4 would.”
The consensus is that there are truly no middle grounds. It is not fair to expect students coming from the college prep classes to suddenly be at a higher level to keep the past AP kids interested, and it also isn’t fair to expect ex-AP kids to suddenly drop a level just because there isn’t a class offered to them at their level.