Upperclassmen struggle to choose Senior English classes

By Krista Fog

When making those English course selections on their registration cards, many students planning for their senior year feel stuck. For the first time, students who have been taking Honors English all throughout high school must either step down into general English or step up into AP Language or Literature their senior year. On the other hand, juniors who took AP Lang must either follow into AP Lit or take an even bigger step down to general English 12.

English Department Chair Kristen Bramwell explained that there is no Honors English 12 because the English staff and administration wants their seniors to be pushed into taking AP Lang or Lit; it gives them the preparation for college that they need.

“If there was an Honors English 12, our students who are capable of an AP English course wouldn’t be leaving their comfort zone, which is what they’ll need to do in college anyway.”

Is there a friendly nudge for Honors English students to take an AP course their senior year?

“Absolutely there’s a friendly nudge because the students are ready and our Honors English 11 teachers really prepare them to move on to an AP class their senior year,” explained counselor, Department Chair, and AP Coordinator Dr. Maryjo Hecker.

That nudge is indeed very effective. Many students feel a sense of obligation to take an AP English course their senior year.

“I think it’s the natural capstone to the rigorous kind of studies that students have been engaging in,” explained AP Literature teacher Melissa Borgquist. She explained that even though there can be hesitation, the Honors English courses actually have been preparing the seniors to take AP English indirectly.

The transition from Honor’s English into AP English can be considered a good thing.

“It’s a lot less busy work,” said senior Taylor Peterman. “You have to work more on your own, like reading every night. You do not have specific questions that follow the readings like you did in both General and Honors English in the past.”

However, this lack of an Honor’s English 12 students to think carefully about their plans for senior year.

“If a kid doesn’t plan on taking two of the AP English classes, it’s probably a better fit to take Honors English 11 and then AP Lang as a senior,” said Dr. Hecker. “AP Lang is the nuts and bolts of writing that I think is very well suited for whatever kids plan on majoring in college.”

Many students do go into AP Lit as seniors with a background of Honors English 9, 10, and/or 11, such as Peterman.

“I didn’t take AP Lang this year because it didn’t really interest me that much and thought that AP Lit would be more of what I’m interested in,” said Peterman. “So therefore I would like it more and most likely be better in it.”

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