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Advanced Classes at Boarding School

andoverblue21andoverblue21 20 replies4 threads Junior Member

I'm a current 10th grader at Andover and I'm in process of choosing my classes for next year. I signed up for english, history, math, foreign language, bio, and acting. However, I'm worried because NONE of my classes are AP prep classes. (ok some can choose to take the APUSH exam after history but the course isn't designed to). To be honest, this entire school year has been extremely rough for me academically wise because my grades are struggling and so are my stress levels.

At my old high school, I had the option of taking two AP's my sophomore year because it's an easier school. Here at Andover, I'm struggling with regular/honors classes because my school is so rigorous so idk if I'll be able to stack up on advanced placement courses.

In my situation, is it better to leave the Academy or stay and continue with what I have?? Here is a pros/cons list of my old high school and my current school:

pros: classes are MUCH easier, mostly A/A+ grades, student ranking likely in top 1-10
cons: unranked small suburban high school, club offerings are weak, class offerings are limited (there is no BC calc, computer science, etc)

pros: one of the best high schools in the us, a LOT of opportunities for extracurriculars, amazing relationship with students and faculty, i have a lot of fun!
cons: the academics are very very difficult at least for me bc I'm not used to the rigor, I'm constantly stressed, my grades are below/at the school average.

Thank you so so much for any input.
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Replies to: Advanced Classes at Boarding School

  • andoverblue21andoverblue21 20 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @gardenstategal thanks so much for your input. I was just ranting bc I'm feeling stressed lately lol. but yeah I do truly mean what I said before about how I do love the challenge here at Andover it just can be a lot sometimes.

    What you said makes sense, and I probably am going to stay. And yes, I'll put that book on my reading list!
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1581 replies24 threads Senior Member
    @andoverblue21 - thanks for sharing your concerns and your views in such an honest way. I am sure that there are many students on this thread who can relate to what you are experiencing. I admit that I don’t know much about Andover these days, but it’s my impression that taking AP’s are not such a big deal at boarding school as they are at local public schools or day schools. Many of your courses at BS are probably as rigorous as a college level course. I am sure that the colleges you will apply to will see Andover and totally understand/appreciate your coursework. It’s also difficult because students at the local high school are probably getting the GPA “bump” for Honors. AP or Accelerated courses. We know kids at the LPS who load up on as many AP’s as possible and it’s still like having a “McEducation” (sorry McDonalds). You are gaining a multifaceted educational experience that provides a platform for personal growth outside of the classroom. Take advantage of the great opportunities and, like @gardenstategal stated, “PA will prepare you for wherever you go to college”.

    You are not alone. Maybe there are other students - even students one year older - who can be in a study group with you. Sometimes, talking with Uppers about this topic can be of help. If you can, focus on the many positives and the many oppotunities. @gardenstategal gave you great advice.
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  • CTMom21CTMom21 606 replies2 threads Member
    @andoverblue21, like others have said, you’re attending a super prestigious school largely for the purpose of being challenged. It’s not easy and not meant to be a walk in the park; it’s meant to challenge the brightest and most motivated students. You’re dealing with challenges that go well beyond just the school work (including just dealing with the humbling aspect of a challenging school).

    On that note, you’ve listed some “pros” above, but trust me, there are “pros” of attending BS that you may not even realize yet — I can see the tremendous maturation in my son that has occurred and have no doubt that you are growing in ways that go beyond your transcript. This — in addition to decent grades at a tippy-top school — will help you for college and beyond.

    The hard work itself will pay off. I don’t promise any particular outcomes to my kids but I DO promise that hard work will pay off, even if not in the manner that they want or expect. Grit and a “stick-to-it” attitude will get you further than will easy As.

    Talk to your advisor about course selection so that you’re challenged but not drowning and have the opportunity to move up over the next couple of years. Also keep in mind that kids may not talk about it, but many feel the same as you. I talk with other Moms about how hard are kids are working for B+ grades, and I know it’s a grind. Don’t let the shock and discouragement get the better of you, and think about how accomplished you will feel to graduate from Andover.
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