Although students choose to take AP courses to further their knowledge on a subject, challenge themselves, and expressed by senior Maxine Lui, see “how much I will grow at the end of it all,” is becoming more and more of a motivation to take them. “Personally, I feel more pressure to take AP classes,” explains senior Janelle Wang, who is taking four AP courses this year. “As I hear from my peers and counselors, colleges find students that challenge themselves with more rigorous courses [...] is important.”
The typical AP course requires about two hours of homework per night, while in most cases a regular course requires only half an hour per night, but the hours of homework add up quickly. Already taking part in extracurriculars such as sports and clubs, students arrive home exhausted and have to stay up late because of the amount of homework they have.
Many students agree that there is a fine line between having enough homework to learn properly and having too much homework where it becomes overwhelming. “More isn’t always better. An assignment that hits all the target points of the lesson would be way more beneficial than a five-hour homework activity about some random, obscure thing,” agrees Jasmin Do, a senior.
With this in mind, it is reasonable that schools consider later start times. This would allow students to stay up late, to finish their assignments, while getting more sleep, since they would not be required to wake up as early.
When asked how later start times would impact her, junior Lexy Garcia explained that “[she] would be able to get more sleep, because [she has] been going to bed at three, four in the morning.” Briahna Oliva, a senior, added that she “wouldn’t be as tired in class [and would] pay attention more.” Students would be more focused, reduce any accidents or injuries that may come with lack of sleep and alertness, continue to participate in their extracurricular activities, and maintain better health.
Recently, California legislators considered a bill that would push California middle and high school start times to no earlier than 8:30 am. Although this would have been a big step in improving students’ health, the legislative was turned down for reasons including allowing each school to decide what was best for their students. The bill may be picked up again in January, and it is in the best interest of the students that it is passed the next time around.