Art by Ajay Venkatraman

Paly should offer additional AP, Honors courses

Paly should offer more courses and APs for more diverse majors.

With an open campus, a luxurious Media and Arts Center and freedom in course selections, Paly is similar to many colleges. The main differences are that we have easier courses, and we don’t have on-campus housing. We are, after all, a high school. 

But as a high school that is on par with many colleges, Paly doesn’t offer all the college-level courses approved by the College Board. Sure, students could take classes off-campus (once the assistant principal of counseling approves it), and while this is a way to offer more courses, people don’t go to Paly to take off-campus classes.

As the number of majors available in undergraduate education increases, such as the University of Michigan, growing from 118 in 2016 to 129 today, Paly should accordingly offer more areas of study. UCLA offers over 125 majors. UT Austin offers more than 180, and some schools, like New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, allows students to create their own major defined by the classes they take.

To provide more choice to students, Paly should offer more advanced or honors courses. For example, Paly doesn’t offer advanced courses in business. The closest class is AP Macroeconomics, but that is only one class, which isn’t nearly enough for all those interested in studying business. 

Additionally, Paly’s offering of APs does not support all of the College Board’s APs. Half of all AP history courses recognized by the College Board are offered at Paly, excluding AP World History, AP European History, AP Human Geography and AP Government.

In general, the more concentrated in an area of study your classes are, the more appealing you are to the majors you select when applying for colleges. Paly currently offers many classes for STEM, arts and computer science majors. Even undecided students have an easy time due to Paly’s core requirements and broad curriculum. It’s the students who want to major in niche subjects who will have a much harder time distinguishing themselves from those who say they’re undecided. Paly’s curriculum just doesn’t offer enough in-depth courses.

The current course selection should be praised for its diversity. With over 150 courses, students can browse the catalog like my dad does clothes. However, with many STEM courses, those who want to major in something that isn’t those subjects will have trouble showing their academic skills.