The New 9 AP Rule: Is Stress Worth the Opportunity?

An overview of the pros and cons of the new cutoff on Advanced Placement classes


The new AP rule stirs up mixed feelings within the freshman population of ACPS highschools.

Ava Ellis, Staff Writer


The new 9 Advanced Placement rule has caused quite an uproar within the Albemarle County parent and freshman student population. The new regulation states that “freshmen will no longer be able to take Advanced Placement (AP) classes as they progress through high school. Students will be limited to no more than nine AP classes total between their sophomore and senior years.” (County Website) This rule has been labeled as controversial as some students prefer to not have their competitive advantage terminated while others think that this cut-off is invaluable to bringing down students’ stress levels throughout their high school experience.

Western assistant principal, Teresa Tyler explained why this regulation is so incredibly salient for students.  “The 9 AP rule was chosen because there are some students who feel compelled to take as many AP or high-level classes as they can whether they have any interest in that subject or not. It gets to the point where they don’t really care about the class itself, they just feel compelled to take it. In doing so, they lose sight of their balance between school and life. Overall, unnecessary stress is put on kids without the kind of payoff that they think it will have. So if you’re only allowed to take nine, then you can tell wherever you’re applying, I took as many as I could.”

While the administrative opinion is the ultimate arbiter, the opinions of the affected population are crucial as well.

One freshman from Albemarle High School, Abby Stiffler, believes that the new restriction on APs is key to reducing student stress and creating an overall enhanced high school experience. 

“The new rule is incredibly helpful and beneficial to everyone and as long as colleges are aware that the students have a restriction on APs then it is really amazing because it limits the stress while still allowing kids to take these advanced classes,” Stiffler said. “It makes it possible for the high school experience to be fun while also learning and growing.”  

Western students Kae Gott and Ika Gottlieb are both firm believers in the potential shortcoming of the new regulation. “There should not be a limit on the number of APs a student is allowed to take because it does not create the necessary difference between students who take APS and students who do not. This difference helps colleges pick out students who want to go the extra mile and took higher level classes in high school.”

Gottlieb also shared a common sentiment, “I think that even  if it does overall reduce stress a little bit I think that people who are ready for more APs should be allowed to take more APs.”

The new rule has stirred up drastic opinions elsewhere in the county as well. Monticello student Taylor Bewley believes that students should have the right to take as many APs as they like. “Students should be allowed to follow anything they want to and there shouldn’t be a restriction on it. If someone wants a harder class the schools should offer as many as the student wants without a restriction.”

Regardless of the many differing opinions on the subject, the new rule will be the norm for the foreseeable future. The rule could reduce student stress, but could also decrease opportunities to take more advanced classes or save money in college. Is the stress worth the opportunity?