Should You Take An Online AP Class?

Hello everyone!

AP testing is almost over (to anyone who has an AP test tomorrow, best of luck!) for this year, and you probably have already selected your courses you’re taking next year. If your school doesn’t offer a lot of AP classes/a specific AP class you want to take, or your school limits when and how many AP classes you can take, you might be considering taking an AP course online through an accredited provider.

I did exactly this with AP Psychology since I didn’t have room for it in my schedule at school; I took a self-paced online course through BYU Independent Study during the summer, and then basically retaught myself everything before the AP test. This path might not work for everyone, so keep on reading if you want my advice on whether it will work for you.

Keep in mind that this is all based off of my personal experience and I am not a teacher or education expert! Make sure to talk to your parents and/or counselor to see if they think online AP classes are a good fit for you.

You SHOULD take an online AP class if:

  • You have the funds. Online AP classes are expensive unless you live in a state like Florida that has a program where you can take them for free (use FLVS!). I live in California and we don’t have a program like that, so I had to make sure my parents were okay paying for a class. BYU Independent Study was the most affordable choice for AP Psychology at least, but it’s overall expensive
  • You’re self-motivated and will get the work done. Don’t pile extra work on yourself if it’s just going to stress you out more and you’re going to procrastinate doing it. You’ll have to hold yourself accountable, and no matter how good the teacher of the online class is, you’ll still end up being your own teacher in a lot of ways.
  • You can get an A (or B) in the class to boost your GPA. These classes are super helpful for bumping up your GPA as long as you get a good grade. Make sure your school will accept the credits and put them on your high school transcript if that’s what your after- my school also has a limit on how many online classes you can take, so make sure to check that out too.
  • You’re genuinely interested in the class (or you need it to graduate). Unless you need to take the class or you really want to take the class, it probably will just be a burden and something you dread doing. I was genuinely interested in psychology and didn’t have room in my schedule sophomore year to take the class at my school, so it was worth it for me to take it (especially because of the GPA boost).

You SHOULD NOT take an online AP class if:

  • You want to take an ‘easier’ version of an AP class. Although some online AP classes can be easier than others or the in-class version, this still isn’t the best attitude to have. Most of the time, you’ll still need to put a decent amount of work in, so make sure you’re willing to.
  • You’re mainly taking it to pass the AP exam and get college credit, not because of interest in the class itself. It might be a waste of money to do this. If you’re motivated enough to take extra AP classes/tests, you’re probably motivated enough to self-study the material and take the test without paying for the class you don’t actually care about. I personally didn’t want to self-study since I actually wanted to take the class and I didn’t think I would be self-disciplined enough or have the resources to self-study, but lots of people do it successfully.
  • You have the opportunity to take the same class at school. Unless there’s a scheduling conflict or another reason you’re not able to take the class at school, I would highly recommend taking the classes in person if your school offers them. You’ll have a lot more support leading up to the AP test, and it will overall usually be a better, more complete learning experience.

Another aspect of online AP classes I would like to address is the timing of taking the class. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend taking an online AP class over summer like I did. Although it was useful to get the course done at my convenience in a short period of time, it was much more difficult for me to reteach myself the material and study for the AP test. Taking an online class during the school year might pile on even more to your normal school workload, but it also might be easier when AP tests come closer. This is something you’ll want to consider when deciding to take an online AP course; it’s important to choose the schedule that works best for you.

Lastly, if you’ve decided you for sure want to take an online AP course, here are some reputable providers:

  • FLVS (free for Florida residents like I mentioned, but available to anyone with a price)
  • Apex
  • BYU Independent Study
  • Virtual High School/VHS
  • Laurel Springs
  • UC Scout
  • Johns Hopkins CTY (I think you have to apply first? they’re also extremely pricey and rigorous but are very highly rated by those who take them!)

I hope this helped out anyone considering the pros and cons of online AP courses in deciding whether they would be a good choice for them. I personally plan on taking AP Art History this next year, as I need an art credit to graduate and I don’t have room in my schedule to take the class at school. We’re all in this together! Please let me know if you have any further questions. Stay safe and healthy.

Brooke

UV-Ray Vision – Poem by Me

some people wish for x-ray vision as a superpower
but i wish for uv-ray vision as mine.

to stare into the glowing orb of light we call the sun,
to look past the sunspots and stop our eyes from

watering when it's a sunny day and we look into 
the sky. to see what we can only partially see

to know more about our favorite star and be 
able to gaze into her eyes. to prevent her from

blinding us when we just want to get to know her.
to take in even more of her light, and become light ourselves

I hope you enjoyed this poem. I know it was a short one, but if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might notice I mainly write short poems. I’m working on a few longer ones to post in the near future 🙂 Please let me know if you have any feedback on this piece or any writing challenges you’d like me to try out in the near future. Stay safe and healthy.

Brooke

Procrastination – Prose

Why does it never feel like there’s enough time to do anything when I have more than enough time? We’re all blessed with the gift of time- after all, we’re alive today.

I make a to-do list for each day, and I guess you could call me an optimist for thinking I can check off all of the items. Sometimes I do, but most times I don’t.

I spend too much time reading what I wish I could write, and too much time writing what I wish I could read. It’s difficult to figure out what the best use of my remaining time in the day would be, or if there even is a best use.

I reorganize drawers that are already fairly organized, considering I don’t plan on getting rid of the already limited contents inside. I fold endless loads of laundry; the laundry basket always seems to be full.

And then there’s the unwritten list of tasks I’m putting off.

Painting my walls because the sea foam green color that once seemed trendy now makes my stomach churn. Shaving my legs since I hate to do it, yet my mother’s nagging and society’s standards coerce me into thinking I need to. Doing an actual workout, more than just going on a walk, and one where I keep going and finish it all the way through. Writing the stories I think I’d be best at writing, the ones about myself, because I’m not sure I’m ready to make myself that vulnerable.

Sure, I procrastinate on normal things once in a while. The essay that I just don’t have an idea for. Studying for final exams that I don’t want to accept are coming. Cleaning my pretty much all-white bathroom that’s become varying shades of brown. It happens to me just like it happens to anyone. But for the most part, I’m pretty good at staying on task and getting these things done. I’m comfortable with my hamster-on-a-wheel lifestyle jumping from one task.

But what about the things I want to do? The things that would be good for me?

People don’t realize that you can procrastinate those.

I hope you enjoyed this piece! I know procrastination is something that everyone struggles with at some point, but I wanted to acknowledge the fact that it manifests in different ways in different people’s lives, just like any other habit. Please let me know if you have any feedback on this piece or any creative writing challenges for me to try out in the future! Stay safe and healthy.

Brooke

Daily Dose – Poem by Me

there's a shooting pain in the crook of my neck
but i refuse to take an aspirin today. i refuse to 

take an aspirin most days. it depends on my mood,
how independent or dependent i'm willing to feel

i tilt my head back slowly, until i'm looking up at 
my smooth white ceiling and i feel it- the pain.

i turn to the left to look at myself in my chipped
full-length mirror. if i turn more than that, i 

feel it. i can't stop feeling it and i can't resist 
turning. i don't want my vision to be restricted

to one field, not even right now. i don't want to 
always be chasing my own tail (figuratively, of 

course) and if the pain's going to stick around,
                                                        i want to feel it.

I hope you enjoyed this piece. It’s a little bit more dramatic, but I will admit I’ve been struggling with pain as described in the poem. I’m not exactly sure how to deal with it other than writing, but it’s not too bad; creative license was used 🙂 Please let me know if you have any feedback on this piece or any writing challenges for me to try out in the near future. Stay safe and healthy.

Brooke

Morning – Poem by Me

i don't know whether i dread or look forward to
the dizzy sensation of waking up and stumbling

out of bed. realizing it's another day, opening the
blinds, and letting the light stream in to my tiny 

bedroom. gaining my footing like a duck coming
back onto land, and getting ready for the day.

my head spins a little bit- jumping out of bed jump
starts my senses. my eyes can only see colored spots

for a moment, and i almost lose my balance while 
standing in front of the bathroom sink. 

the light becomes visible and my eyes zero in on the 
brightness; i can see my neighbors going for a walk

outside. the ground feels solid again, and i can go 
along with my day- it all took less than sixty seconds.

I hope you enjoyed this poem! It’s a little mundane, but I got the inspiration to write it when I was going through all of these morning routine motions this morning. There is something to be said about the odd, lightheaded feeling I get when I first wake up… hopefully that’s not just me! 🙂 Please let me know if you have any feedback on this piece or any writing challenges for me to try out in the near future. Stay safe and healthy.

Brooke

When The Ink Runs Out – Poem by Me

i drew the big dipper on my inner thigh
accidentally, of course; the pen jabbed 
into my flesh before i could stop the ink
from soaking into my skin and

it just happened to look like my old
favorite constellation. on my other
leg, you might notice a few random dots
and lines. guilty as charged, i don't

seem to have control over my pen.
and yet the ink ran out that day, thick
black letters becoming a meek shell
of what they used to be as the dry

tip of the rollerball dragged across
the page. i couldn't help thinking
these marks on my thighs were a 
waste of this precious commodity

but i didn't care. when the ink runs out,
you know where to find me.

I hope you enjoyed this poem! I actually do have a line that looks somewhat like the Big Dipper on my inner thigh right now. I’m weird and often do my work at my desk with one leg raised up (not very ladylike, I know), and sometimes when I’m writing really fast or get distracted, I end up making marks on myself. I’m just clumsy like that- there’s no other way to explain it. 🙂 Please let me know if you have any feedback on this piece or if you have any writing challenges you’d like me to try out in the future. Stay safe and healthy.

Brooke

Be Silent – Poem by Me

the quiet envelopes us in this room
       we say nothing to break the silence
but i like spending this time with you
       and the outside world is too loud

if only everyone could learn to be silent
       the birds pecking at the trees in the yard
the neighbors mowing their lawn 
       the kids across the street who don't

yet know how quiet the world can get
        if you just let it be

This is a super short piece, even for me, but I felt it was best to keep it short. I mean, that’s kind of the point of it. I hope you enjoyed it, and I would love for you to leave any feedback or any writing challenges you may have for me to try in the future in the comments. Stay safe and healthy!

Brooke

Bumpy – Poem by Me

i hadn't ridden a bike in a long time, but here i was- three miles
         on the smooth, flat Palm Springs streets. all identical,
brown tones, desert landscaping, community pools
          seemingly endless, which is why i kept going. i'd never gone

on such a long ride. a mirage; i showed no signs of tiring, even
          in the April desert heat, instead picking up speed, whizzing 
by golf carts and happy families unloading their cars. 
           i probably wouldn't have stopped, if i didn't find myself 

back at the vacation rental. i put the bike in the garage, where it 
           wouldn't be touched for who knows how long. but i didn't 
even consider going on a bike ride when we came home.
            "the roads are too bumpy" was the excuse i'd give

i didn't want to navigate the sloping, cracked streets of my
              neighborhood, or pass by people i knew. i wanted to chase 
that desert mirage, and navigate the roads of life that were less
               bumpy.

I hope you enjoyed this piece! It was a fun one to write; I got the idea while I was reminiscing on my spring break vacation to Palm Springs last April. Luckily, the weather is heating up where I live and it’s pretty nice (not as hot as the desert, that’s for sure!) so I can comfortably blog from my backyard while basking in the sun. Let me know if you have any feedback on this piece or any writing challenges for me to try out in the future! Stay safe and healthy.

Brooke

Never Enough – Poem by Me

i've spent countless minutes, hours, days, even months
by now trying to figure out what you want from me

you look at me like i'm dirt at the bottom of a barrel,
or dust collecting in the corners of an old pan

i'll never be enough for you and in turn,
i'm not satisfied with the limited love you have for me

always left wondering why you'd stoop so low to be
with me if you think so lowly of me

every put-down, every scolding, every cutting remark
leaves another mark on my soul

and yet you're never done criticizing me
this is your sport, and it's never enough

I hope you enjoyed this piece! It’s definitely a little more on the sad side, but that’s the place I was in while writing it. There’s some people like this, where you feel like you’re never enough for them, yet they keep sticking around and won’t get out of your life. Please let me know if you have any feedback on this piece, or if you have any writing challenges you’d like me to attempt in the future!

Brooke

Why I’m Only Comfortable Sharing My Writing With Strangers

Hello everyone!

As a writer, my goal in sharing my work is to connect with other people, and hopefully help them in some way with my words. There are definitely pieces that I don’t end up wanting to share or post anywhere and that I keep to myself, but other than personal writing, the goal is to get your work out there… right? Today I’m going to be discussing why I’m still somewhat uncomfortable with sharing my work where people can see it attached to my name, and why I’m only comfortable sharing it with strangers when I do share it somewhere. If you’re interested in finding out why this is the case, keep on reading!

I’ve been writing on-and-off all my life, but I only started getting super into it this past year. I got my first poem published through a writing contest in fall 2019, and it was very exciting for me. I told my friends and family about it and they all wanted to read it, but I awkwardly declined. Somehow I had felt completely comfortable sending my poem off to a committee of strangers in hopes of them selecting it for publication where other strangers could read it, but I didn’t want my family and friends who were proud of my achievement to read it.

I think it’s because when someone you don’t know reads your work, the name it’s attributed to doesn’t matter. It’s just them deciding whether it speaks to them are not, and making their own interpretation of it. But when someone you know reads your work, especially someone you know well, they might try to figure out the inspiration of it or wrongly assume something based on the piece. Since they actually know you, the baring of your soul is a lot more serious since they know who that soul belongs to.

A lot of my friends don’t even know that I am a writer, or at least to the extent of what I write and what I do. I tell them I like to write in my free time or I’ll mention it once in a while, but not that I have a blog, or that I’m an editor for a teen literary magazine, or that I submit my work to certain contests/publications and hope to get published through those. First of all, none of my friends are writers, so this probably wouldn’t flow naturally in a conversation anyway. I’m sure they’d be supportive, but I wouldn’t want them to go and find my work and read it- not that I’m trashing them or even mentioning them in it, but just because that feels awkward to me.

I know it’s kind of weird, since these are the people that could help me gain more traffic on my blog or help me “promote” it, but that’s the thing. This blog and my writing in general is more of a hobby and something I do to unwind, because it’s fun and I love to write. Obviously I want these posts to reach people who they’ll be helpful to, but I want them to do that on their own merit, not by selling myself to people I know, and then having them read my personal thoughts at their pleasure.

This might sound very odd, but I’m assuming there are other young writers (or older writers!) out there like this too. Writing is so personal, and writing from your perspective and your experiences to have anyone who is a part of your personal life read it would be even scarier than someone who doesn’t know you at all read it, in my opinion. There’s a bigger possibility of judgement, or it changing the way these people in your life view you. And I don’t want that, so I choose to keep most of my writing private from my family and friends. I probably will continue to do so, unless by some crazy change of events it’s unavoidable. That’s my personal choice.

I hope this offered an interesting perspective as to some reasons why writers may choose to keep their work private. I know my family and friends don’t necessarily understand, but hopefully some of you might! Let me know if you have any writing challenges for me to try out in the near future 🙂

Brooke