The Ranch Review

How and Why Students Choose Classes

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Photo taken by Vanessa Castellon

Photo taken by Vanessa Castellon

Photo taken by Vanessa Castellon

Tyler Vu, Sports Editor

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As students finish choosing classes for the next school year, many of the beloved programs and classes here at the Ranch are lacking the minimal amount of students leading to their termination or possibly temporary termination. While a variety of reasons can be made about the fall of these classes, it can be concluded that their termination not only has a major impact on teachers, but on the students who want to take these classes as well. 

One common factor a student keeps in mind when choosing classes is the type of environment for a particular class. ORHS Senior Nate Atlaw abides to this. Factors that constitutes an academic environment includes its difficulty, the amount of work given, or even the type of teacher. In this day and age, Atlaw admits that he and many of other high school students have passed on classes that pose an academic challenge to them. While this is not entirely true for a majority of the students, it still prevalent here at the Ranch. 

“Obviously when I’m choosing my classes, I want to pick ones that I know I’ll pass,” said Atlaw. 

In other cases, students also pick classes due to their importance toward their future. AP and honors classes are highly selected by those who want to academically excel. Students have the conception that taking as many AP and honors classes will guarantee them a spot at the most prestigious college. However, other factors play a role as well such as SAT and ACT scores, community service hours, personal statements, etc. AP classes does allow a student to academically challenge themselves and show their worth to some colleges, other colleges require you to take those courses again and if their AP classes did not prepare them well, it will simply be a waste of their time. 

“Don’t get me wrong, AP Classes can be beneficial,” said Atlaw. “But if they don’t give you the proper teaching or the essential knowledge needed to pass these classes, then honestly students shouldn’t take AP Classes. From what I heard, colleges really look at if you were able to pass classes but at the same time giving yourself a challenge.” 

Atlaw provides some truth to this. According to Yale Admissions Website, when admissions committee look at an applicant’s transcript, they don’t focus on whether they took specific course, but that they challenged themselves with difficult coursework (doesn’t have to be from AP) and did well. Admission Committees are really trying to capture a comprehensive picture of that student. Having a well-balanced program that provide students with a good college foundation is what Universities such as Yale is looking for. Consistently proving one’s academic excel can just be the determining factor of getting admitted or not.

According to Yale Admissions, “We only expect that you will excel in the opportunities to which you have access.” 

AP courses can be valuable if it gives students knowledge and skills that will prepare them at the next level. However, other courses here at the Ranch can have as much value as AP classes. Media Writing, for example, provides the essential preparation and skills for potential journalists according to Junior Ashad Khalilzadeh. Unfortunately, Newspaper will be one of the classes that won’t be available to these students next year. The cuts to these classes has a major impact on students such as Khalilzadeh, who are trying to pursue professions which involves a lot of skills taught in these kinds of classes. However, they won’t be able to have the chance to be exposed to this kind of professional field. 

“It will be a shame to see such a pivotal stable here at the Ranch being potentially removed,” said Khalilzadeh. “Newspaper is a very critical program for me and other students who need the class for our future career pathways.” 

The future for these terminated class’s remains to be unknown. To fill in these classes, new programs such as peer mediation will be available to students next year. Although these classes may be overlooked by some students, they can have a lot of value to others.  

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