Off course

Students and teachers navigated extended course change time period


This year’s course request form at Jones College Prep was extended to three weeks accommodating many students’ needs.

Many students express that they chose to switch classes because of potential issues with workload.

“All of my other classes are AP and honors and they all give out a lot of work. I knew if I took Math 4B, it would just be too much,” said Arianna Gil ‘24. 

Students also share the sentiment that teachers aren’t always aware of how many other responsibilities make certain courses an unrealistic fit. 

“Teachers…aren’t really considerate to other teachers’ work, …a lot of the teachers at this school will just say,‘oh, you have to have time management’,” said Gil. “But still it’s too much because we have our personal lives too.”

Juniors have especially been taking advantage of the new wave of course changes.

“Junior year is really important, our grades matter more this year. We also have the SAT and we need time to study for that,” said Gil. “We can’t be all about school work all of the time, we still have to have time for other things”.

Teachers agree that in certain circumstances a course change might be the right thing for a student to do.

“If a student feels that the amount of preparation outside of class would affect their quality of life or their happiness then I would say it’s not a good fit,” said Social Studies teacher Cheryl Verhey. “But if they’re just a little nervous about not doing perfectly in the class then they should keep working in the class”.

Though teachers comment that smaller AP classes aren’t necessarily a bad thing.

“You can often have more robust discussions and debates and you can get a lot more one on one time with writing, so it’s not a disadvantage to have a smaller class,” said Verhey.

Although the counselor’s corner does specify that course changes based on teachers aren’t done, for a lot of students, teachers are still a factor in their decision. 

“I switched because the teacher seemed too strict, but that’s just my personal preference,” said Jotautas. “That first day of class they assigned 40 pages to read, and I just wasn’t gonna do that.”

However, with the longer period this year to change courses, many teachers observe that too many students may have jumped the gun on the decision.

“A way to improve course changes would be maybe to have the student talk to their teacher first,” said Verhey. “And see if the issue is that they can’t emotionally handle the workload or if it’s just that they’re a perfectionist and are afraid they won’t do perfect in this class.”

Many teachers mention that they plan on being more encouraging for students to persevere through their courses.

“Knowing that a lot of students transferred who didn’t need to, my messaging in the future would be more encouraging to those students who are a little nervous but would do great if they stayed,” said Verhey.