2023 Course Preferences : The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

With Quarter three coming to a close, it’s time for juniors and sophomores to pick their course preferences for next year. This is an exciting yet stressful time, as students are permitted to make significant decisions that will shape the next year of their lives. However, this event also gives students at Millennium a larger sense of academic freedom, as they receive an opportunity to personalize their learning experience. 


One negative though, is that it can often be hard to request all of the courses that you’re interested in, as the classes are divided up into two separate bands, and you can only choose one band. For instance, you cannot take both AP Art History (Band 3), and AP Studio Art (Band 1). 


One of the concerns heard among juniors is that those who took algebra II this year, but want to take three APs next year, are confined to band three, as it is the only band that offers AP statistics. This limits a lot of the juniors’ flexibility and freedom in choosing the courses that they want. Despite this frustration, some students, like 11th grader Evelyn Mullen Walsh, are choosing to see this situation from a “glass half-full” perspective: “When I came to terms with there being nothing I could do about the situation, I decided to look on the bright side and take the courses that I thought would be more beneficial for me, and my future even though it wasn’t my dream schedule” .


Walsh also says that she not only appreciates the fact that band three gives her the opportunity to take three AP’s, but it also allows students to choose from a selection of classes that will incorporate a bit more culture into their curriculum. For instance, Band three includes AP Spanish, AP Art History, and French Language and Culture. 


Junior Justin Yu- who is hoping to go into band one, commented on the unpopularity of Band one: “Band one lacks interest due to its the elective blocks, but perhaps if the electives were to be reorganized to fill in for the lack of popular AP options, it would help band one possibly be as favorable as band three”. Similarly, he went on to say that it’s interesting that band one includes a lot of opportunities for artistic expression, as it contains AP Studio Art, Mixed Media, Photography, and Foundations of Music. 

On the other hand, sophomores are narrowing down their decisions based on a different set of criteria. After talking to sophomore Sylvie Jenkins, I was told that depending on the past reputation of both the teachers and the classes they teach, we can expect to see students in tenth grade migrating towards certain classes. After speaking with both Sylvie Jenkins and Sam Santana, it seems like some students may be expecting AP Biology to be the most popular course for rising juniors. Jenkins commented on the AP Studio Art/AP Art History survey, saying that she liked how it gauged student interests, and she hopes that the school does surveys about other courses in the future, in the hopes that curriculum can hold more classes that are based on current students’ interests . 


We have been discussing a lot about APs, but for those in freshman and sophomore year at Millenium, there are a few things that you might want to know. After discussions with our school’s college counselor, Jillian Feinstein, there are several things to note. “Millennium is an honors level high school, all of the classes are already challenging, and APs here really mean something”. She went on to explain different aspects of a student that may make them more well suited for an AP: ”If you are excited to take something, it can show real passion and talent in an area”. Ms. Feinstein really emphasized the idea that APs are not a must-have for everyone: “Some students are really in the position where they’re not super passionate about any particular topic, and they don’t want to do all that work. That’s fine, Millennium is plenty hard, and the extra AP is just going to make them miserable, it’s going to be at the cost of their health and well being, and I never want a student doing that. So no, I don’t think it’s essential at all”


All in all, while we all know that Millennium can at times be a high pressure school, there should be no stress to choose APs if they are not for you . Simple as that. 



Link to 2022-2023 Band sheet: