AP course limits provide a step in the right direction for students’ mental health

Dean of Academics and counseling office offer advice for managing academic stress


Staff Photo

Students in 4th lunch stress over their upcoming assignments. Late nights and tired school days due to homework and studying are all too common for high schoolers.

Katie Mae Kisla, Staff Writer

Many students can relate to the stress of homework overload after school. Having difficulty managing time can affect students negatively, physically, and mentally. As a result, St. Pius X is taking a step in the right direction to help limit students’ stress. Stress is an issue for everyone, and many students need help to deal with it properly. It can be caused by being put under pressure, facing big changes, or having overwhelming responsibilities. But for most students the main cause of stress is school. 

Dean of Academics Mr. Jason Eaglen, who is also the father of three St. Pius graduates and a current student, said that one change the school is making is to help students manage their workload and stress levels by limiting the number of AP classes they can take. Beginning with the current freshman class, students are only able to take one AP as a freshman, two AP as a sophomore, three as juniors, and four as seniors. 

 “Colleges will know that we have that limit, so there is no incentive for anyone to go to five, six, or even seven AP’s,” Mr. Eaglen said.

One reason why the school decided to make this change was to benefit the students’ mental health.

“After much discussion and analysis, AP limits will help include the quality of life for students, without hurting them in college admissions. Colleges will have reasonable expectations for our students,” counselor Mrs. Jennifer Gibbs said.

In addition to limiting AP classes, Mr. Eaglen also said there are specific things students can do in their own lives to help manage stress. For example, he recommends getting involved in extracurricular activities. While this may seem unusual advice for students who already feel overworked, he thinks this will help students remain on a schedule and improve time management skills. 

“If you survey any athlete after their season, they will tell you that they waste more time when they are out of season. Later never comes,” Mr. Eaglen said in regards to students mistakenly thinking they have extra time after school so they procrastinate doing their schoolwork.

He added, “Students are missing out on some of the really great things that St. Pius offers from the weight room to the art classes that round us out and make us whole people.”  

St. Pius offers many extracurriculars that are seen to help students grow as people. Mr. Eaglen agrees that if you are not involved in any of these activities, get involved. They will help you get on a schedule to help better your mental health and time management.

Mrs. Gibbs also offered some advice to help students manage their stress levels. 

 “Reach out to teachers,” Mrs. Gibbs said. “Teachers can offer guidance, suggestions, or even flexibility. This creates students to practice working with teachers and problem-solving.” 

She also said, “By having better time management, it will limit stress. It’s a skill that takes time, and will be used the rest of your life.” 

St. Pius is taking steps to help limit stress, but there are several areas that students can help themselves as well. Stress is not something that goes away when you end your high school years, so make sure to take time to fix it.