Is peer pressure the reason students enroll in advanced classes?


Jenna Neifert

Eagle Valley High School students have many opportunities to take college level classes through the schools AP and DE programs. But many people believe that the high enrollment rates are not fueled by the students eagerness to learn but more by peer pressure.

EVHS offers 16 Dual Enrollment classes and about a dozen Advanced Placement classes. Dual Enrollment classes are specially offered courses that are run through Colorado Mountain College and only require a passing grade to gain the college credit. Advanced Placement classes consist of a college level course and a final exam that must be passed in order to gain the college credit. These range from advanced core classes to advanced elective classes. 

Many students enroll in multiple college courses because of the wide variety that is offered.

“I am currently taking AP Literature, DE Psychology, DE US History, DE College Algebra and DE Biology.” said Ava Bergsten, a junior at Eagle Valley High School.

Students feel like they need to get ahead in the college game and are more motivated to take advanced courses. But some are not  interested in them for their academic benefits . 

“A bunch of my friends were taking it (AP Human Geography) and they’re all really smart so I decided to take it.” said Tyler Blair, a freshman at EVHS.

Although this seems like an issue for only underclassmen who are staring their highschool planning, many juniors and seniors began their journey of AP and DE classes because of pressure from their classmates. 

“I don’t think there were any specific pressures to take college courses except maybe from my peers because all of my friends were doing it.” said Bergsten

This pressure to take higher-level classes is no different from the pressure for teenagers to engage in any other activity. Seeing friends and classmates get involved in something makes teenagers up to 90% more likely to want to participate in the same thing. That includes taking challenging courses.

Students still see many benefits in early enrollment to college courses that also fuel their eagerness to take advantage of the opportunities that come with AP and DE classes at EVHS. Ava Bergsten is one of the students that is utilizing the offered courses.

“I am getting ahead in college so I can take more classes now than later, and learning how to work hard before I got to college. And I am graduating with my associates.”

Eagle Valley High School students may be getting into taking college classes because of peer pressure but are sticking with them for their own benefit.

“I will probably continue to take college classes but probably things I will actually use because I don’t think I’ll use the AP Human credit if I even get it,” said Blair.

Students will be registering for classes for the 2023-2024 school year during the month of March. When registering, students should keep in mind the potential influence of peer pressure to take advanced classes, and decide for themselves if the AP and DE route is right for them.