Underclassmen juggling more weighted classes this year

Trend could continue for students competing for college spots


Lili Loney

Sophomore Alexander Pak does work in his AP Calculus BC class. More underclassmen are taking AP classes this year.

As freshmen and sophomores jump into their first year on Cal High’s campus, more underclassmen are juggling multiple weighted classes than in previous years.

Teachers have noticed an increase of underclassmen in their weighted classes. 

“When I first started teaching AP Calculus in 2012, less than five percent of my students were sophomores,” AP Calculus teacher Janice Saiki said. “But this year and last year, about a quarter were sophomores.” 

AP  Computer Science teacher Anh Ngyuen also said she noticed a slight increase in sophomores  in her class, stating that about 10 percent of her students in AP Computer Science A are sophomores this year. 

Sophomore Trenton Von Sosen is among a growing number of sophomore is enrolled multiple AP and honors classes. Von Sosen is AP Calculus BC, AP Computer Science A, Honors Chemistry, and Honors Biomedical Sciences. 

“I feel tired a lot,” Von Sosen said. 

Von Sosen said he is still tired when he wakes up,  even after getting seven hours of sleep. 

Rishi Chandrasekaran is another sophomore taking four weighted classes. He is taking AP Computer Science A, AP Calculus AB, AP European History, and Honors Chemistry. 

Chandrasekaran said he is taking multiple weighted classes because he feels pressure getting into college. Because he is Asian, he said h believes there is a lot of competition to get into a top-ranked college. 

Sophomore Arisha Islam is also taking four weighted classes. Islam is taking Honors Chemistry, Honors Biomedical Science, AP European History, and a weighted, one semester Calculus course at Diablo Valley College. 

“I only had one honors class last year, and it wasn’t that bad,” Islam said.

Islam said her older sister took the same weighted classes she is enrolled in when she was a sophomore, so she feels she can always ask her sister for help if needed. 

Freshman Ira Kaur also feels like she can take on more than her current weighted class. Kaur is taking Honors Precalculus this year. Although she describes the class as fast-paced and her most challenging class, she still hopes to take more weighted classes as a sophomore. 

Although many students seem to have this attitude when it comes to weighted classes, Nguyen advises students to prioritize what classes they want to take based on their future interests, rather than just for a weighted grade.

Von Sosen and Islam decided to take their respective Calculus classes online after dropping the Calculus course at Cal. 

Islam said that she wanted to focus on extracurriculars for this semester, and wants to take Calculus next semester. She also says she believes the course will be easier for her by taking it through DVC.

Von Sosen said she was not prepared for the class. Instead, Von Sosen is learning AP Calculus BC through Brigham Young University’s online programs.  

“I feel like I can learn way better,” he said.