Should you take AP classes?
My project is how AP/honor classes affect future happiness. I am interested in the topic because I am very curious to see if it’s worth it to take AP classes. I personally take a lot of AP classes, but I also take a lot of regular classes so I know how both feel. But, I want to see the long term affects. The thought here is to see the tradeoff between long term and short term happiness. To see the effect of delayed gratification that many people see and practice in today's world. A great example of delayed gratification is doctors. They go through years and years of school to finally get a job in their mid thirties. They are delaying their happiness, because they are presumably unhappy in those years of school, and then when they get their job they get a lot of money and hours are usually good so they are happy then. In this example, AP, or advanced placement, courses offer college-level curriculum that are meant to really challenge the students. These courses are notorious for an intense workload, a high understanding of the material, and its 3 hour long test at the end of the year that determines if you can get college credit for taking the class. That is really important because a student can put their AP test score on their resumes that they send to colleges. It gives them a headstart in college because they have already earned credit for the course if they scored above a certain margin, and it can just get them into a better college outright. So the students are delaying their gratification, by taking under the stress and heavy course load to get into a better college to possibly earn more money or just be happier in general.
This is important because studies have shown that students taking more AP classes experience significantly more stress and are much more mentally unhealthy than students in regular classes. The students in regular classes are also happier in their life up to that point compared to students in AP classes. My goal is to measure if that trend of happiness remains the same later in life or if the AP students will be happier. . So this study aims to find a happy medium and to see what's best for mental health.
Now, I have not yet collected data on this project, but I am very close. I plan on distributing a survey and asking various base questions like high school GPA, annual income, number of AP courses enrolled in, etc. Then, I will ask questions that will be using a likert scale, which means there will be a question then there will be 5 options like strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree. Questions like, I am happy in my life. I am happier now than I was 10 years ago. Or, if I could, I would change the academic mindset I had in high school. This survey will be sent out to anyone out of high school. They must have a high school degree to take the survey but do not need to attend college.