On paper, the School for Advanced Studies offers an excellent and challenging curriculum, and with its dual-enrollment program, a massive variety of classes to choose from. I can’t explain how exhilarating it is to be able to actually take classes that interest me. Suddenly, I was this student that would wake up looking forward to go to school, and that just doesn’t happen to high school students. I checked with other students. But it was what SAS taught outside of the classroom, what was not written in the curriculum, that made it stand far above any other program: common sense and practicality. At my old school, we were assigned classes, and we were soldiered between them as quickly as possible. School functions were the brain-children of the faculty and never the students, and we were simply told what the decision on a matter was, not how to go about making one. At SAS, decision-making is practically part of the lesson plan. For the college, students are allowed to choose their classes, and it is their responsibility to attend them, their responsibility to learn the information, and their responsibility to remember when the deadlines for papers or projects are. On the other hand, the high school teachers at SAS are very warm and friendly, do as much as they can to help students learn the material, and are always available for tutoring, or simply for a chat. I hate to sound clichéd, but SAS really does have a “best of both worlds” approach to academics, easing its students into the rigors of college life. In short, any magnet school can provide a challenging curriculum to its students, but it is SAS that encourages growth as a responsible and pragmatic individual.
I had my doubts, before coming to SAS, as to whether it was the right choice for me. I feared that the workload would be too much, that I wouldn’t have a social life outside of school walls. My anxieties weren’t exactly quelled by the 10 p.m. Facebook posts by SAS students that read “Only 4 more research papers to go.” I made the decision to go, though, and I can say truthfully that I have never looked back.
School for Advanced Studies, Class of 2012
University of Alabama, Class of 2016