Ojai Valley School produced a record number of AP Scholars last year, with 25 students being recognized by the College Board at the start of this school year for their excellent performance on those rigorous exams.
Of the OVS students who earned recognition, three students — current seniors Mark Pindur and Ethan Gao, and OVS graduate and current UCLA freshman Aaron Wolf — earned the College Board’s highest honor for the AP exams, as they were named National AP Scholars.
National AP Scholar recognition is granted to students who receive an average score of at least 4 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of the exams throughout their high school careers.
Mark Pindur, who serves as student body president at the Upper Campus this year, has demonstrated an extensive investment in the Advanced Placement program, having taken AP courses since his sophomore year.
“There is a lot of hard work that is put into preparing for those exams,” Mark said of his own preparation and that of his fellow students. “It shows how academically motivated and dedicated we are as a community and how we are willing to put in hard work and effort to follow our passions.”
Each year a fair number of gutsy students enter onto the path of Advanced Placement courses.
The students who choose to go into these courses are taking an extra step towards bettering their education and preparing for college. At the end of the AP courses the students are required to take AP exams, which are not only difficult but extremely stressful.
AP exams are scored on a scale of 1 through 5, and students who earn a 3 or above pass the exam.
The College Board has created a recognition system for students who conquer multiple AP exams.
Of students who took the exams last year, recent graduates Olivia Brown, Jolene Fan, Carter Hsu, Stephany Nostrant, Mark Sun, Sebastian Wayman-Dalo, Gary Zhou, along with current seniors Adam Pepper-Macias and James Choi, received the title of AP Scholar for earning scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams.
In addition, recent graduate Caspian Ellis, former OVS student Mulan Ma and current seniors Sydnee Rousseau, Bella Slosberg and Gabe Weisiger were recognized as AP Scholars with Honor for receiving an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of the exams.
Finally, recent graduates Thomas Christopher, Avery Colborn, Siyu Lai, and Angela Qu — as well as current seniors Chloe Warren, Jocelyn Gonzalez, Oliver Chen and Bob Chen — received the title of AP Scholar with Distinction for earning average scores of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.
The number of AP Scholars at OVS has risen steadily in recent years, going from just 10 in 2016 to 25 last year.
One of the reasons for that rise is that AP offerings at the Upper Campus OVS have grown considerably over the past decade. In the 2012-2013 academic year, OVS offered just 16 AP and honors courses compared to 25 of those courses in the 2019-2020 academic year.
More AP offerings have resulted in a steady increase in the number of students taking those exams.
“In a school of 110 students, we typically have between 55 to 65 students taking exams,” said Assistant Head of School Laurel Colborn, the school’s academic director.
The AP exams allow students to display their intellectual power while also demonstrating their determination.
Possessing these AP Scholar titles makes a student stand out in the college application process because it shows that the student is dedicated and going above and beyond basic requirements, according to Mrs. Colborn.
Moreover, being awarded one of the AP Scholar titles is very impressive, because most students who take AP exams do not achieve that status.
Beyond the pride students get from completing these exams with such high marks, doing well on the AP exam can earn placement into more advanced classes when students embark on their college careers. This could potentially mean that students can skip introductory courses in college, allowing for a more open schedule or opportunity for other classes.
Furthermore, according to the College Board, AP exams are designed to allow students to earn college credit before they even step foot on a college campus, which can save money and time.
“I am always impressed with our students, and with the number of kids that challenge themselves by taking an AP level course,” Mrs. Colborn said. “And when you look at the AP Scholar’s list it’s even more impressive, because to be named an AP scholar you have to perform at a level 3 or higher.”