In my opinion this has also extended into the areas of sports, dance, music, etc. to the point that some people think that if you are not participating you must not be serious about your participation.
Are some parents putting too much pressure on their kids? I think so. It’s clear that Advanced Placement does have a place for those who have been given a gift of talent. However AP is not a place where you can be expected to acquire the talent through brute force. In the end kids become adults and it’s more than just AP elitism that transforms them into functional adults. Just because you are on a travel chess team does not mean you will become the next Bobby Fischer. There’s something to be said about being normal and being raised as normal.
Each one of these people had their own road to success that didn’t involve an expectation that AP would help get them there. Albert Einstein believe it or not had a difficult time in school and getting employment before he broke out and changed the scientific world.
So taking the normal college prep route in high school doesn’t mean your not destined to become a successful musician, doctor, biologist, lawyer, engineer, etc. A lot of it has to do with attributes not found in any AP course…