Plan Ahead on High School Course Selections

By Lea on January 30, 2024 0 Comments

Colleges look very closely at what courses you take and how well you do in those courses. This is because they know that a student’s high school grade point average (GPA) is a strong predictor of success and persistence in college.

Staying competitive for a wide range of colleges means most high school students will take math, science, English, history/social science and a foreign language each year – the five core academic subject areas.

While it can vary a bit by school, you usually have only a short window of time to review and select the courses you want to take in the next school year. Most often, course selection takes place in February, but it can be earlier, so don’t get caught off guard.

Start thinking early about what to take. You need time to consider your full range of options and to think about what course progression makes sense given your strengths, interests, and future dreams.

Do I take Environmental Science or Biology? AP Calculus or AP Statistics? A fourth year of language or a new elective? How many AP or IB courses are enough for me?

The decision on what courses to take requires balancing the need to meet future pragmatic requirements with what will fire your passions and inspire you toward intellectual and personal discovery.

Elective courses in senior year are a great opportunity to pursue subjects related to a college major you are interested in. Students hoping to major in Engineering should be looking to take AP Physics and the highest level math course available to them. Business majors are usually required to take Calculus in college, so having the opportunity to learn it first in high school often makes sense. And if you’d love to do some creative writing but can’t fit it into your schedule, consider taking a summer writing course or enrolling in a community college course to expand your horizons and meet a whole new set of students.

As you take the next step, consider the recommendations offered below. Being informed means you can make great choices that make sense for YOU. 

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