Choosing high school courses can be an important decision that can significantly impact your future academic and career goals. Here are some steps you can take to help you choose appropriate high school courses:
Most high schools publish an annual course guide. The 2023-2024 Course Selection Guide published by Spanish River High School in Boca Raton, Florida, is a detailed and comprehensive example that provides information about graduation requirements and academic offerings.
Research graduation requirements and courses available at your school: Check with your high school counselor or school website to understand the graduation requirements in your state and school district. This will give you a good idea of the basic courses you need to take to graduate.
Consider your interests and strengths: Consider the subjects that interest you the most and the ones you feel most confident in. Consider the classes you’ve enjoyed in the past and the ones you have excelled in.
Evaluate your post-high school plans: Think about your future career goals and the types of colleges or universities you may want to attend. Research the admission requirements and recommended high school courses for those schools and careers.
Challenge yourself: Consider taking challenging courses, such as Advanced Placement (AP) or Honors classes, where you can be successful. Doing well in rigorous courses can help you stand out to colleges and universities and help prepare you for college-level work. Selective colleges look for applicants who have taken challenging courses in high school. This means taking Honors, Advanced Placement (AP), AICE, or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available at your school. These courses not only show that you are willing to take on academic challenges but also prepare you for college-level work.
Balance your schedule: Be sure to balance your schedule with a mix of core classes (like math, science, and English), electives (like art or music), and any required courses for graduation.
Consult with your school counselor: Your school counselor can help you understand your options and make informed decisions about your high school courses. They can also help you map out your academic path and make sure you meet graduation and college requirements.
Remember, while taking the right high school courses is important, it’s not the only factor that colleges consider in the admissions process. They also look at your extracurricular activities, test scores, essays, and other factors. By taking challenging courses, maintaining good grades, and pursuing your interests outside of the classroom, you can become a competitive applicant to selective colleges.