Selecting High School Courses
How to Select Your Courses:
You now have the freedom to choose
(some of) your courses. It is important
that you think about these courses as they aren't just going to
affect you for the next term or so. You need to think about down
the road and what you want to accomplish with your high-school
career in order to be able to do what you wish with your future.
Create a Solid Academic Portfolio
Your course schedule may seem like
a random selection of classes to you, but college admission officers
see it as the blueprint of your high school education. They're
looking for a solid foundation of learning that you can build
on in college.
Take at least five solid academic
classes every semester. The following subjects and classes are
standard fare for success in high school and beyond, whether you
plan to attend a 4-year, 2-year, or technical school.
English (Language Arts)
Take English every year. Traditional
courses such as American and English literature help you improve
your writing skills, reading comprehension, and vocabulary.
* and/or speech
You need algebra and geometry to
succeed on college entrance exams, in college math classes, and
in most careers. Take them early on and you'll be able to enroll
in advanced science and math in high school -- and you'll show
colleges you're ready for higher-level work.
* algebra II
* trigonometry and/or calculus
Science teaches you to think analytically,
and apply theories to reality. Laboratory classes let you test
what you've learned through hands-on work. Six semesters are recommended.
* two semesters in biology
* two semesters in chemistry and/or physics
* two semesters in earth/space sciences, advanced biology, advanced
chemistry, or physics
Understand local and world events
that are happening now by studying the culture and history that
has shaped them. Social sciences round out your core curriculum.
* two semesters in U.S. history
* one semester of U.S. government
* one semester in economics
* one semester in world history or geography
* one additional semester in the above or other areas
Solid foreign language study shows
colleges you're willing to stretch beyond the basics. Many colleges
require at least two years of foreign language study, and some
prefer more. In Canada - French is a very good language that is
necessary for most of your employment opportunities in the future.
Research indicates that students
who participate in the arts often do better in school and on standardized
tests. The arts help you recognize patterns, discern differences
and similarities, and exercise your mind in unique ways, oftentimes
outside of a traditional classroom setting.
More and more college courses and
jobs require at least a basic knowledge of computers. Computer
skills also can help you do research and schoolwork better and
If you're interested in a subject
that isn't offered at your school -- say, botany, economics, instrumental
music, etc. -- don't give up on your interest. Many schools allow
motivated students to pursue independent studies, often with a
teacher as an adviser. Most schools have rigorous standards for
independent study. Be sure to talk to a counselor or teacher to
find out if independent study is an option at your school, and
what requirements may exist.
Taking Time Off
Tips for College
College Essay &