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How to Choose Next Year's High School Classes

A male student holds his chin and looks off in introspection

You know your academic history is a big factor in whether or not you’ll get into your dream college. So, how can you choose the right classes that will impress admissions officers when it’s time to apply? With so many options available, it can be overwhelming. 

In this article, we'll guide you through the process of selecting your high school classes for the upcoming year. We'll provide you with valuable tips and insights to help you make informed decisions that align with your academic and career aspirations. Whether you're aiming for a specific major in college, exploring new subjects, or seeking a well-rounded education, we've got you covered.

Why you should choose your classes carefully

The classes you take can shape your academic and career trajectory. Certain subjects may be prerequisites for specific college majors or career paths. By strategically selecting your classes, you can save time and money on college tuition.

Your high school transcript also plays a significant role in college admissions. Admissions officers consider your grades and the rigor of your course load. So, taking challenging courses like advanced placement (AP) or honors classes can demonstrate your readiness for higher education.

Finally, high school is a time for personal growth and exploration. I often saw my students take a class that excited them and uncovered a passion they never knew. But if they hadn't tried the class- whether it was creative writing, biology, arts and media, or American literature, they wouldn't have found their future career. 

7 steps to choosing your high school classes

Now, let's dive into the steps to help you decide which high school classes you register for.

Consider your interests & goals

When choosing high school classes, it's vital to consider your personal interests and long-term career goals. Reflect on subjects you enjoy and the activities or hobbies that fulfill you. Identifying your interests in this way can help you choose classes that align with your passions and keep you motivated throughout the school year.

You should also think about your future career aspirations. If you have a clear career goal in mind, choose classes that will provide a solid foundation for that field of work. If you're unsure about your future career path, opt for diverse classes to keep your options open.

Research college admission requirements

You should also research the admission requirements of colleges you might be interested in. Different colleges have different expectations for their incoming students. Some may require specific courses or a certain number of years in a particular subject.

Meet with a guidance counselor

Your high school guidance counselor is a valuable resource when it comes to choosing your high school classes. They have extensive knowledge of graduation requirements and college admissions and can offer personalized guidance based on your interests and goals. 

Challenge yourself

One way to demonstrate your readiness for college-level work is by enrolling in advanced placement (AP) or honors classes. AP classes are college-level courses that allow you to earn college credits if you score well on the corresponding AP exams. Honors classes, on the other hand, offer a more rigorous curriculum than standard classes. You can also earn a GPA that's higher than a 4.0 when you take more challenging classes. 

Consider your strengths and interests when deciding whether to take these classes. They can provide a more in-depth understanding of a subject and enhance your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. However, these classes require dedication and commitment. Assess your ability to handle the workload and ensure it aligns with your overall goals.

Choose the right electives 

Electives are an excellent opportunity to explore subjects outside of the core curriculum. They allow you to delve into areas of interest and discover new passions. Consider taking electives that align with your career goals or allow you to explore new fields.

When choosing electives, balance subjects you enjoy and subjects that can complement your academic journey. For example, if you're interested in pursuing a career in the arts, consider taking visual arts or theater electives. If you're interested in the sciences, explore electives like biology or chemistry. Electives can add depth and variety to your high school experience while expanding your knowledge in different areas.

Balance your workload 

As we've already said, it's important to challenge yourself academically while maintaining a healthy balance between coursework and extracurricular activities. Participating in extracurricular activities can help you develop leadership skills, explore new interests, and connect with peers who share your passions. So, there is great value in exploring them along with your classes. 

But you'll need to make sure that your class schedule allows you to dedicate enough time to both your academic responsibilities and extracurricular pursuits. Striking a balance will ensure that you have a well-rounded high school experience and prevent burnout.

Ask for input from teachers & peers

Don't hesitate to seek input from good sources when deciding on your high school classes. Your teachers can provide valuable insights into their classes, expectations, and the skills you'll develop. They can also offer guidance based on their knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses.

Discussing your course options with your peers can provide a different perspective. They may have taken certain classes or have insights into specific teachers or assignments. Engage in conversations about course selections and gather different opinions to make an informed decision.

Keep things in perspective and adjust plans as needed

After considering all the factors discussed above, it's time to make your final decision regarding your high school classes. However, remember that your first-semester class schedule is not forever. Usually, you'll be able to change classes at the end of a semester.

As you progress through high school, you may discover new interests or realize that certain classes do not fit you. Be open to making adjustments along the way and take advantage of opportunities to explore new subjects or switch classes if needed.

Remember, your high school education is a journey of self-discovery and growth. Embrace the opportunity to challenge yourself, explore new subjects, and pave the way for a successful future.

To start researching colleges and admission requirements, create a free Appily account. Once you do, you can save schools you're interested in,  compare costs or tuition, application deadlines, and other essential data points. Just click the button below to get started. 

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