One of the most important things to keep in mind that will steer you in the right direction is your goal for life after high school.
If you’re thinking about college, keep in mind that admissions officers like to see an increase in difficulty each year. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that they all expect you to take the hardest classes offered at your school.
If you’re not applying to college or you’re still formulating a plan, take the opportunity to explore your interests and expand your horizons. Once you find your niche or interest area, consider taking more advanced or harder classes each year to challenge yourself in subjects that you enjoy and want to enhance your skills in.
Here are some other tips to keep in mind as you select your courses:
- Make sure you meet WHS graduation requirements.
- Choose a smart range of college-prep courses. You don't have to take AP everything to get into college. Challenge yourself within your own limits.
- Don’t overload yourself. Be mindful of the schoolwork load you should expect from each class, as well as the extracurriculars that you’re involved in throughout the school year. Taking a ton of pre-AP or AP classes is easier when you don't have as many commitments outside of school because you have more time to devote to them.
- Pursue your intellectual interests. Don't let your interests be shadowed by all of the classes that you think you "should" take.
- Always have a back-up plan. Selecting high school courses can be competitive and stressful so it's important to be flexible. If your first draft of class selections doesn’t work out, use plan B! Or C. Or D.
- Consult with academic counselors and teachers on what courses you should consider. That’s what they're here for! They can provide insight on which courses you should consider, as well as how to balance schoolwork with extracurricular activities. Academic counselors will also work to ensure that you're meeting all of your requirements.
- Seniors, stay away from Senioritis! It’s a real thing, y’all. Many admissions offices check on applicants’ senior year grades and performance before offering admission. In some worst case scenarios, colleges rescind an acceptance if a student didn’t perform well during their senior year.
If you're thinking about college, take a moment to read this article by Yale for advice on selecting high school courses.
Also take a look at this article by International College Counselors for more tips about selecting high school courses and how your chosen classes impact your chances at admission. One of the most important aspects to consider is that colleges want to see growth and improvement, not just high-achieving grades. "Colleges take ‘extra effort’ to be a good sign that a student will do the same at their school."
• Freshmen took an average of .31 AP-weighted courses
• Sophomores took an average of 1.09 AP-weighted courses
• Juniors took an average of 2.84 AP-weighted courses
• Seniors took an average of 3.03 AP-weighted courses