How to Choose Next Year's Classes

In High School Life on Apr 12, 2016

You know your academic history is a big factor in whether or not you’ll get into your dream school. So how can you choose classes that are bound to impress admissions officers when it’s time to apply for college? Here are a few strategies to ensure your schedule works to your benefit once it’s time to send off those college applications.

Challenge Yourself
College admissions professionals want to see students who aren’t afraid of some hard work. Don’t just coast through on the easiest classes you can find; take some challenging courses that will show you’re willing to push yourself academically. Ask your counselor about Advanced Placement or honors classes that could be a good fit for you and sign up if you’re willing to put in the hard work they require.

…But Don’t Overdo It
Some students get caught up in AP or honors mania and it doesn’t necessarily work to their advantage. Taking every single advanced class your high school offers isn’t the best idea for everyone. Too many difficult courses and time-consuming homework assignments can be really stressful and cause your grades to slip. The last thing you want to do is get poor grades in most of your classes because you can’t keep up with all the work. Start with one or two challenging classes and if you can handle more, see what you can sign up for next year or next semester.

Branch Out
Most high schools have certain requirements you’ll need to meet to graduate, but there’s usually a little room for you to customize your schedule and sign up for classes that might be entirely new to you. If you’re not sure what you want to major in, take a few courses outside your comfort zone and see what else interests you. You may find a new hobby taking an art class or realize you have an aptitude for foreign languages after taking Spanish.

…But Leave Room for Your Passions
If you absolutely love writing or math, there’s no harm in keeping an English or stats class on your schedule. Don’t feel forced to try something new if you’re 100\% certain you’d love another class in an area that fascinates you. Some colleges will appreciate that you’ve developed such an interest and expertise in a particular area, particularly if you want to continue studying this subject as an undergrad. You may even qualify to earn a scholarship based on your longstanding interest in a certain topic!

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