High School Advice: Choosing Classes in High School

August 23, 2015
Photo by Kevin Dooley via Flickr

High school classes and schedules can impact your academics in more ways than you might think. Between taking academically rigorous classes, balancing regular courses and Honors/AP classes, and making sure you can keep up with work, choosing your classes can be a difficult process. Read more about the experience and ways to figure out the best possibilities for yourself.

For rising juniors and seniors (and maybe even sophomores), choosing your classes and schedule can be very stressful and puts a lot of pressure on students. Many schools have the students consult with their counselors, but with thousands of students, it’s hard for the counselors to spend significant amounts of time with any one student.

Some schools have an Advanced Placement (AP) or an International Baccalaureate Program (IB) available for juniors and seniors. They are both very rigorous national programs and widely recognized by colleges, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best choice.  It is important to take rigorous courses in high school, as it will help you for college admissions and also later in college. However, putting too much on your plate makes it significantly harder to excel in these classes. Knowing your goals and limits is important in deciding what classes to take. For example, if you struggled in freshman Biology, an AP biology course may not be the best course of action. Not to say that you shouldn’t take a course you might really enjoy just because you won’t get an A. You should still challenge yourself, but finding the balance between challenge and success is key. Maybe take a rigorous course in a subject you already feel more comfortable in, if only to expand your knowledge. Or, if you are set on conquering AP biology, create a course of action and the rest of your schedule so you can focus your time and energy into the biology class.

IB students have much less choice in their schedule but there are still ways to make sure you are balancing your classes between challenging yourself and being in an environment you can succeed in. Many IB students may choose to take their required elective their second year of IB or fulfill other high school credit requirements early on, to ensure their schedule is not overwhelmingly full. Taking classes over summer to get ahead, such as a language or economy class, can also free up your schedule. Because all the courses in the International Baccalaureate program are meant to be rigorous, time management is the key to success. If you are contemplating this path, make sure you take the steps to get any extra little things out of the way. This way you won’t be overwhelmingly stressed about getting those last few P.E. credits at the end of your senior year or have to take an extra period both years to fill in all your classes.

It is also perfectly reasonable to take the regular courses offered by your school if that’s where you feel comfortably challenged. There are also options to take a combination of AP/IB/Honors/Regular courses. Research the options your school offers and make a plan on how to handle your schedule successfully in the coming years. Choosing your courses and schedules can be so important for your high school career.

Find this helpful? Let us know by leaving a comment below.



Browse Successful Application Files

rodmoretti
Princeton ‘19


Accepted to Columbia, GA Tech, Northwestern, Princeton, UGA

As a part of Princeton Class of 2019, I know how difficult the application process is...I got denied, accepted, and wait-listed to several places. Let me help you find your path to success!
Ryanh914
UNC ‘18


Accepted to American, Cornell, Northwestern, Florida, Ohio State, FSU, UNC

UNC '18 from Charlotte, NC.
lmelcher
Columbia ‘20


Accepted to Columbia, Brown, UPenn, Rice, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UVA, UC Davis, UCSD, UCSC, USC

Hey! I'm a John Jay Scholar at Columbia, and I'm from Los Angeles. I'm planning to major in Art History and do ballet and theater. Hope I can help!
aebrennen
UNC ‘18


Accepted to Yale, UPenn, Davidson, UNC, UMich, Emory, Northwestern, Wake Forest, UVA, UKentucky, William & Mary, Miami OH, Vanderbilt

Passionate about education from the great state of Kentucky.

New Posts

10 Things You'll Probably Need in College
10 Things You’ll Probably Need in College
April 19, 2018

Not sure what you need in college? We got your back. We hope you love the products listed here! Just FYI, AdmitSee may collect a share of sales from the links on this page.1. Bedside...

“Take Your Pills”: When Your Best is Not Enough
“Take Your Pills”: When Your Best is Not Enough
April 12, 2018

Netflix’s recent documentary “Take Your Pills” provides another look into the epidemic of over-medication and the overuse of ADD/ADHD drugs to enhance performance. The synopsis for the film is this: In America...

Reviewing Your Aid Offer: Which Should You Accept?
Reviewing Your Aid Offer: Which Should You Accept?
April 11, 2018

As the early excitement of getting into college settles down, you’re faced with important decisions. Along with your acceptances, hopefully, you were also awarded aid offers. Aid offers can come in a lot of...

Rewards for Studying Hard: Merit Scholarships
Rewards for Studying Hard: Merit Scholarships
April 09, 2018

Ever question why you are working so hard? Why you’re in the library studying rather playing video games? If you’re having any doubts about studying hard, remember that they can pay off in...

Load More Posts