Choosing your classes is an exciting part of the high school experience. While most high schools require you to take specific courses to graduate, you can also pick classes based on your interests, passions, and goals.
If you’re planning on attending a university or college, you’ll need to choose classes based on that school’s admissions requirements. If you’re planning on attending a trade school or getting a job right after high school, it’s better to choose classes that will help you succeed in that specific career.
Don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what you want to do right now. Just choose a few classes that sound interesting. You can always narrow down your interests over the next few years.
Still unsure which classes to choose? Here are five tips that will help you choose your high school classes.
1. Think about your interests and match them to a class.
What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a great question to ask yourself, especially when it’s time to pick your classes. Most students take math, English, and science classes during their first few years of high school. But, many schools also offer electives to supplement those classes. Choose those classes based on your interests, curiosity, and hobbies. Do you enjoy art? Consider taking painting, drawing, or even a theater class. Do you like animals? You may enjoy an animal behavior or anatomy class. Electives balance your class schedule, giving you the opportunity to explore your interests.
2. If you’re considering college, think about taking advanced classes.
Colleges love to see that you are challenging yourself and taking harder classes. Advanced classes might include Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or dual enrollment. You can typically take these classes starting in your sophomore year. Another way to stand out to a college admissions team is to take four years of the core subjects (English, math, science, social studies, and world language). Colleges usually rate students higher when they go above and beyond the minimum high school requirements.
3. Prioritize your mental health. (You don’t have to take every hard class.)
Don’t sacrifice your mental health or extracurricular activities because you think you need to add one more tough class to your schedule. Your outside commitments, family, part-time work, and hobbies still matter. It’s better to do well in one or two AP classes than poorly in three or four. High school stress and anxiety can be difficult, so it’s important you take care of yourself first.
4. Choose a few classes that sound fun!
It’s ok to take a few classes that just sound fun! Most high schools offer lots of extracurriculars like music, creative writing, painting, woodworking, and acting. These classes allow you to take a break from your regular classes and explore unique subjects or skills. Who knows? One of these classes might even help you figure out your future career!
5. Check in with your school counselor often.
School counselors have many roles. They can pull up your transcripts and make sure you’re registered for the classes you need to graduate. Counselors help you choose classes that make sense for you and find a time in your schedule to make them work. They’re also a great resource as you explore AP courses, colleges, trade schools, and careers. Get to know your counselor and check in with them often!
You’ve officially entered a new phase of your education. You have more control over your classes and can choose courses that fit your interests and goals. Remember to check in with your school counselor, take care of yourself, and enjoy the ride!