A Guide to Choosing High School Electives

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This article contains tips or advice for those preparing to select high school elective courses.
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Choosing Your High School Electives

Many high schools allow students to choose their own electives so that they can shape their curricula to their own interests and future career goals. Students who are considering continuing their education through college or professional schools should pay special attention to what types of courses they select. If you have a specific university, college or school in mind, you should look over their admission requirements. Many of these higher education institutions prefer students to have a particular type or level of education. Here are some general guidelines for selecting electives wisely:

General Education

Some high schools are lenient with how many math, history and science courses that students need to take in order to graduate, though many have specific expectations in mind. According to the professionals at College Board (www.collegeboard.com), you should take at least five solid classes each semester or quarter. Here are the courses they recommend:

-English: Literature, Writing/Composition and Speech

-Math: Algebra I/II, Geometry, Trig/Pre-Calc and Calculus

-Science: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science and Space Science

-History: U.S. History, U.S. Government, Economics, World History and Geography

Many high schools require students to take English and history every year of their high school career. Math and science requirements usually vary with the high school. Students should take at least three years of math, but many other higher education schools prefer four years. They should also at least take three years of diverse sciences, such as biology, chemistry and physics.

Going Beyond

In order to apply to a college or a university, most students need to take at least two years of a foreign language. If one can take more than two years of foreign language without hurting your GPA, he or she should take three to four years instead. Some schools require an arts class as well. Taking at least one year of art can help you appear well rounded. Most schools prefer to admit students who have multiple talents and diverse perspectives or experiences.

Career Related

Students may also consider taking a professional career aptitude test, consider their own ambitions and research potential careers. It is wise to choose courses that will be useful to you down the line. Taking career applicable courses may also help you earn a place in the college major of your choice-particularly in those that are particularly competitive. Experience with the subject area may give one an edge.

AP Courses

When thinking about what other type of electives you would like to try, consider taking some advanced placement (AP) courses. The pace of these courses resembles college-level courses and they have a test at the end of the year that a student can take to receive college credit for the course.

College Courses

If you don't want to take AP courses but are interested in receiving college credit for courses you take in high school, ask your counselor about classes at a local community college. Many high schools give students high school credit for classes they take at a community or junior college. Often, these courses are also transferable to the college or university you attend after high school.

Hopefully, these tips can make choosing classes somewhat less stressful. Direct any additional questions to your counselor, who can help you understand college requirements.

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