Choosing High School Courses: What You Really Need to Think About

High school offers various courses which are all under different categories. To read more about these different categories, visit our previous post.

There’s several reasons why deciding which classes to take, in high school, can be complicated. The first reason that we covered is students do not know about all the different types of classes that are offered. In this post, we want to encourage students to also consider the specific path they are working towards. Every student has different goals that they wish to achieve with their education and there are specific paths each student can take to achieve these goals. Having an idea of what a student wants to do with their education is very helpful in determining what classes are the most convenient to take. Unfortunately, most students end up taking classes without having a specific reason as to why it would benefit their personal education goals. Every single class taken should have a purpose whether it be to fulfill a credit, explore a field that seems interesting, or advance knowledge in the student’s desired career. Finding what classes will be the most convenient to take can be a struggle at first, but there is one question that students can ask themselves to make this task easier.

As a student, which do you prioritize when it comes to your education: saving time or receiving a quality education? 

Answering this question will help guide the student’s course schedule in high school and even college course schedule. There exists a perfect balance, unique to each student, between receiving a quality education and being efficient with time. Let’s begin by discussing both extremes of the spectrum.

If the student prefers to save time and wants to go to school purely for a degree, then they should consider sitting with a school counselor to find a way to complete all the required credits in the least amount of time possible.

  • With this, some students are able to graduate from high school in three years instead of four.
  • Others leave high school, and instead, study for the General Educational Development (GED) Test which gives certification valued the same as a high school diploma.
  • Other students transfer to a local college to finish their last two years of high school. In those two years, students are able to receive their high school diploma AND an Associate’s degree which essentially covers the first half of college.
  • Within high school, students can take Advanced Placement (AP) courses which can give college credit. However, these credits are usually accepted by “in-state universities” or public universities that are in the same state as the student. *Students who take lots of AP courses and go to a university that is outside their state may not have many credits accepted. Each college/university has its own system for accepting credits on their website.

There are many class options to consider:

  • Regular Classes
  • Honors Classes
  • AP Classes
  • AICE Classes
  • IB Classes
  • Dual Enrollment Classes at a local University (Check with school counselor for all the specific requirements.)
  • AP Classes on Florida Virtual School (FLVS)
  • Full-time Dual Enrollment Program at a local University during the last two years of high school.
    • Miami Dade College offers (SAS) the School for Advanced Studies
    • FIU offers (AAA) the Academy for Advanced Academics
      • It saves you two whole years!

If the student prefers a quality education, even if it means being in school longer, they should consider creating a balanced schedule to make sure their schedule is not overloaded.

In this case, consistency, rather than quantity, is key to gaining the most out of every class.

As a student, consider what general career path you wish to pursue and start thinking about what courses are offered at your school that apply to your desired career.

The good news: If impressing colleges is a concern of yours, a college will notice that you show interest in a particular field when your transcript (list of classes taken) shows consistency in the type of courses you take.

Focus on only taking as many courses as you can handle while still learning.

Take classes that interest you even if they don’t count as a college credit because at the end of the day, your goal was to learn.

There are many class options to consider:

  • Regular Classes
  • Honors classes
  • AP Classes
  • IB Classes 
  • AICE Classes
  • Dual Enrollment classes at a local University (Check with school counselor for all the specific requirements.) 
  • FLVS classes

Most of us want a well-rounded education, but also want to save time when possible:

Here is where I suggest taking the strategies of both extremes to find your perfect balance.

My freshman year, I organized a meeting with my counselor and parents to see what opportunities were being offered at my school and how I could take advantage of them fully. My counselor was extremely helpful and gave me a chart to plan what my next four years would look like. Based on the classes offered at my school, my general career interest, and how hard I was willing to work, we came up with the perfect schedule for me. Throughout high school, I have followed that structure and am glad I did. 

If you feel that you are not completely sure of all the opportunities being offered to you, please visit your counselors. That is what they are there for!

Regardless of what you answered to my question, I advice everyone to challenge themselves. For some students, this means taking more difficult courses. For others, this means stepping back and trying not to overwhelm themselves.

Every student is different and I cannot stress how important it is for you to sit down and take the time to understand your goals and base your decisions off these goals. 

The School Bell Blog wishes you good luck!

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*The School Bell Blog is not associated with any other programs mentioned. This blog serves as a resource of information that may or may not apply to the readers and it is up to each individual reader to verify the information on their own. For verification on what opportunities are available to you and for formal help, please see your school counselors. The School Bell Blog encourages everyone to do their own research before taking the information stated here as fact. Thank you.

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