Guest Blogger Jessica Fowle, Independent College Counselor:
High School Curriculum Planning
Even though the current school year is still in full swing, believe it or not, it’s time to start thinking about what next fall will bring. No matter where you are in your high school journey, take a moment to evaluate where you are right now, and what your academic goals are going forward. Below you will find some tips from yours truly based on your current grade. If you have questions specific to your interests, skills, or situation, please get in touch; I would love to help you strategize your next steps!
Congrats, you do NOT have to worry about next year’s course schedule yet! You will register over the summer for your college classes. What DO you have to worry about??? Combatting senioritis! Don’t laugh; this is a serious condition! Keep those grades up. The college you plan to attend in the fall will review your final transcript, and it is their purview to change your scholarship or even in some circumstances revoke your admission. Have fun and enjoy the last few months of your high school career, but don’t forget about those grades!
Ok, it’s time to FOCUS!! Keep your senior year curriculum strong. Did you up your game with your class rigor this year? Continue that momentum into your senior year. Unless you really struggled in your classes this year, you should match or exceed the rigor of your junior year in the 12th grade. For example, if you are taking 2 Advanced Placement classes this year, next year you should take at least 2 more Advanced Placement courses and think about adding another. Colleges like to see (and some require) that you have taken four years of either math or science, preferably both.
I know, I know, you say, “But Jess, I want to have FUN during my senior year! It’s my last year of high school!” Good point, for sure, and I agree. You should make sure to have time to enjoy your senior year and immerse yourself in all those awesome traditions that mark the end of your K-12 career. However, this should not come at the expense of preparing yourself for an awesome college experience! Keep up the challenge level in your senior year courses, and it will not only look great on your college applications, but it will make your academic transition to those classes in college so much smoother.
Next year you are officially going to be an upperclassman at your high school. This comes with great opportunities to challenge yourself as a student and a leader. The junior year of high school is the last complete year of grades that colleges see when you apply to them, so it is important that you choose courses that are challenging (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or Dual Enrollment), particularly in subject areas of particular strength or interest. Most selective colleges want to see a third year of foreign language, so make sure to fit that into your schedule if that type of higher education path is part of your goals.
It’s time to take stock of how your first year of high school went. What classes came easily to you? Which ones were challenging? Are there areas you think you want to focus more on? Sophomore year is a great opportunity to step up into honors level courses, and some schools will offer limited Advanced Placement coursework opportunities. If you go to a school that offers the International Baccalaureate diploma program and you are thinking about doing it, now is the time to make sure you’re getting those pre-requisite courses in. Continue on the path to keeping the option open to complete four full years each of math, science, social studies, and foreign language; you’re not committing to doing that at this point, but keeping the option open.
Current Eight Graders
I know, I know, it’s crazy to be thinking anything about preparing for college! You’re not even in high school yet!! However, making sure that you are starting your high school career right is essential to making the next four years run smoothly. Make sure you talk with your counselor about starting on the Honors track in the areas that match your abilities. Start a foreign language in 9th grade if you have not already. If you are currently taking a foreign language and/or Algebra 1, talk with your counselor about making sure you are placed in the appropriate course level for your skills in high school.
I hope this is helpful food for thought!
Follow Jessica on Instagram.
Follow Jessica on Twitter.
Follow Jessica on Facebook.
Check out her website.
Share this story