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How to Choose High School Classes for Next Year

August 8, 2013

Choosing classes can be stressful.  You need to figure out what classes you are required to take for the upcoming year. Here are 8 tips that can help you choose your classes:

  • Check out requirements
    • All schools require a certain number of core classes to fulfill their graduation requirements.
      • Core classes: Math, Science, English, History, Gym, Health, World Language (Spanish, French, Mandarin, etc.)
    • Make an appointment to meet with your guidance counselor to see which classes you are required to take for the upcoming year.
    • Also, it is a good idea to make a general map of the classes you have taken and the classes you need to take to make sure you can graduate on time.
  • Ask your teacher for class recommendations
    • If your school has different level classes such as, standard, advanced, honors, and Advanced Placement (AP), talk to your teacher to see which level would be best for you.
    • Try challenging yourself by taking an advanced, honors or AP class (with your teacher’s approval).
      • Colleges like to see these higher level classes on incoming freshman transcripts.
      • Often times the school or the department will suggest a specific pre-requisite class or indicate that a department head’s approval is needed in order to register for a class.
  • Do not overwork yourself
    • There is no need for you to take 6 AP classes in one year of high school; balance your time and your classes.
    • Yes, colleges like seeing students challenge themselves in higher level classes, but they do not like to see low grades in those classes.
      • Take 1 or 2 AP or honors level classes and balance those out with a couple easier classes so that you do not feel overwhelmed with homework.
  • Start thinking about college
    • If you are approaching your senior year, you should take into consideration what you want to study in college.
      • i.e. if you are looking into STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) majors, you should sign up to take challenging math or science classes.
    • Keep AP classes in mind.
      • If you score high enough on the AP exam you will receive college credit for that class.
        • i.e. if you take AP Spanish and pass the exam, you may receive 3 credit hours in the equivalent college class. (ex: AP Spanish=Spanish 101)
        • The only institution that can give you credit for an AP exam score is the receiving college or university.
          • Every higher education institution has its own requirements and standards for issuing college credit.
  • Ask around
    • Ask your peers about classes that you are considering.
      • Getting feedback from your peers can help you decide whether or not to take a certain class.
    • Find out which classes have the best teachers and what classes your friends are taking as well.
  • Pick electives
    • After signing up for your required classes, you may have some room open in your schedule to take elective classes (classes that are not required to graduate).
    • These fun classes can brighten up a boring schedule.
      • Class examples: interior design, graphic design I, creative writing, etc.
    • If you are not sure about which electives to take, ask around!
  • Talk to your parents
    • Even though it is your schedule, it is always good to talk about what you are taking with your parents in order to get their input.
      • Your parents may also have ideas about classes that you may not have considered.
    • If your parents are pushing you to take more challenging classes and you do not want to, make an appointment with your guidance counselor and get his/her opinion.
  • Talk to your friends….but do not rely on their decisions
    • Having a friend in class is great.
      • This gives you a ‘study buddy’ for exams and someone to go to if you are having trouble with homework assignments.
    • Do not take a class only because your friend is in it; take a class that interests you!
      • You can always see your friends in the hallway and at lunch.
Courtesy of CollegeDegrees360

Courtesy of CollegeDegrees360



Orenstein, H. (2013). How to Choose High School Classes for Next Year. Her Campus.  Retrieved from

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