5 tips for course selection

Lauren Kriss

Couse selection sheets. We obsess over them, we agonize over them, we let them keep us up at night.  It seems like the future revolves around them. It’s a constant struggle, trying to decide how hard we should push ourselves and often advice about course selection is conflicting. So what do you do?

  1. Be realistic. Any teacher and administrator will tell you that advanced classes are better, but not necessary in a large quantity. “It’s completely and totally depends on the individual,” AP biology teacher Brent Grissom said. “It’s not a perfect formula.” In other words, don’t torture yourself with expectations you can’t meet!
  2. The grade isn’t everything. Getting a B in an advanced class versus an A in a regular class is okay. Potential colleges want to see you strive not just content yourself with classes that are super easy, even if your average is an A+.  Another bonus to AP classes is a leg up in college. “The experience of an AP class provides academic skills that stretch beyond high school,” Transition Coordinator Mitzi Powell said. And don’t forget the 1.0 GPA bump!
  3. Explore your interests. Some students think that electives are not important, but they are. Your elective choices say a lot about you. Colleges want to see you striving for something you’re passionate about. “[Take] classes that give you the opportunity for leadership,” Grissom said.
  4. Use time effectively. Contrary to popular belief, off periods are not just for sleeping. Off periods should be used to help manage other class work, according to Powell. “If you have a full academic schedule or if you have to work to either help your family or save for college.” Lead Counselor Lisa Semper agrees. “If a student feels like they have challenged themselves,” Semper said. “I’m fine with it.”
  5. Be flexible. You don’t need to have your entire life planned out by the end of freshman year. Your interests and aspirations will change, and that’s okay. Don’t deprive yourself of the opportunity to explore new things because you’re trying to stick to your four-year plan. The thing that matters most is that you set high expectations for yourself in whatever you do, according to Grissom.