Choosing the Right High School Courses
It’s back-to-school time, and you’ve probably planned out all your classes for the coming year. Course selection is usually done in the spring, allowing students to sign up for mandatory courses as well as choose some electives. Though course selection for the current year is likely now over, you might want to have another look at your timetable to make sure you’ve really made the right choices. Here are some tips to make sure your schedule measures up—and if it’s too late to make changes, you can take these helpful hints into account in the springtime.
The majority of high school programs require certain credits in order to graduate. Generally speaking, for schools in Ontario, grades 9 and 10 have lots of mandatory courses (like Geography, French, or Civics and Careers). But once you get to grades 11 and 12, you’re given the freedom to play with your schedule a little bit; usually, the required courses at these levels are only English and Math. Of course, this doesn’t mean the rest of the classes you take in these years aren’t worth it! Oftentimes it’s the electives you choose, and not your required courses, that actually hold the most merit.
When selecting courses, keep in mind that many post-secondary programs have high school prerequisites. In order to even be eligible for programs like sciences, math, or business, you have to have the courses they specify on your high school transcript. (It wouldn’t make sense, for instance, if you wanted to specialize in Biology, but you’d never actually taken a Biology course in high school.)
You don’t have to know what you’re going to do with your life in order to choose courses in high school. But keep your options open, especially if you’re going into upper years. Check out a couple of post-secondary programs online, and see what kind of prerequisites you’d need in order to apply. If there’s a field you’ve really set your heart on, make sure you choose those required courses so you have a fair shot.
That being said, your schedule doesn’t have to be all work and no play. High school, and wonderfully so, allows you to take what you’re interested in—even if you don’t want to pursue a career in that field. Don’t be afraid to try something new to complement your post-secondary prerequisites. If you’re interested in visual arts, computers, or even cooking, there might be a class out there for you.
Course selection can be stressful for any student, but if you find a balance between what you like and what you’ll need, you’re going to wind up having a blast in the coming year. If you’re having misgivings about the courses you selected for this year, it may not be too late to switch things up. And it’s definitely worth your time to start thinking about what you’ll be doing come next fall. If you have more questions about course selection, you should see your school’s guidance counselor.