High school counselors will soon be requesting your course selections for next year. Be prepared. The most important advice is for students to take the most rigorous class schedule that is appropriate for them. Keep in mind colleges look at course selection and rigor for all four years including your senior year as part of their holistic review of your application. So taking academically rich courses is a must for college-bound students.
In addition to your school’s basic graduation requirements, colleges look for you to exceed in the core subjects. A strong candidate for a wide range of selective institutions would take: four years of English and Math, three or four years of science, foreign language, and social science.
Just because a class is designated an AP course does not necessarily mean it is more difficult. Whether it’s an AP class or regular class, teachers design their own criteria for the type of assignments and grading. AP curriculum comes from The College Board and non-AP courses are designed with input and guidance from their district standards. Before deciding on your course list for next year ask for recommendations, from peers, current teachers, and your counselor. Keep in mind highly selective universities expect students have on average, seven or more AP classes and only applies to students whose schools offer AP courses.
If in doubt, request an appointment with a member of The College Crew for a college and academic planning meeting.
Amanda Hirko, Hirko Consulting, San Diego
Ellen Gaddie, Simply College Prep, South Orange County
Susan Monken, CollegeUntangled, North Coastal San Diego