Different high school's have different academic requirements requirements for
graduating. Some require 4 years of PE while some only require 2. We won't
quibble about the minimum amount of work you need to do to graduate. Our
suggested list of high school course work is designed with college in mind. If a
college sees that you were willing to go above and beyond established
requirements in high school that will tell them something more important than
your GPA. It will tell them that you have the diligence to take on a difficult
task and see it through to completion. Our recommendations are general
recommendations. You may want to customize your electives based on which areas
of study interest you more. An engineering student may not be interested in
taking an elective in poetry but a writer might.
English - 4 years
- Basic Composition & Grammar
- American literature
- English literature
- World literature
The ability to write well is more important than being able to appreciate
good literature. While we recommend that you take the traditional literature
courses you must make sure that your writing bases are covered. If you feel you
need an in-depth writing course go ahead and "sacrifice" taking that
English Lit. course in 11th grade.
Mathematics - 4 years
- Algebra I
- Algebra II
You will notice that we've listed six courses here. That's not because we
expect you to take Pre-Calculus and Calculus at the same time. Some people take
Algebra I and sometimes II in middle school so they would get up to Calculus
doing one course a year. Remember you can never have too much math! You may
think you'll never use it. Maybe you won't use it, but you'll certainly
appreciate getting admitted into the college of your choice. Colleges recognize
the value of taking higher math beyond basic algebra and reward those who had
the gumption to stick with it.
Laboratory Science - 3 years
- Earth Science
Choose from the above list. I'm sure your school has many courses in addition
to these. Look through your school's course list and talk to your school
counselor about which courses will be best for you.
Foreign Language - 2 to 3 years (of the same language)
- Any other language your school offers and that interests you.
You will learn more about English and grammar by taking a foreign language
than you ever did taking English 101. Tenses, conjugations, verbs, nouns,
adjectives, they will all start to fall in place and make sense in the context
of another language.
History & Geography - 3 years
- English History
- U.S. Government
- U.S. History
- World Cultures
- World History
History and geography courses will give you a global perspective that
colleges admire and seek out. They will broaden your horizons and make you more
civic minded as well.
Visual & Performing Arts - 1 year
Visual and performing arts credits are fun and usually very easy. While a
jazz band rehearsal at 6 in the morning every day may not seem like fun it will
pay itself off in the long run. Our one year recommendation is really just a
minimum. If the arts is something you really get into go for it, explore the
Appropriate Electives - 1 to 3 years
Pick your electives based on what you want to do in college. If you don't
know what you want to study in college use your electives to try different
things out. If you think you might be interested in economics take a class in
micro-economics. If you have a passion for figures take a beginning statistics
class. Do you what you love but make sure you have all of your basics covered.