It is course selection time for many of the schools in my area. Because this is a topic that generates a lot of questions, I’m starting a five part series on course selection and the key factors in creating your four year plan.

Today I’m focusing on core academic courses which are the foundation of any student’s schedule.

Colleges care what courses students take. They want academically prepared students who already have a proven track record. Look at the actual applications; you will notice that all colleges want to know what courses students are taking their senior years. It matters.

Keep in mind the minimum graduation requirements at your high school may not be enough for you to compete with the typical applicants at the college of your dreams. It may be possible to graduate with minimal core courses, but it is not advisable.

Watch the video for details as I discuss:

  • The need to balance fun and explanatory courses with graduation requirements and foundational academic courses.
  • Electives are like dessert—you have to have a nutritious meal with them or your results won’t be optimal
    Students CANNOT trade core courses for electives. (Sorry!)
  • Core courses include English, math, history, and science. We can also make a strong argument for including LOTE (languages other than English) in this category.
  • Four years generally means each year in high school. Starting algebra in 8th grade does not mean you “finish” sooner.
  • I have seen students double up or take summer school, but this is not typical and maybe not recommended. Before you attempt, check with your school counselor and have a compelling reason.
  • The sequence of courses may vary from school to school
    • English and math— pretty predictable
    • Science usually — bio, chem, physics
    • History— check with your school— goal to take what your peers are taking

In the next video I will discuss other graduation requirements and how to add them to your plan.