One of the most exciting parts of the parts of the registration process each February involves checking out the course selections for the upcoming year and charting your path toward graduation. Students, parents, and counselors collaborate to make sure that each Cougar has the appropriate courses for his or her diploma pathway and that courses are selected at the right time and sequence.
When selecting courses, students should remember the following:
- Most courses require a sufficient number of students in order to guarantee that they will be offered. Likewise, some courses have a size limit, so it’s always a good idea to have an alternate selection in case your first choice is full or lacks sufficient enrollment.
- Some courses feature prerequisites; in other words, you must have completed another course or courses in order to enroll.
- Some courses require teacher recommendation. In these instances, you should work with your current teacher or another designated faculty member to determine the course level most appropriate for you. If you need to select a course for the upcoming year but are not taking a similar course this year, consult with your counselor about an appropriate teacher who can discuss your choices and sign your recommendation.
- Some courses require summer reading and/or projects to complete before the return to school in August.
- Students who wish to override teacher recommendations may do so with the understanding that they may not drop the course until the completion of the first semester.
- Students should carefully and thoughtfully consider their course selections. Once finalized, the administration uses the course requests in order to build the schedule for the upcoming year, and teaching assignments are based on these selections. For that reason, most classes are at or near capacity, and students often don’t have great flexibility in changing their schedules.
When considering your course selections, you should consider a number of factors:
- Which diploma pathway have you chosen? Do the courses you’ve selected satisfy those requirements?
- If you’re planning to attend a post secondary institution (community college or four-year college or university), the College Board recommends that you take at least five strong academic courses per year. Admissions counselors are looking for students who have a strong, diverse background including plenty of English, math, science, social studies, foreign language, and the arts.
- Both colleges and employers are looking for students who can think critically, write well, and rise to the occasion when given a task or project to complete. They want to admit or hire people who will most likely be successful in completing whatever they are asked to do, so you should take challenging courses. You should select the highest level you can master and make sure that it is appropriate for you and your skill set.
- While AP courses are definitely stimulating and challenging, and you do have the opportunity to earn college credit for work you do in high school, you should carefully select the most appropriate AP courses for your career choices and be careful not to overload yourself. While challenging yourself, you also want to make sure that you give yourself the best opportunity to be successful. How many and what kinds of AP courses should you take? The answer depends on many factors. How motivated are you? How much does the subject area interest you? What are your grades from previous courses? What kinds of courses does your college major (based on your career choice) require? How many other activities do you wish to pursue during the year? What will your daily schedule look like? Can you handle the course load and maintain appropriate balance in your life? These questions should prompt a lively and helpful discussion with your parents, teachers, and counselors who are all collaborators on your team–we all want you to be successful!