As second semester rolls along, students are scrambling to open their textbooks and study guides in order to prepare for upcoming SAT’s, subject tests, AP’s, and end of the year exams. In addition, many juniors are filing last minute applications for internships and seeking out job opportunities for the summer. Through all this confusion and stress, it’s not surprising that some students may neglect spending time deciding their schedule. However, creating a balanced schedule and choosing the right classes is extremely important to a student’s success in high school.
Students should take classes that set an achievable standard for them. While is it important to take AP courses, it is equally important to perform well. You need to be realistic; you need to know what you can and can’t handle when selecting your courses for next fall. For example, taking 5 AP classes while you maintained a “C” average the previous year wouldn’t be the most beneficial option for you. This would most likely only hurt your GPA and confidence as you struggle through these classes.
Besides AP classes, there are also many “fun” courses offered by schools, such as journalism or ceramics. These classes are less demanding than AP classes, and they are often exciting and engaging for students. However, these courses don’t necessarily appeal to colleges, who are more interested in learning about what type of rigorous courses you are taking and if you are challenging yourself enough. It is important to balance out your “fun” classes with your challenging classes, in order to demonstrate to colleges that you are challenging yourself while also taking classes that you genuinely enjoy.
Among my friends and me, I found out that we took, on average, 2-3 AP courses and chose “fun” classes to fill in the spaces. I found that those in their junior year take many rigorous courses to impress colleges, but during senior year they choose less demanding classes. They prefer to have a more relaxing senior year compared to their junior year in order to relax with friends and savor the last year in high school. The underclassmen generally take courses that are challenging, but they also take ones that seem easy and less work.
Typically, students plan to completely challenge themselves in their junior year of high school and prefer to not push themselves as hard the previous years. This strategy seems to work for most students seeing as how they strive to maintain a high GPA. When deciding which classes to take, you need to remember to focus on your high school career and not others, take only what you can handle and focus on getting the most rewarding experience possible.
Article by MoCo Student staff writer Erin Ramos of Richard Montgomery High School