Counselors are often asked the following questions:
"How many honors classes or AP classes 'look good' to colleges?"
"Is it better to get an A in a regular class or a B in an honors or AP class?"
"Should I accelerate in math, science or maybe both, by taking all the academic courses I can possibly fit?"
Although the answers to these questions varies by individual, students should generally take the most challenging courses in which they can be successful, maintain a competitive GPA and still have a healthy lifestyle. This means that students will be able to earn A and B grades in all classes, and have time left after studying for social and physical activities. Typically honors and AP classes have the best outcomes when students pursue them strategically, following their own natural interests and abilities, rather than focusing on quantity. The class schedule should also allow students time to find or pursue their passions through electives and extracurricular activities.
Here are some key points to remember while setting up a course load for any student:
Review the Course Profiles and consider the level of difficulty, estimated homework and description.
Seek input from teachers who have taught the student. Teachers have valuable input regarding student performance and appropriate course selection.
The highest test scores or good intentions do not equal good grades. Look at a student's demonstrated work, including grades, homework and overall attitude toward classes when selecting the course schedule.
Consider the following as you make course selections:Top of Page
Look at a student's history in a subject. If a student has earned above average or average grades in standard classes, then it is reasonable to assume that to continue in standard classes will serve him or her well.
If a student is earning straight A's in standard classes, with ease or little difficulty, perhaps Honors/AP courses would serve him or her better...if he or she is interested in the subject and would devote the time and effort necessary to succeed in such a class.
If a student is earning A's in honors or AP classes, yet is experiencing a lot of stress, it may be time to reevaluate.
Students can find success in life in many ways. Students are encouraged to stay on the path to graduation and college via the required courses, and expand their experiences with additional or more challenging coursework if they are genuinely interested.
Take electives! Students are encouraged to try different electives that truly interest and inspire them.