Course Registration–Top Ten Tips

Student schedule requests for the 2016-2017 school year were distributed this past week and will be collected starting Tuesday February 9th. However, counselors will be meeting with each student and there is still time to make changes. Please read the following words of wisdom you should consider as you/your child select courses for next year:

1) Make sure the courses you select help meet graduation requirements? You need to fulfill your fine arts, technology, and “program choice” completer requirement. Check these courses off of your four-year plan.

2) Pick courses that match your interests. Take courses that excite you; don’t take courses solely for the purpose of building a competitive transcript. Which course would you rather be in—the one you WANT to be in or the one you HAVE to be in?

3) Think about what college majors or careers you are interested in exploring and select courses that are best-suited to meet your goals. Also, look at the career academies. There are many great career programs offered here at Howard and over at the Applications Research Laboratory.

4) Teachers put a great deal of thought into recommendations; if you do not agree with the recommendation please speak with the teacher. Making recommendations in January can be difficult, but teachers will often revisit recommendations later in the year if your grades, work ethic, etc improve in the second semester.

5) Take full advantage of the knowledge and help of your school counselor. He or she knows what college admissions officers are looking for as well as what the expectations are for the courses you may be interested in. Having a discussion NOW about the courses that might help prepare you for Pre-Law programs is better than waiting until next school year when you might not be able to change your schedule.

6) Take the most rigorous courses you can handle while maintaining an A or B average. Colleges and universities do like to see Honors, GT, and AP courses on your transcript, but not when you’re earning C’s or D’s. Push yourself, but be sure not to get in over your head.

7) Remember the amount of time you spend doing extracurricular and social activities when determining the rigor of your courses. Use the homework minutes sheet as a guide for planning your course selection. You might want to take four AP classes, but do you have the time in your after school schedule to complete at least two hours of homework just for those classes. Start with your bedtime (hopefully no later than 11pm), then subtract 2:30pm (end of the school day). That’s the time you have to work with. When you factor in dinner time, practices, activities, etc, you’ll be left with how much time you can dedicate to homework.

8) Make sure there is balance in your course selection. Take at least one “fun” course. If your schedule is filled with rigorous, homework heavy classes, you will most likely struggle at some point. Pick a class or two that is fun, lighter on the homework, and something you’re interested in. You might consider being a peer assistant or a student aide.

9) Although graduation requirements state that students must take two years of world languages at the high school level, most colleges prefer students to complete at least level 3 of a world language. If you start with level 1 in high school, you should also take levels 2 and 3.

10) Every student applying to college should attempt at least one AP course. The best way to prepare for the rigor of college is to see what the expectations are now. You don’t need to load up on APs if you don’t feel comfortable doing so, but find the area you are strongest in and push yourself in that content area.

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