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The clock is ticking... And before you know it, you will be moving up to high school or moving on to college. It may be hard, right now, to think about whether you want to get a job or to go to college after high school, but you need to be thinking and looking ahead. The choices that you make now will have an impact on your ability to attend college.
When you are entering middle school you should plan on taking the right courses to qualify fr the college-bound program in high school. These courses begin in the seventh grade. Once you are in high school the first choice you must make is to finish high school because a diploma is necessary to open other opportunities. While in high school, it is important to take college preparatory courses. You also need to be thinking about and planning for college costs. Then, when the time to go to college comes, you will be ready.
No matter what you decide to do after high school, pre-college courses will give you a sound, broad background. The wide range of courses will make it easier for you to earn a living, contribute to your community, and generally enjoy life. So whether you plan to go to college immediately after high school, later, or not at all, you should seriously consider the benefits of the college-bound program. At the very least, you should take courses in middle and junior high school school and high school that give you the option of continuing on to college.
It is important that
you take courses that challenge your abilities. In mathematics for
example, studies have shown that students who take algebra in the eighth
grade and geometry in the ninth grade are more likely to attend college
than students who do not.
These academic subjects
make up the important courses that you should take every year in middle
and junior high school. Examples of specific classes are listed next
to the name of the subject; the names used at your school may differ.
ENGLISH: (LANGUAGE ARTS) Composition, Literature, Grammar
MATHEMATICS: Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry
SCIENCE: Biological Science, Environmental Science, Earth Science, Physical Science
SOCIAL STUDIES: History, Geography, Civics
WORLD LANGUAGES: French, German, Italian, Latin, Spanish (or other languages)
COMPUTER SCIENCE: Computer Applications, Word Processing
ARTS: Music, Art, Drama
Extra-curricular activities like student government, clubs, sports, plays, and community service are important for middle and junior high school students too. Your involvement in these activities shows teamwork, leadership, and commitment to improving your community.
Colleges have specific courses and categories of courses that they expect you to take in high school such as English, math, social studies, science, and foreign language. It is wise to check the college catalog or a book that lists the requirements for each college that you are considering because each college may have different requirements. Be sure that the courses you take are at the college preparatory level. Colleges also want to know if you tried to challenge yourself by taking honors and AP courses, so take these courses if you can. Your adviser and your parents can help you choose classes that will help you to meet the criteria of the college of your choice.
Plan to include courses from the list that follows.
Types of ClassesMATHEMATICS
3 Years Required/ 4 Years Recommended
Mathematics helps you learn to use logical reasoning and to develop good problem-solving skills.
Types of ClassesSOCIAL STUDIES
2 Years Required/ 3 Years Recommended
Studying the history, government, economics, and geography of the United States and the world gives you a better understanding of past, present and potential future events.
Types of ClassesLABORATORY SCIENCE
2 Years Required/ 3 Years Recommended
Laboratory science explains the mysteries of the world. Science teaches you how to be a careful observer and to use logical reasoning to answer questions.
Types of ClassesWORLD LANGUAGES
2 Years of One Language Required/ 3 Years Recommended
Studying a foreign language can help you understand and communicate with people from other cultures here and abroad. Learning a foreign language is the best way to begin understanding another culture and can be valuable because communications technology makes the world a global village.
Types of ClassesCOMPUTERS
½ Year Required/ 1 Year Recommended
Computers have increasingly become a vital part of everyday life. It is important for you to know what computers can do and how to use them both for college and for almost any job.
Types of ClassesFINE ARTS
½ Year Required/1 Year Recommended
Visual and performing arts add to your appreciation of and enjoyment of life. Studying the arts helps to develop creativity and gives an opportunity for self-expression.
Types of ClassesELECTIVES
4 Years of College Preparatory Courses Required
Electives are the courses you chose to complete your high school program. If you particularly like one area of the curriculum, for example science, you may chose to elect an additional science course. Or you may chose to explore another area such as in a college preparatory business course. Discuss your options with your guidance counselor to be sure that the elective is a college preparatory level course. It is important that electives you chose be as challenging as your other courses.
Types of ClassesA total of 18 college preparatory units are required for entrance to many four-year colleges and universities.
Courses. When college admission officers look at transcripts they also look at the level of courses. Admissions officers say that they like to see applicants challenging themselves by choosing academic subjects beyond the requirements (for example a fourth year of a world language or a science elective), and also honors, and AP courses whenever available. By selecting rigorous courses every year, including senior year, students are showing that they are taking their studies seriously and are willing to work hard. AP classes may allow you to get college credit, be exempt from college requirements or provide helpful background for other courses.
Grades and Class Rank. Grades count! By getting good grades in high school, students are demonstrating to admissions officers that they will be able to do college-level academic work. The grade point average (GPA) is often used as a criteria by admissions committees in making their decisions. Another indicator of studentsí academic ability is the class rank which shows where studentsí GPA is in comparison with other students in the class.
Activities.When you list the activities that you participated in while in high school, you are filling in the rest of the picture of who you are. Colleges are interested in knowing what you might be able to contribute to the college community in skills, talents, and interests. These activities may be athletics, clubs, volunteer work or paid employment. Especially noteworthy are activities that involve special talents, community service, or leadership (in student government or as a team captain, for example). Students may have a unique special talents (as musicians or debaters). Community service is a good way to develop new skills while you help your community. It is also a way to qualify for some scholarship opportunities. Being involved with student council shows school spirit, leadership, and the ability to work with peers and teachers. Many students have jobs while in high school. Working and keeping your grades up demonstrates that you can manage your time well. In deciding on your activities, it will make a better impression to choose a few activities in which you are very involved than joining many organizations as a senior.
Website Developed in December
1998 by Timothy S. Chace and Phyllis