Getting admitted to college requires more than just good grades. You can have straight A’s and perfect test scores, and still not get accepted to college. Why? Some students neglect to take a required math class during their senior year, some wait to begin their Spanish foreign language requirement until their junior year, and for others, their strength of curriculum didn’t meet the expectations of the college. Planning your high school schedule ahead of time is a very important, but often overlooked, step towards getting into a college of your choice.
Sometimes as little as one missed class can make or break your application. Even if you have taken all the required classes to graduate from your high school, that does not mean you have all the required classes for every college out there. Some of the commonly missed classes are foreign language and math classes. Many high schools only require 2 years of a foreign language to graduate, and only 3 years of math. Some colleges require 3 years of a foreign language and 4 years of math for admission. A few require students to take a math and science class during their senior year. Many students get caught in the trap of waiting until their senior year to look at requirements to get in to college, and by that time it is too late to change your schedule. Luckily, colleges typically post their minimum high school course requirements on their website. Checking the requirements of colleges early on can help ensure that you are able to fit those classes into your schedule throughout high school. Additionally, some schools may not require certain classes, but they may recommend that students take them. Even if it is not required, meeting a college’s recommendations may increase your chances of admission.
It’s also no secret that some colleges are harder to get in to than others. These competitive colleges usually seek exceptional students. This means students who have taken challenging coursework throughout their time in high school. If you are strong in a certain subject, you may want to consider taking a rigorous class. These class include honors, AP, IB, or dual-credit/dual-enrollment. Not only can high marks in these classes raise your GPA and chances of admissions, some of these classes can even earn you early college credit! Obviously, these classes are more difficult than regular classes, but the risk can be worth the reward. You still want to be careful to not overload yourself with too much difficult coursework to the point of your grades suffering. Even if you only end up taking one rigorous course every year, it can still show your commitment to challenging yourself in your areas of strength or interest.
Lastly, don’t forget to explore classes you are interested in. Exploring your interests in high school can give you a good head start toward figuring out whether a certain career field may or may not be a good fit for you. If your high school offers special classes or electives that interest you, try and fit at least one in to your schedule. Don’t be afraid to explore!
Balancing your schedule and learning which classes are available can be difficult. We strongly encourage students to speak with their guidance counselors to help them plan out their high school schedule. This typically includes going over your goals, interests, discussing what classes are available, and also any pre-requisites that may be required.
As always, the coaches at Right C3 are here to help you identify any college requirements and research colleges so that you can start planning a schedule that is the right fit for you.