Required classes or required time?
With program planning for the 2016-2017 school year underway, students are looking through the classes NAHS has to offer. I really love art so I’m looking at several different art classes. What’s unfortunate is that I have to take some required classes. This year I have some rough classes that are really wearing me down so I want to take an easy road next year, but should I? Is this all just a hoax and no college really cares if I take another required class?
Some things you just repeat every year and it gets so monotonous. In English you read and write, in math you add and subtract, and in science you do a little of each and probably an experiment or two. I thought high school was about finally breaking out of the same routine and challenging yourself to discover your interests and finding your talent. It seems like you should enroll in as many classes as you can to benefit what you want to actually be after high school or college.
When I was little I wanted to be a ballerina, but that got in the way of soccer, so then I dreamed of becoming an astronaut and going to Saturn. I was a little kid, dreaming the unlimited possibilities, but now I’m focused on a more practical job set that I’d enjoy (still with a kids’ excitement). In the process of reading and writing, I have found my love of writing grow stronger. I only have two years left in high school, so shouldn’t they be spent pursuing skills in the field I want to be in, not what I can’t stand?
I did some research, and according to collegedata.com, what matters to colleges can be categorized into two areas: considerably and moderately important. Yes I know, we have discovered the Area 51 of the colleges minds! Truth is, colleges will typically consider grades in tough courses, but individual colleges have other key factors they focus on. The National Association for College Admission Counseling say that these are some factors considered “most important”.
Top Factors of Considerable Importance
- Grades in college prep courses.
- Strength of curriculum (taking the most challenging courses available)
- Admission test scores (SAT and/or ACT, AP and IB)
- Your overall GPA
Top Factors of Moderate Importance
- Extracurricular commitment
- Letters of recommendation
- Essay or writing sample
- Demonstrated interest
- Class rank
Now, no two colleges are the same, even if the letters are just scrambled like ISU and IUS. If you choose a college for say math and I choose one for English, they’ll expect and want different things from us. At very large universities though, some decisions as far as being accepted may be made just on your GPA and test scores. It won’t matter to them if I can write a good article like this or if you can recite pi.
As the years go by, of course you get more room for electives. You can now take something other than that required PE credit or foreign language. These classes are a chance to escape those required classes and do something unique that not only interests you but, could be key to your future job. After looking on bigfuture.collegeboard.org, I found that when it comes to choosing an elective you should consider taking things that will explore your interests, lighten that demanding class schedule, something that you’ll have fun studying, and can show colleges your interests and skills. Here are some tips they provided in choosing electives that can help benefit your college application:
- Pursue Your Passions
- Maintain Balance
- Try Something New
- Take Courses Colleges Recommend
It is important to register for classes that will benefit you, not because your friends are in there. To make sure that you choose the right elective classes, bigfuture.collegeboard.org says to take these steps:
- Talk to your counselors and teachers to help you figure out which electives will meet the requirements of the colleges or types of programs you’re considering.
- Show Colleges Who You Are
Still, one of the most important pieces of your college application is your high school transcript. Yes, that unfortunate class where the teacher was just plain mean, graded unfairly or all you heard was “blah blah blah” is important in the end. Colleges should want to see that you are you, even if you don’t match their typical traditional standards. So make sure you choose classes that will benefit your future.
Now, I do want to take an easy road, but what if that “easy road” is something colleges put to the side because the classes seem less challenging. A problem arises when classes that interest me or have been a lifelong passion get overlooked because they aren’t the same classes of an all AP or IB student. I feel like colleges should see kids as young adults who have worked hard to form the person they are. So what if they didn’t take a traditional path or the super challenging class that in turn wore them down and made them hate school.
Remember that really challenging class isn’t hard for the person whose strength it lies in. Maybe my art or journalism class would make them sick with stress over lack of creativity. It’s more important to do something you love than suffer through something you hate because somebody told you it would make your transcript look better. Isn’t that why most adults go back to school anyway?