High School Class Selection

On your child’s first day of high school, as they nervously enter the locker-lined hallways full of chattering teenagers, they probably aren’t thinking about their future course loads and what they want to do when they graduate. After all, those decisions seem far away, but in reality, four years will pass quickly and your child must start to think about their academic direction and potential career aspirations sooner, rather than later.

They may not know yet specifically which careers are most appealing to them and that is normal. Most high school students know at least the types of jobs they would like to do, even if they have no specific focus before they graduate. They are only teens and it isn’t easy choosing your future career when you are 14! However, with focused and professional academic coaching, they can be adequately prepared to take on the challenges of high school and get accepted to their dream college.

Their field of interest may be broad, like the liberal arts, or narrow, like applied physics or the sciences. With a broader college education, they can switch their career focus later on more easily than pursuing a narrow field of knowledge. That being said, if your child enjoys working in a narrow field like microbiology or mechanical engineering, they will have a great experience gaining an in-depth education at college. Working with an academic coach can be immensely beneficial when creating or finalizing your child’s college plans.

Right now, they need to make a basic decision on which field is most appealing to them. Pretty soon schools are going to be creating next year’s schedule and it can be competitive trying to get into popular classes. What courses do they need to take? What kind of job do they think they want to do? Do they want to head into the arts, humanities, or sciences? Every student and school has differences in course selection, but if they want to stand out on their college applications, here’s what they need to take at a minimum:

  • As many AP / IB / Dual Enrollment as they think they will get an A or B in
  • As many honors-level courses as they feel comfortable with
  • Eight semesters of English
  • Any specific classes that pertain to their desired field

If they are not planning to get a general degree, but would like to specialize in a subject, they will need to take specific courses to achieve those goals. While a general liberal arts degree from college can prepare your child for many fields, like English, Business Management, or Public Relations, they will need a specialized degree if they want to work in a niche field. To learn more about the many different paths a college student can take with a general degree, you should consult an academic coach. Academic, or Student, coaching is extremely useful for parents who want to simplify their child’s stressful college application process and who are interested in helping them plan out their future.


While some of us dream of becoming an astronaut or the next surgeon-general, these are not always the most realistic occupations. However, other highly skilled occupations like a biologist or medical doctor are obtainable with the right levels of focus and determination. To meet the general requirements for a degree in the sciences, especially one with a pre-med or life sciences focus, your child will need to take the following courses in high school:

  • Eight semesters of Math
  • Eight semesters of Science with Labs
  • Four semesters of Social Studies
  • Six semesters of Foreign Language
  • Two semesters of Arts


Some high school students want to work in the sciences, but also want to apply their knowledge in a technological field like engineering or computers. Not all science careers require an in-depth knowledge of pure, theoretical “science.” For instance, your child might want to work at start-ups in Silicon Valley or help design the newest solar technology in Portland. There are many interesting developments in the technology sector and it is advised that you consult an academic coach if you are interested in entering this industry. If your child wants to focus on the technical side of science in college, they will need at minimum the following high school courses.

  • Eight semesters of Math
  • Eight semesters of Science with Labs
  • Four semesters of Social Studies
  • Six semesters of Foreign Language
  • Four semesters of Computer Science


If your child is a natural “leader,” a career in politics may be right for them. When most people think of policy careers, they think of politicians living and working in Washington, D.C. However, policy careers are so much more than that. They could be a political analyst, a professional lobbyist, a city planner, or even a lawyer. If they are interested in the internal mechanisms of the American government, and would like to be involved in the political process that makes our nation great, a policy career may be best for them. In addition, due to the multicultural diversity of America, learning additional languages like Russian, Chinese, and Spanish can be immensely helpful for careers in International Relations or dealing with any part of the immigration process. The following courses are recommended for a career in policy:

  • Six-Eight semesters of Math
  • Six-Eight semesters of Science with Labs
  • Eight semesters of Social Studies
  • Six-Eight semesters of Foreign Language
  • Three semesters of Arts

International Relations

An international career, like being a foreign delegate or diplomat, is great if you like to travel, experience new cultures, and want to represent the American people abroad. International careers are not just found in the public sector, although those are some of the most prominent. Other international careers can include corporate lawyers in multinational companies, international importers and exporters, and public speakers. A wide range of knowledge is very helpful for this broad career choice and the following courses are highly recommended:

  • Six-Eight semesters of Math
  • Six semesters of Science with Labs
  • Six-Eight semesters of Social Studies
  • Eight semesters of Foreign Language
  • Three-Four semesters of Arts


Although the arts may not seem like the typical career one chooses when going to college, it is just as important to America’s cultural enrichment as any other career pathway. Companies frequently recruit creative students to be salespeople. There are also many skills an aspiring artist can obtain in college, like radio and television communications, acting in theater and drama, or a deeper appreciation for past artists. The Arts also has a technical side to it, where artists can apply their science and math skills, learning how to deconstruct and imitate the painting styles of Rembrandt or da Vinci, or creating beautiful and innovative buildings with a degree in Architecture. Your child’s possibilities are only limited by the application of their knowledge. A wide breadth of knowledge can be very beneficial for creative students as they apply their knowledge across fields over the course of their career. The following courses are recommended:

  • Six semesters of Math
  • Four-Six semesters of Science with Labs
  • Four-Eight semesters of Social Studies
  • Six semesters of Foreign Language
  • Eight semesters of Arts


There is much an athlete can learn while in college. A deep understanding of physics can help your child resist a tackle on the football field as you learn about the physics of motion. A wide understanding of biology and nutrition can ensure they always perform at their best. Learning about math, especially statistics, can help them understand which football plays have a higher probability of success. If your child wants to be a successful coach, trainer, or talent scout, they will need to understand how to quantify which players are better and focus their energies on helping their players develop to their fullest abilities. In addition, athletics careers, especially at the college level, can be extremely rewarding and financially helpful. However, they may not last longer than a few years and it is important for your child to start planning for a stable career when their athletics career ends.

Learning a language, for instance, can make them a great cultural ambassador as they strengthen bonds between nations over a mutual love of sports. If they like chemistry, obtaining a chemistry degree while playing professional tennis or golf for their college will not deter them from their athletic dreams. When they retire from their athletic career, they can then enter the field of chemistry with a wealth of experiences and start working without any hiccups. Planning ahead in the unpredictable world of athletics is beneficial to you and your child’s future. Here is a list of courses that we recommend if your child is considering athletics:

  • Six semesters of Math
  • Four-Six semesters of Science with Labs
  • Four-Six semesters of Social Studies
  • Four-Six semesters of Foreign Language
  • Four-Six semesters of Arts

High school is supposed to be your child’s best years of their life. Or at least, that’s what the movies tell us, right? Hire an academic or student coach to take the stress out of planning for college and to allow your child to focus on having fun and doing well in school. The American education system doesn’t always help students figure out what they want to do for their careers, so let us help them make those choices by providing them with the right information they need to succeed.

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