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What classes should a student take in high school?

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