Advanced Courses For College Success
Taking advanced courses while in high school will prepare you for greater success in college. Advanced Placement (AP) courses are the typical high school standard for learners at brick and mortar schools, but access to AP tests can be a challenge for our independent study learners. Dual Enrollment (DE) courses also provide rigorous coursework with the additional advantage of granting access to a greater variety of courses (that are in most cases for free).
The single most important skill you will need in college is writing, regardless of your chosen major. Building those skills in high school will help you take those first writing-intensive college courses with confidence. Learners who hope to attend the most rigorous colleges should plan to take more than one DE or AP course with intensive writing during high school. Writing is not only part of an AP English course but also can be part of AP social science and history. A dual enrollment course in English composition will greatly increase writing skills which will benefit learners in all areas. Seek out courses that require essays and research papers and not just multiple-choice tests.
All learners should have a strong math background and those who are entering the arts, humanities, or social sciences should aim for at least pre-calculus or statistics. However, learners entering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) should take a minimum of calculus while in high school. Community college or AP calculus will give a STEM learner a strong starting point. Classes that go beyond will help you enter college ahead of the rest!
Just about every college learner will find themselves in a science lab, so taking several lab sciences in high school is a necessity. An AP or DE science class can help prepare all learners for the rigors of college, but those entering STEM should plan to take more than one community college or AP lab science.
Language Other Than English
Some colleges require all learners to take a language while others require only those entering the humanities, arts, social sciences, and business to obtain a specific level of fluency. One way to get ahead is through a community college course in a foreign language or American sign language (ASL). At community colleges, a single semester of DE will count as 1-2 years of high school credit. Why not take advantage of this option now and knock out significant high school AND college credit?
Social Sciences and Electives
Don’t forget to take some fun advanced classes of interest such as anthropology, zoology, or psychology. These classes will help build college readiness skills and allow you to explore fields to which most high school learners do not have access.
Every learner should plan to meet with Bethany Maddox, our academic counselor, at least once a year to plan courses that will prepare for the next step–college! Sign up for an appointment here.
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