“Been there, done that; advice from one student to another” by Emily Gong
I would first of all like to point out that I am not a counselor, and everything I say in the subsequent paragraphs merely constitutes advice from one student to another. With that in mind, let’s begin…
It’s that time of the year again – when the guidance counselors come into English classes to pass out those half sheets of colored card stock that will determine one’s fate in the upcoming year. This paper can decide whether you will be able to sleep at a reasonable time each night or if next year will finally be the year you break above a 4.5 GPA. Picking classes for the following year is a very difficult decision for many students, so you are not alone if you are not sure what to do. As a senior, I have been through this decision process three times already. So, I would like to share some advice for choosing your classes.
First of all, you need to take into consideration the amount of time you have in a day. How much of that time goes to sports and extra-curriculars? Once those are done, how much time do you have left over for homework? And if you are taking an AP class that requires you to dedicate more time after school to fit in the entire curriculum, will you be able to make room in your schedule to attend these extra-hour sessions?
Next, take into consideration your academic strengths and weaknesses. If every class period you are asking yourself, “What is my teacher saying? It’s as if she’s speaking another language,” then maybe AP Spanish isn’t the best class for you to take. If you don’t find the prospect of memorizing innumerable dates and the names of all the US presidents entertaining, then don’t take APUSH (AP US History). You get the idea; your interests and abilities are very important factors to take into account.
Another thing that can help you make the right decisions is asking other students. Find students who are currently taking or have already taken a particular class of interest. Roast them on all the facets of the class. However, don’t let the opinions of just one person sway you for or against it; you need to ask a variety of students. I don’t want to be mean, but quite frankly not all of us are naturally gifted with the ability to comprehend math or find the “meaning” of a poem just by close reading it. You know your own capabilities and limits; solicit the opinions of those who are smarter than you in this subject and those at the same level as you. The more you ask about the class (e.g. homework load, test difficulty, and teacher characteristics), the better able you will be to make a properly informed decision.
Finally, if you are going to be a senior next year I have some advice for you. As much as you say you won’t get “Senioritis”, you will – eventually. This is why I warn you to be wary of your schedule. You don’t want to have a full schedule or take too many rigorous classes because to be quite honest…grades don’t really count for anything second semester senior year. All you have to do is pass English, Economics, and Government (though most colleges require a final transcript to ensure you don’t fail any classes, else they might rescind your admissions offer). Also take into consideration that you might have to write several personal statements while simultaneously preparing for and taking last-minute SAT or ACT tests, which will significantly decrease the time available for you to complete your regular schoolwork. However, this can all be circumvented if you consider your upcoming goals. If you want to achieve Magna Cum Lade then take the path you need to get there. But if you want to enjoy a more relaxed senior year with more time to hang out with friends (and perhaps more importantly, to sleep), then maybe lightening your school load might be the wiser decision.
All in all, this is simply my opinion on picking classes; you could completely disagree with everything I have said, and to be honest that’s perfectly fine. You have the right to believe whatever you please, but maybe my experience and advice can help you when you’re making the final decision for next year’s schedule.