Top Ten Things to Consider When Signing Up for Classes

By Andrew Greener

  1. Academic Interests: Your priority should be taking classes that you are genuinely interested in. The benefits of this are twofold: 1) You will be more eager to learn about the subject and to attend class daily, and 2) it will make studying more appealing than arduous—to a certain extent.
  2. Diversity/Balance: Keep in mind a holistic view of your schedule. For example, you wouldn’t want to stack up on all social studies courses even if that is your favorite subject. Taking classes in different subjects will make your day more entertaining and give you a more balanced outlook.
  3. Timing: Make sure the classes you want to take are available when you want to take them. Some courses are only offered every other year, so it is important you consider that when making your schedule.
  4. Opportunity: Some courses have prerequisites that you must take prior to signing up for them, so if you have a class you want to take in two years, make sure you take any necessary courses before then (or in the first semester for a second semester course).
  5. Workload/Difficulty: You should always look to challenge yourself and find your limits; however, you must maintain a reasonable balance between work, free time, extracurricular activities, and/or sports. Don’t concern yourself with how a regular or honors class looks on your transcript—challenge yourself in courses you like because those will be easier to maintain a high level of effort.
  6. Credits/Requirements: Believe it or not, there are requirements in certain academic areas (aside from the main four) such as computer, art, and health. You might want to take only courses you are interested in for the first three years but keep in mind you will then have to take all of these required courses senior year. Keeping these credit requirements spread out over all four years might be better.
  7. Guidance Counselor: He/She is the first person you should go to with questions/concerns/quarries. He/She has had years of experience dealing with a myriad of students each with different interests and probably has some good advice concerning your course selection and interests. Your counselor will be with your for four years and might realize things you don’t; talk to them on occasion and you will benefit greatly.
  8. Friends: Let’s be honest, you are taking notes on which courses your friends are signing up for—who isn’t? Classes are more fun when you know someone (though you’ll surely make friends in classes in which you don’t) and singing up for a new elective with a friend might be helpful.
  9. Transcript: Let’s be even more honest: when choosing classes, you’re thinking about how they will look on your transcript. Try not to be overly concerned with this, but if it motivates you to take harder classes, go ahead.
  10. Career Aspirations: If you want to be an engineer, take a few science classes to narrow your interests. If you’re interested in business, take some marketing or finance courses. If you have no idea what you want to do, you’re probably in the majority. Take these four years to take a bunch of different courses, signing up for whatever seems cool and just enjoy your time.