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The Rigorous Schedule

The perfect schedule is not always simple to select. When selecting courses for each grade-level consider a few things:

1. What are your strengths? If you are good in a subject area, try to challenge yourself with an Honors/AP class. Be critical and analyze how some of these choices will affect next year's balance of other, equally important activities.

2. What might your career look like in the future? Choose some classes that relate to your-long term interests. Considering all A-G courses available, discuss with others how you might use this course content in the future. Analyze how the coursework will compel admissions officers to believe that you are "prepared" for your desired field.

3. What's your 4-year plan? Each year's courses could potentially build upon each other and relate to your potential college major. The goal is to take as many rigorous courses as you can in order to show some depth in a subject area. Strive for as much mastery in a content area and enough breadth to show that you have skills in more than one subject area.

4. What's the right number of Honors/AP courses to take each year? In a perfect world at least one class in the freshman and one in the sophomore year would be ideal. The answer to this question is about balance. Choose the number of classes that will show you can excel in rigorous courses, but also think about how much time you should be spending away from the books, developing your resume and honing your skills in more tangible ways. For junior and senior year it might be good to consider 3 or more classes, as these are supposed to be the most challenging years and often show the student’s potential, work ethic, and persistence.

5. How do I know if I’m taking too many Honors/AP courses? If you intuition is telling you that it’s going to be a tough school year, decipher whether the courses you are taking will be highly, moderately, or possibly not manageable. Doubt can be a good thing in this process, as it’s telling you something about yourself and you know yourself well. Ask your parents and other experts about their perspectives on the perfect quantity of challenging courses. Some would argue that consideration of class rank is at stake here. Sometimes getting straight As with 2/6 Honors/AP courses could be better than getting 2 Bs while taking 4 Honors/AP courses. A student taking less challenging course may not “over do it” and have more time for meaningful activities, which are just as valuable or more note-worthy than the courses you are enrolled in. Your class rank is likely to be safe in the situation, where you follow your intuition and avoid the stress of studying non-stop throughout the week.

Think deeply about the courses you are selecting each year. Ask questions, follow you intuition, be content with your choices. You know yourself well and want to live a balanced life during high school, which can be extremely stressful due to the many expectations place upon you by parents, colleges, and even yourself.