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Scheduling Senior Year

Brought to you by the American School Counselor Association

Throughout the country, high school juniors are visiting their counselor's office to schedule classes for their senior year. So what'll it be? Here are some suggestions:

1. Prepare for the college crunch. This means taking demanding college prep courses, possibly some Advance Placement courses, a third or fourth level of a foreign language, trig or calculus, an advanced science, a computer course, and a meaningful elective or two.

2. Take a few college prep courses, but relax the schedule a bit. I know what you're thinking: You know, I've been working hard for three years in high school, so I want a little breather. That's cool. Create a schedule that includes a few of the courses in #1 above; but sprinkle in a nutrition course or a wood shop class or an art class if you like.

A word of caution: Though there's nothing wrong with these courses, they aren't as demanding as others and in most cases, they aren't career-related. Most colleges would prefer to see you take an advanced math and science in your senior year along with electives that relate to your intended major.

3. Don't slack. I'm chillin' out my senior year -- no hard classes for me this year! I've seen it before; the schedule that has just the bare necessities and nothing more. Some kids want to take only what they need to graduate and fill in the rest of the schedule with study halls, gym, or the cliched "basket-weaving" classes. Hold up! This schedule probably won't get you where you want to go -- in college or in life!

A very common question I'm asked during scheduling season is, "Do I have to take this?" or "Do I have to take that?" For senior year, the answer is usually, "No, you do not have to take it!" But if you re-phrase the question, "Should I take this or that?" the answer usually is, "Yes, you should take it!"

Keep in mind that your senior year in high school is the springboard to college. Anything short of a demanding senior year schedule will leave you less than prepared for freshman year of college.

Don't forget you can always contact an admissions officer from a local college. Ask him or her what they think of your schedule and if they have suggestions for what you should take next year. Then, keep an open mind and schedule accordingly.

Good luck!

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