Course selection is stressful; trust me, I know. Every spring, I choose my courses but end up switching them at the last minute. Of course, this year I will not be choosing courses at NCDS for next year, but I hope to pass on some of the wisdom I have gained from my struggles with course selection.
Choose courses you are actually interested in
This is probably the most important piece of advice I can give. Choosing courses you are actually interested in will make the homework and in class learning so much more enjoyable and worthwhile. Exploring subjects you think you have an interest in can help you learn more about your own likes/dislikes and can help you discover what you are passionate about. Even if you realize that you don’t like the subject matter, at least you will know that this isn’t a subject you want to pursue again in the future. You don’t want to regret taking a course you think you might love!
Try out new interests
I know I just said to take courses you are interested in, but I think its also important to note that it can be incredibly rewarding to take a course you know nothing about and don’t think you would be interested in (especially if you don’t already know exactly what subjects you are passionate about). I took AP US History last year and expected the material to be boring and a repetition of my 8th grade US history class. However, much to my shock, APUSH soon became one of my favorite classes and I am so glad I took it despite my initial doubts.
Challenge yourself in the subjects you enjoy most
This point is similar to #1, but deals with the areas in which you challenge yourself. If you are hesitant to take an AP or Honors class, I suggest taking one in a subject you already enjoy. Challenging yourself in subjects you enjoy can make the challenge and workload feel like less of a pain.
Think about your goals
You should also take into consideration your academic goals when choosing courses. How much do you want to challenge yourself? Do you want academics to take a more (or less) prominent focus in your life? These questions can be hard to answer, but thinking about what you want to accomplish during high school can help you realize which courses are right for you. If taking the most rigorous courses is something you hope to do, then go for it. If you would rather focus your energy on a sport or extracurricular, that’s ok too.
Think about your time commitments
We all know how difficult it can be to balance academics, sports, extracurriculars, and social lives. Try to imagine what next year will look like for you; will you have a significant sports commitment? Will your weekends be free? What will each season look like? Thinking through this ahead of time can give you a sense of how much time you will have for homework and studying. Try to talk to upperclassmen that took classes you are considering to get a better sense of the homework load.
In the end, what you get out of your classes is what you put in, so don’t stress too much about course selection. I hope everyone is able to find classes that interest and challenge them, and that these tips help!