Ask the Expert - Choosing Your High School Courses |

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Ask the Expert - Choosing Your High School Courses


Finding the right career path in high school is sometimes tough. Listen to that inner voice and plan a career according to your interests and things you feel strongly about.

You're probably getting a lot of different messages, depending on who you talk to. Parents are usually concerned about keeping your options open for a path to a great career. You might wish that you could just take your favourite subjects and leave the ones that don't seem relevant. Your friends may be telling you to take the same ones they're taking, so you can be in the same classes.

Class selection is important and you should use the following guidelines to help you.

Graduation requirements should be your first consideration. Each state sets its own criteria for students graduating from high school. These requirements are normally discussed at your school when you sign up for classes. Be sure you have fulfilled the requirements by checking them off, rather than assuming it'll all work out. It is not unusual for a few senior students to suddenly discover that they have not fulfilled a certain requirement because it didn't seem to be an important subject to them.

Students sometimes wonder why certain subjects are compulsory. Minimum requirements are selected to give students a well-rounded education, as well as exposure to arts and technology. Students have strengths in different areas, so there is usually some flexibility. However, there are always certain courses you must complete in order to graduate. Make sure you know the requirements for grad, especially if you're fortunate to be in a school with many course options.

CAREER CONSIDERATIONSThe next consideration in choosing your classes is what career you might want to pursue. Some of you have had your heart set on a career path since you were just a toddler and your dream has not changed. You probably already know what subjects you require to get into that discipline area. If you're not one of those students, your task is more difficult. You must determine a few areas that you might consider going into and start doing some research. In this case (and maybe in a few other areas), your parents are right. You don't want to drop a subject you don't like, only to find out you really need it for the career you want to pursue.

This means that you should be looking at college or university requirements well before your senior year. This information is available in your guidance office.

Always make sure you have up-to-date, accurate information. If you transfer to another province during high school, be sure to get specific information about the differences in requirements.

All postsecondary institutions have their own unique requirements for each one of their programs. Often, the schools require that you obtain a certain average in the subjects required for that course or minimum scores on the SAT or ACT (and many times, just meeting the minimum requirements doesn't guarantee you a spot in the program). This means you must do some checking before your senior year, and have some idea of where you're headed after high school.

If you do plan well, you can take the classes that really interest you, the correct courses to graduate and the requirements for future training. It just takes the right information and some good planning to make it happen.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHERFinding the right career path in high school is sometimes tough. Listen to that inner voice and plan a career according to your interests and things you feel strongly about. Don't forget to check all of those requirements. Don't worry if your friends aren't in all of your classes, you'll get to know some other really interesting teens with similar goals.

Good luck and enjoy. Your options are wide open and there really is an exciting career waiting for you.

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