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  • Writer's pictureAlison Merzel

High School Scheduling Advice

Especially as a freshmen, it may seem premature to consider how your current course scheduling may impact college admissions. However, it isn't too early to plan ahead. In general, colleges are looking to see whether you pursued an academically rigorous curriculum that is appropriate for YOU. While a high school that offers a college prep curriculum will ensure you meet the minimum requirements to qualify for college admission, there are some other things you may want to keep in mind to increase your competitiveness:

1) If you are thinking about pursuing a business major in college, you will want to make sure to have more than the minimum math requirements. Algebra and geometry will be expected, but to be competitive you should plan to take pre-calculus or calculus by your senior year, if available. Four years of English are also going to be required, as well as 3-4 years of Social Studies/History, Science and, ideally, Foreign Language. You may also want to pursue available business electives, like Finance and Accounting, Entrepreneurship or Economics. This shows that you have taken initiative to explore your interests and will help you explain your preference for a business major later on.

2) If you are thinking about pursuing an engineering or computer science major, colleges will be looking for a rigorous math curriculum with the expectation of calculus. Calculus BC is going to be preferred over Calculus AB, if it is offered and you are eligible/qualified to take a course of this rigor. They will also be looking for physics on your transcript. Certainly, electives like Computer Science, Robotics, STEM Engineering would make sense, depending on the type of engineering major you are considering.

3) If you are considering a pre-med or nursing major, you will want to excel in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, ideally at the Honors or AP level. You will also want to take the most rigorous math courses available, just like prospective engineering students.

4) If you are considering an architecture major, you will need to prepare a portfolio, so studio art classes are important - drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, 3D design are all good options. If there is a class that gives you exposure to CAD (Computer Aided Design), that is always a bonus, but not a requirement. You will also want to demonstrate strength in physical science/physics and advanced math, like trigonometry. Calculus is often recommended but not required. A portfolio will typically be required for any Bachelor in Fine Arts program, so keep this in mind as you consider your elective curriculum.

Many students will apply to college as undecided majors and change majors several times - this is ok! There are hundreds of majors out there. These are just a few examples of popular paths that can benefit from some advance planning. If you are leaning towards one of these, it is helpful to make good choices now so you can be a competitive candidate for admission to your desired college and major later. Happy planning!

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