Setting Your Middle School Student on the Right High School Academic Track

By Huntington Learning Center

Registering for classes in high school might sound simple, but choosing the right classes is essential. For parents of middle school students looking ahead to high school or freshmen thinking ahead to college, here are four tips:  

  • It’s fine to ramp up. If your student begins high school and you’re concerned they’re not taking hard enough classes, don’t worry. It’s fine for a student to start out with the standard core courses in English, math, history and science and then progress toward more rigorous classes in their areas of strength. In other words, if your child starts high school in regular Geometry and earns an A+, it might be worth a discussion with the guidance counselor to figure out if Honors Algebra II (vs. regular) is a possibility for sophomore year.
  • Keep in mind that certain classes are prerequisites for harder classes. While showing increased rigor is good, if your child wants to take certain advanced-level classes as an upperclassman, they’ll need to take the right classes to get there. For example, an AP Chemistry class might require a student to take Honors or Advanced Algebra II simultaneously (and that class might have required Honors Geometry as a freshman). The school course catalog lays out the different course sequences so you and your student can make sure they’re in the right sequence for them when it comes time to register for high school classes.
  • Graduation requirements might not fulfill certain colleges’ admission requirements. The guidance counseling office can advise your student, but it’s important to realize that some colleges and universities have strong transcript preferences for high school applicants. If your student’s high school requires two years of a foreign language to graduate, for example, but your student is aiming for the Ivy League, they should do a little research. Some highly selective colleges prefer three or more years of foreign language classes.
  • Middle school performance lays the groundwork. The argument that middle school academics do not matter simply isn’t true. Middle school academics set students on a particular path and teach them the habits needed in high school. So, a student taking all honors classes in middle school is more likely to understand the workload and diligence required in high school. And the students in the middle school honors track are most likely to be recommended for high school Advanced Placement and honors classes.

If your child has the academic ability and interest in pursuing challenging classes in high school, make sure they’re on the right track in middle school.

If your student is striving to achieve in high school and struggling in one or more classes, call Huntington at 1-800 CAN LEARN. We’ll help them strengthen their weaknesses, establish good school habits that will last a lifetime, and achieve their dreams.