Is Your High School Student Ready for An Academic Push?

By Huntington Learning Center

Spring is around the corner, which happens to be class registration time for high school students. That means your student should be thinking ahead about what classes they want to take next year and whether or not they are on the right academic track. If your student is looking to push themselves next year, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Switching from standard to advanced classes should involve teacher input. Let’s say your student took standard English as a freshman but found the class to be unchallenging and earned a high A. It’s reasonable that they might want to step things up with a move into honors or Advanced Placement (AP) English, but a conversation with the teacher about this is wise to make sure they can help prepare your student for this transition over the remaining months of the year.

Avoid burnout. While college admission officers look for students who have worked hard in high school and selected challenging classes, it’s important that your student chooses wisely for themselves. Enrolling in advanced classes in subjects that have traditionally been difficult might prove overwhelming for your student and lead to a low grade and a long year. Instead, encourage your student to put forth the effort in subjects about which they are confident and willing to go the extra mile.

Students with competitive college ambitions should use AP and honors classes to boost the GPA. Don’t forget: AP and honors classes are weighted, which means that the grade-point value is higher for these classes. So, earning an A in an AP class could strengthen their GPA. To admission officers at competitive colleges and universities, this is important—so, students who want to be viable admission candidates at such schools should take as many of these advanced classes as they can (keeping the previous point in mind). Keep in mind that your student can get college credit for AP classes provided they score a 3 or higher on the end of the year AP exam.

It’s good to look ahead at prerequisites and course sequence. If your student wants to get into the advanced science track, they need to know what the course sequence is beyond the year to come so they can achieve their goals. For example, if your student took traditional physical science as a freshman and wants to move into honors biology as a sophomore, that lines them up to take AP chemistry or AP biology as a junior. They’ll need to keep in mind that honors algebra 2 or higher is a prerequisite for these two AP classes.

Students who know what they want to major in should plan ahead. It’s perfectly fine if your student hasn’t thought much about college majors, but for those who have a path in mind, it’s not too early to prepare themselves with the right curriculum. If your student wants to enter a STEM major, they should consider exceeding the minimum core requirements in science and math and explore other STEM classes through their electives.

Consider concurrent enrollment (duel enrollment) classes. If your school has a concurrent enrollment/duel enrollment program, it could be worth exploring these college level classes. This allows students to earn college credit and high school graduation credit at the same time, giving them a head start on college and introducing them to what college classes are really like. These classes are usually weighted, which means that the grade-point value is higher for these classes.  

Want to make sure your student is on the right track for high school and beyond? Call Huntington. We help students achieve their college goals and earn the grades in high school to get there. Call us at 1-800 CAN LEARN to hear how we help students of all ages do their best.