Students in my area have begun to register for classes for next school year. A question that I often get asked is “What gets you into elite colleges?”. The most common misconception that I see from students is forgoing electives like band, drama, choir or giving up sports in order to take an extra Advanced Placement or Honors class that they are not necessarily interested in other than the fact that it will boost their GPA. While colleges want to see a challenging schedule, you should also have a schedule that reflects who you are and where your interests are.
At my alma mater of Stanford, we would say, “work hard, play hard!” Elective classes that you take during the school day and activities that you choose to do outside of school are what will make you stand out on a college application. Of course, strong academics and test scores are expected because the college wants to make sure that you can do the work when you get there.
Yes, your high school and some colleges have specific classes that you must take. However, the things you elect to do outside of the requirements represent who you are. Your elective activities represent the richness and talent that you will add to a college campus. Your high school transcript should represent that you have explored different things and been exposed to different fields so that you can begin to identify what you like and, equally important, what you don’t like. More importantly, electives are fun and help you reduce stress so that you can do well in your academic core classes. Pick Advanced Placement classes wisely, in those subjects that you are truly interested in. Don’t take a class in high school that you would not take in college!
Pathways 4 Teens helps families make educational choices through teen leadership and parent engagement. Contact Miriam at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-999-3892 or Visit www.pathways4teens.com for more details! Also follow us on facebook and twitter for more great information and tips on helping teens define success for themselves!