Free image courtesy of Green Chameleon
With scheduling for the 2021-2022 school year just around the corner, I wanted to share some advice on factors to consider when scheduling. These are based on my personal experience, and although I will try to keep them broad and objective, some things I mention might not work for everyone. Remember, it is always a good idea to double check and discuss your decisions with your counselor if you have any questions about your own course selection. I hope this article helps!
Look at graduation requirements and various diplomas our school offers
The graduation and different diploma requirements can be found online on our school’s program of studies at this link:
When scheduling, it helps to think in the long term, and to make sure you sign up for all of the mandatory courses. By making sure you meet all the requirements, you can avoid rushing to take all of your credits your senior year. Also remember that if you didn’t take Health in 10th grade, you will still have to take it at some point so that you can graduate, and the same for PE credits (unless you are doing a sports waiver). Also make sure you are reading the correct requirements for your own graduation year.
You should look at your corresponding grade’s scheduling worksheet which can be found below:
The scheduling worksheets have the right amount of boxes for the maximum number of courses you can take each year, so it is similar to making a mock schedule. Remember that some art and technology classes are just one semester, whereas others are for the whole year. Also, AP science courses will fill up two periods from your schedule both semesters (one for lecture, one for lab).
If you’re having trouble figuring out what to sign up for, it can help to make mock schedules for the next few years in high school
Sometimes, if you have quite a few classes you want to take before you graduate, it is helpful to plan ahead. By making mock schedules for the next few years, you can see if there might be a course you won’t be able to fit in, and you can make adjustments as needed. For example, when I had to choose what classes to take my junior year, I made a mock schedule for both junior and senior year. I realized I had to choose between some courses, and I was able to work out which ones I prioritized more and which ones I would have to give up.
Remember that you might not get into all of your elective classes
If you get your schedule and don’t see an elective class that you signed up for, it is likely that either the class got too full or it was not able to fit into your schedule due to a conflict with a core class. In this case, it helps to have a second choice elective in mind, and you should talk to your counselor to see if you would be interested in any other courses offered during that period.
Don’t be afraid to try something new with electives
Our school offers a lot of different courses in art and technology. Personally, I did not know much about the technology department at our school until junior year, when I took computer graphics. I really ended up enjoying that class, and it was fun to challenge myself and try something new. In my senior year I took a ceramics 1 class for the first semester, and I’m taking technical drawing 1 as well (which is all year round). I have also really enjoyed both of these classes. Other art classes I’ve taken are drawing 1, painting 1, and drawing and painting 2, and I have learned so much in these courses.
Reach out to teachers about classes you’re interested in or have questions about
Oftentimes, teachers are open to help answer any questions. It is really helpful to be kind in your email, and to introduce yourself and past courses you’ve taken. Remember to specify if you took an honors or AP class if that applies to you, and mention how well you did. Then you can ask about the class you are interested in, and let them know what you want to gain from a class so that they can help you figure out if this will be a good fit for you. (Keep in mind that the same course can be taught by multiple teachers). Teachers might take a while to get back to you, but once they do be sure to follow up and thank them for their help. Here is a sample email template:
Dear Mr/Ms Teacher,
My name is _____ and I am in ____ grade. This past year I’ve taken _____ class, (then include your experience with the course, such as if it was easy or difficult and in what way). I am interested in signing up for ____ class. I have heard that you are one of the possible teachers for this course, and I am hoping you would be able to answer a few questions I have. (Here you can ask your questions).
Thank you for your time, and I hope you have a good day!
CCP courses have a different process of registering
Personally, I have never taken a CCP class, so I don’t have much advice to offer on this topic. However, I do know that there’s a slightly different route of registration for these courses. Be sure to discuss them with your counselor so that you meet all deadlines and requirements. CCP courses were also mentioned in this issue of the counselor corner newsletter:
Here you can find links to a CCP Presentation video, CCP CHECKLIST, and CCP Intent to Participate Form.
If you’re a sophomore signing up for junior year, learn about our schools West Shore Career-Tech programs if they interest you.
Again, I personally cannot speak much to this opportunity, but it is also mentioned in the same Counselor Corner Newsletter. There’s a link to a 2-3 minutes video and a short survey about program interest. Their Hands on Day is February 17th. Here’s the link again:
Lastly, remember that online scheduling begins February 15!