by Stacey Schifferdecker
Next year, my oldest child will be a freshman in high school. As incredible as it seems, that means it’s time for him to start thinking about where he wants to go to college and what he wants to study. It also means he has to
- Be sure he is taking the required classes he needs to get into college
- Make sure his GPA stays good
- Participates in extracurricular activities that look good on a college application
- Distance from home
- Availability of specific course offerings
- Religious affiliation
- Extracurricular activities
Counselors should be helping your child decide what classes to take in high school. You can also visit your state’s Department of Education website to see what courses are required for graduation. The U.S. Department of Education recommends that students take Algebra I in 8th grade and Geometry in 9th grade. They also suggest students take English, Science, and History or Geography every year, as well as foreign language, computer, and visual or performing art classes.
You should also find out what classes are required by the colleges your child is interested in. Keep in mind that the difficulty of your coursework can affect your acceptance into a college. Most colleges prefer students with average grades in tougher courses than high grades in easy courses.
Many high schools now offer Advanced Placement classes in numerous subject areas. Students who take these classes and pass a test at the end of the class receive college credit for their work. Your child can shave a semester or even longer off of college by taking AP classes.
Your child doesn’t have to decide his or her entire future before even getting a driver’s license, but it is a good idea to begin laying the groundwork early for a successful college career later.
Stacey Schifferdecker is the happy but harried mother of three school-aged children—two boys and a girl. She is also a freelance writer, a Children’s Minister, a PTA volunteer, and a Scout leader. Stacey has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and French and a Master’s degree in English. She has written extensively about parenting and education as well as business, technology, travel, and hobbies.
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