Things I Wish I Would I Had Heard Four Years Ago

Rachel Haywood
Editor in Chief

There are some things that underclassmen need to know that they haven’t figured out yet. As we approach the halfway point for this school year time is running out to make the necessary changes. Returning students can save this information for next year.

Freshmen: First year students have four core classes, one required semester of physical education and one semester of careers. These students only have their choice of two classes. My advice? Consider the diploma path you are trying to complete and start there. Foreign languages fill up fast, and freshmen draw the short straw (their schedules are filled last) and might not get the first classes they request.  Alternate choices are the most important in that situation.

This is also the year to experiment with extracurricular clubs and even some sports. “The early bird catches the worm.” Those who start early have the best chances of finding something that they like and can excel in for the remainder of their four years.

Sophomores: This is the year to start thinking about taking the Dual Credit and AP courses available to students.  Advanced classes weight the GPA differently, and if students complete the course with a high enough grade or pass the AP test, they can receive college credit. While this chance may seem enticing, many underclassmen take too many of these advanced classes and they stress themselves out with the over-sized work load. If students took a foreign language in middle school, that credit can be transferred and they only have to take foreign language through junior year. This is especially helpful when space becomes limited in the upper levels. Sophomores are automatically placed in one semester of physical education and one semester of Health along with their four core classes.

Sophomores should also start thinking about what they might be doing after high school. This prepares them to take specialized classes in the following two years. The PSAT test is also available free of charge for sophomores to take in October. Taking this test gives students an idea of what they might score on the SAT in the following years.

Juniors: Anthis Career Center opportunities offer the biggest change for juniors. As long as students are on track with the rest of their diploma credits, it is possible to leave for half of the day and learn in this hands-on program. Students leave Anthis with a certification and the chance to graduate with Technical Honors. Juniors also have the chance to take up to three electives. This is probably the most important year as far as academic standards go. Teachers give the most challenge to the juniors. If juniors do not get placed in a level three foreign language, chances are they will have to take two years of a different language to satisfy the credit requirement for the Honors diploma. This is one circumstance that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.

Making the most of four years in high school can benefit everyone in the long run. From academics to extracurriculars, high school students need to be aware of their future and plan accordingly. Time is running out for seniors, but it’s never too late for the underclassmen.

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2 Comments on “Things I Wish I Would I Had Heard Four Years Ago”

  1. Susan Huth-Beckley December 12, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    Very informative Rachel…nice job.

  2. rachelhaywoodnrp December 12, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    Thank you 🙂

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