Is there a "perfect" HS class selection?





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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: May 2003 Archive: Is there a "perfect" HS class selection?
By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 02:24 pm: Edit

My sister and her best friend will start HS next fall. They both attend very competitive private schools, but in different cities. They had very similar classes/program and are both in the top 1-3% of their class and have very similar test scores. Both schools have placed a good number of students in the top colleges. So we can assume that the girls are in the SAME situation.

This week both have to select their classes for next year. What is interesting is that the schools are suggesting different paths.

One school suggest to take all regular classes and only one Honor class (Geometry). The other school proposes a very rigorous program with almost all Honor classes and PREAP. They expect the student to NOT make all A in those classes.

Assuming that both students would end up applying to the top 20 colleges, what does sound like the best approach?

In other words, if you had to do it again, what class selection would you follow?

I know that the consensus is to always try to build the most challenging program. However, in the end, do schools really analyze the curriculum and check if a B+ in a Honor class is better than a A- in a Regular class? Obviously, if one is that brilliant to maintain A in all classes, be it Honors or AP, the question would be moot! :)

Any thoughts or advice?

By Beenthereil (Beenthereil) on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 03:16 pm: Edit

Honors, in every event, is the way to go.

The counselor who recommends anything less should be FIRED!

By Sondogg (Sondogg) on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 03:34 pm: Edit

honors everything...even if you dont get the A, its the rigor of the curriculum that matters.

If you dont believe me, then believe my college acce

By Mum07 (Mum07) on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 03:35 pm: Edit

Good question! I found this site while researching a similar question. My daughter is entering high school next year. She has been recommended for honours in all of her academic courses (English, Algebra II, World Civilization II, Spanish I, Biology). In addition to these courses, she is required to take PE/Health and an Ethics/Communications Course. She attends a competitive private school. The Dean of Students has indicated that an "all honours" curriculum is too challenging for most students. We are trying to decide whether she should take all of the honours courses or drop at least one (World Civ would probably be the first to go). My daughter is a good student but does have to study to maintain her GPA. Any thoughts from those of you with more experience would be greatly appreciated! BTW, I have learned SO much through the posts on this site. Thanks so much to all of you who have taken the time to contribute your knowledge and experience to the discussions! The information provided has certainly been informative and eye-opening. Thanks!

By Mum07 (Mum07) on Friday, May 02, 2003 - 08:23 am: Edit

Bump

By Cbm (Cbm) on Friday, May 02, 2003 - 09:54 am: Edit

I know if my son had to do it all over again (he is a senior), he would have taken every honors and Pre-AP and AP he could. He took many of them, but pulled back in history. We both feel that his chances at an Ivy (his goal) were reduced becuase of it. He was waitlisted at the 2 he applied to. Are your children up to the challenge and what are their college goals?

By Elleneast (Elleneast) on Friday, May 02, 2003 - 10:35 am: Edit

Hi Mum07,

Your daughter should give it a try

My daughter had a similar choice as an incoming freshman and was told the same thing by her Upper School Head (that "all honours" would be too challenging for most students). She took a couple of days and then made the decision to give the schedule a try. From that point on the US Head was totally supportive and encouraged her to go for it. She has continued on with a gut wrenching course load and has enjoyed it ....that being said, there have been occasional weekends where she has had to skip something fun to get the job done and has not been terribly happy about it. If you add on sports, music or any other EC's there is virtually no down time. If that kind of committment is coming from the student it is well worth it, but you can't nag a kid to do this (at least not my kid!).

It wasn't part of any master plan on her part, but she was really pleased to hear,when on her college visits, that the colleges she was interested in all said that they want students who have challenged themselves as much as they can and at the highest level.
There have been a handful of students in my daughter's class who have taken the heaviest, highest level courseload and skipped a grade level in a major or two and I don't think that any of them have regretted it....especially now that they are graduating and are done. ;-)

By Beenthereil (Beenthereil) on Friday, May 02, 2003 - 11:53 am: Edit

...Just a point about "skipping a grade level or two"....

Skipping any grade is DISASTEROUS for an athlete who wants to be competitive at the D1 level for the major sports of basketball, football and baseball.

Don't do it. Give that body a chance to mature into the mind.

By Elleneast (Elleneast) on Friday, May 02, 2003 - 12:49 pm: Edit

At my daughter's school there is the opportunity to skip an academic level in a specific subject area if the student meets certain criteria. The student still graduates with their class. One of our swimmers who will absolutely go D1 has done this in multiple subjects.

My apologies for any misunderstanding.

By Mum07 (Mum07) on Friday, May 02, 2003 - 01:56 pm: Edit

Thanks very much for everyone's input. We have decided to go ahead with the all honours schedule. She seems excited about it and, after reviewing the curriculum, I think that she will experience some very dynamic teachers this way. Looking forward to high school!

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Friday, May 02, 2003 - 06:43 pm: Edit

Tada . . . they made the selection:

Both took the most difficult/challenging path. Let's hope it works out in a few years.

It would be sad to see them ranked BEHIND students who padded their GPA with Honors Choir or Honors Baton twirling and other GPA-boosting fodder.

Thanks for the input.


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