A Grade 11’s Guide to Course Selection

As the daunting course selection duedates approach, here  are some things to keep in mind when selecting your courses.

By: Evie Tomita (Grade 11)

Listen. We all knew it was coming, but I don’t think any of us were really prepared for it.

But when the teachers start saying words that you never knew were part of the English language, like ‘prerequisites’ and ‘advanced placement’ – you know it’s here. It’s that time of year again, with spring just around the corner, it’s time for course selection.

When you’re choosing for grade eight, course selection seems like it’s all fun and games. The only real struggle is choosing between Digital Arts and Programming. When you’re coming up from the Junior School, your schedule is all a mess of new blocks, teachers, and courses. So, you’re not too worried that you got placed in a different math class than your best friend, because you have another four years to be with them.

Choosing for grade nine becomes a little more difficult. You have a better sense of the teachers and classes that you like, and you may know already that you’re not taking sciences, or that you desperately want to take advanced math. Nevertheless, you choose your courses with a breeze and wait until September to see the results.

Then, the dreaded course selection for Grade ten rolls along, and it seems as if everyone around you is stressing. See, in that meeting with Mr. Huygens about course selection, he convinces just about everyone that the courses you take in grade ten will strongly impact what you pursue in university. This takes a toll on you, and you struggle to decide whether you should take Biology or Chemistry. In the end, you get what you get and realistically (regardless of what Mr. Huygens says in March) you know he’ll always  have your back in when you beg him to switch you out of your advanced math class.

Grade eleven is… well, grade eleven matters. Not to say every preceding year doesn’t, but you have to figure out in grade eleven what general direction you’re heading. Science? Engineering? Humanities? Arts? Business? There are so many courses to choose from and it seems that your schedule will never fit everything you want. My advice? Just pick the subjects you know you’ve enjoyed in the past, because there’s no use taking those you don’t. Life is short and if film is your passion, you should choose it for next year. No matter where you apply for university or how lost you may feel, you might as well be applying for something you love doing.

Grade twelve seems to be the most important year of them all. You have to filter, from all those options, which courses you want for your very final year of high school. My advice is to continue to follow your heart, and to avoid being blinded by the shiny “APs” they’re offering. Please, make sure you have those two spares, and no matter how capable you are, do NOT take a full AP course load. Whatever you choose, choose wisely. It’s your final year, and you’ve got to make it count (and maybe save yourself some time to savour it).

Final words? To every student in the Senior School – not every year is going to be perfect. You’re going to have to take a couple of courses that you probably don’t want to take. But, you’ve got to make those electives count. You want to take Drama? Go ahead! Nothing is stopping you except yourself. Advanced sciences? There’s always a way. APs in grade ten? I would advise against it but, in the end, I guess it’s your decision. Oh, and above all? If you think you can take a course that seems challenging, do yourself a favour, and ask the teacher the approximate hours of homework you’ll have per week.

Definitely, something to consider.

You’ll thank me later.

Happy course selection!

 

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