Choose Your High School Courses and Schedules

Think about high school courses and college credits.


Think ahead

Your years in middle school will pass very quickly. Then you'll face a new adventure — high school! Take some time now to think about the courses you may want to take then.

Plan to take all courses necessary for graduation

Every school district requires some specific courses to meet graduation requirements.

  • Ask your middle school counselor for a list of your required courses. When you're in eighth grade, a high school official will discuss these requirements, and other things about high school, with you.

Review college admission course requirements

In addition to your school district's graduation requirements, you also need to consider the courses you need for admission into college.

  • For example, your district may not require two years of a foreign language to graduate from high school, but a majority of 4-year colleges and universities do require at least two years of the same foreign language for admission.
  • Many colleges also require certain math courses, often including Algebra I, geometry, and Algebra II. Select several colleges you might consider attending and check with them to see what courses they require. Either call the admissions office or visit the college's website for details.

Investigate courses that will count for college credit

Another thing to consider when planning for high school is whether you want to take any courses that might offer you college credit.

  • Upon completion of these courses, such as "Advanced Placement" and "International Baccalaureate," you take an exam and, depending on your score, you may be eligible for college credit. Some high schools also offer "articulated" courses. These are high school courses, such as drafting, that some colleges, through an agreement with your school district, accept for college credit.
  • "Dual credit" courses are another option that might be available. These are actual college courses that a school district lets students take to count toward high school graduation. If you're interested in getting a jump on college while you're still in high school, talk to your middle school counselor about whether these special courses might be available in high school. It's probably a good idea to think about what you might need to do in high school to be prepared to participate.

Complete a "Four-Year Plan"

To assist you in visualizing your high school courses, you should complete a "Four-Year Plan."

  • Print this plan, then record your courses in pencil (in case you change your mind). Share your plan with your counselor and your parents. To get where you want to be at the end of your four years in high school, start planning now!

Here are other documents located on AIE.org that you may be interested in: