I have long advocated keeping as many doors open as possible as our child progresses through high school. If we don’t keep a clear picture of the end result of these four years, we can have omissions in our student’s profile that will close the door to some types of majors and certain colleges.
At a minimum, we need 4 years of classes of all categories:
• English with a good deal of composition experience
• math through calculus
• science including biology, chemistry and physics
• social studies
• foreign language (preferably the same language)
• some electives
• it is a good idea to have some coding (even if your student isn’t a STEM kid)
I usually recommend 4-6 AP classes in this mix and the subsequent tests. Keep in mind that, for many students, this is the baseline and they will add specialty classes in their area of interest on top of this basic framework.
Your student will, of course, need the SAT or the ACT (not both). A good number of colleges require 2 or 3 SAT Subject Tests. These are high school level tests; however, colleges will not substitute an AP score for the SAT Subject requirement even though AP is college level.
A STEM student that might major in any type of engineering should take Math 2 and either chemistry or physics. Other students should take their first test in the area of their strength, usually following an AP class so they will be as prepared as possible, and a second in a different category to prove their wide-ranging skill set.
It is better to have depth rather than breadth in the activity profile. A few meaningful activities that enrich our child’s life can help them develop many skills and could even help determine a future career path.
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