High School Course Planning

When deciding on the right courses for you, consider your interests, strengths, areas of need and post-high school plans. Consult your parents, teachers and counselors to make sure you choose challenging but reasonable courses that fulfill the requirements for graduation. Passing the OGT does not signal that you are ready for college. It is essential that you take challenging coursework in order to be ready for your first courses in college that will count for your degree. Many students who enter college without adequate preparation must pay tuition to take remedial courses which do not count towards their degree. Getting as much preparation as possible in high school will save you money.

  • Think about moving forward to take new and challenging courses. Consider the following options:
  • Take Math for all four years of high school: Four years of math, including Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, a course in data-analysis and statistics, and at least one advanced math course like Statistics or Pre-Calculus can give you a competitive edge when pursuing post-high school options.
  • Advanced Placement (AP) Courses: By taking college-level courses offered at your high school, you have the chance to earn credit at many of the nation's colleges and universities. Successfully completing AP courses and the corresponding exams allows you to
    • get a head start on college-level work;
    • develop study habits for tackling challenging work;
    • improve your writing and critical thinking skills;
    • show your interest in academics;
    • study subjects in great detail and explore the content from a variety of perspectives.
  • You can enroll in AP courses by talking to an AP teacher or coordinator at your school. Discuss the course's workload and preparation you might need before taking a class. If you are a student who attends school at home or at a school that does not offer AP courses, you can participate through independent study. For more information visit: http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Courses: Some schools offer classes that are part of this challenging curriculum. Completion of this program leads to a qualification that is widely recognized by universities throughout the world. For more information on schools in Ohio that offer this type of diploma, visit: http://www.ibo.org/diploma/.
  • Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEOP)/Dual Enrollment: The Postsecondary Enrollment Options Program (PSEOP) was created by the Ohio Legislature to allow high school students around the state to enroll in a college or university. Many Ohio high schools and colleges encourage students to take college-level course while completing high school requirements. This program allows high school freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors taking college classes to have the credit earned applied toward graduation from high school, college or both.

As you explore options for more challenging course work in high school, consider the following facts:

  • 70 percent of the 30 fastest-growing jobs will require an education beyond high school. —Somerville and Yi, 2002
  • 40 percent of all new jobs will require at least an associate degree. —Somerville and Yi, 2002
  • A report from ACT titled Crisis at the Core: Preparing All Students for College and Work finds that only 22 percent of the 1.2 million high school graduates who took the ACT in 2004 achieved scores that showed they were ready for college in all three basic academic area —English, math, and science. According to the report, "certain specific courses—such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and upper-level mathematics courses beyond Algebra II—have a startling effect on student performance and college readiness."
  • Hold high expectations for yourself. By taking more challenging courses and working hard, you can prepare yourself for your next steps. Be sure you are prepared for what comes next!
  • High school graduates who are not in college overwhelmingly believe that they will need more education. More than four in five (84%) of graduates not currently in college believe that they will need more formal education or training to achieve what they hope for in life. More than half (52%) say that they plan to attend college within the next year, and another 26% plan to take classes sometime further down the road.

Source: Are High School Graduates Prepared for College and Work? A Study of Recent High School Graduates, College Instructors and Employers, February 2005.

Get ready! Consider challenging yourself now because the reading levels you will encounter in college and in the work place are much more challenging that what you read in high school today.

  • "Regardless whether a student aspires to postsecondary education, a job, the military, or just to be an informed citizen, the reading ability required is likely to be higher than what is typically required in high school…." —Student Readiness for Post--Secondary Options, Gary L. Williamson, PhD