Picking Electives Efficiently

AP letters sent after choosing electives. If you're interested in being prepared for college, or getting college credit ahead of time, taking an AP class might be for you. It's important that you really take the time to consider the electives available to you.

Melissa Orozco

AP letters sent after choosing electives. If you’re interested in being prepared for college, or getting college credit ahead of time, taking an AP class might be for you. It’s important that you really take the time to consider the electives available to you.

Melissa Orozco, Staff Writer

Imagine a schedule with only the four most basic classes that everyone is required to have: English, history, math, and science. The average school day would last 3 to 4 hours and every student would be home before lunch time.

As great as that sounds, all of those extra hours of classes are needed to find and strengthen a student’s interests. Interests may not seem as important now, but they should be what pushes students into figuring out what they want to do in college and, essentially, for the rest of their lives. So while some classes are picked for a student, that student has the same power to fill up their schedule with classes that they would like to take, whether it’s in the Fine Arts Department or it’s STEM related. That’s the beauty of choosing elective classes. A trip down the hall from math class to journalism or from physics to psychology never fails to brighten the day because, as important as the core classes are, it’s the elective classes that should mirror what a student really wants to learn.

At Round Lake Senior High School, the classes have been separated into five groups that all lead to different career pathways.

The Arts and Humanities are used to explore, share, and recreate expressions of the human experience mostly through art, literature, and philosophy. A few elective classes for the Arts and Humanities include:

  • Drama
    • Students will appreciate themselves as individuals and performers. This course has been developed to introduce students to various aspects of theater and the production that accompanies it.
  • Drawing
    • This course teaches the elements of art such as line, shape, color, texture, space, and form. Students will be exposed to the work of important artists from past to present and will create their own art using various techniques.
  • Psychology
    • In this course, students will learn and use psychological research methods, including ethical considerations. Students will also learn and apply psychological theories with topics like the biological bases of behavior, sensation and perception, learning and cognition, motivation, developmental psychology, testing and individual differences, treatment of abnormal behavior, and social psychology.

For Business and Communications, some classes to consider taking are:

  • Computer concepts
    • Computer Concepts should help with using software concepts like Microsoft Office. The students will learn how to create charts and presentation.
  • Business Incubator
    • The class should stimulate students and get them interested in creating their own products or services.
  • Journalism
    • Here the students will produce an actual online school newspaper and end-of-the-year magazine while learning the skills of journalism along the way.

Next is Health and Natural Sciences, which involve classes like:

  • Anatomy and physiology
    • The course covers anatomical terminology, and takes an in-depth look at body systems. This class is recommended for students planning a science, health, or medical related career.
  • Sociology
    • This class focuses on issues such as culture, socialization, deviance and social control, collective behavior, and inequalities of race, gender and social class. And their influence on the human race as a whole.
  • Biology
    • Students will experience lab work and data analysis through; evolution, energy, ecology, and genetics. Through the labs, students will gain knowledge and skills in science practices.

The Leadership and Human Services pathway include classes like:

  • American culture
    • Students will examine the national culture of the United States, culture involving literature, history, gender, race, pop culture, music, and regionalism.
  • Multicultural literature
    • Multicultural Literature exposes students to ideas in culture, gender, race, religion, and ethnicity and helps them make connections between different cultures.
  • Criminalistics
    • This class is for students with an interest in criminal justice or law. The class offers students the opportunity to learn, explore, and develop skills necessary to solve crimes.

Lastly, for STEM and Manufacturing some of the recommended classes would be:

  • Digital Graphics
    • Digital Graphics teaches students about the elements and principles of design through the use of a computer and will show students the fundamental principles and skills that are involved.
  • Physics
    • This class will expose students to mass and charge, structure, systems, and the interactions between objects.
  • Statistics
    • Statistics provides an introduction to statistics and probability and is designed for students who are planning to attend college. The methods will be applied to real world situations and data.

 

The counselors work hard to stress the importance of choosing the right classes as soon as freshman year when the students begin to take advantage of all the opportunities that the school provides, “We want students to choose electives that they are both interested in and will help them be successful in the future,” said Sarah Schaefer, a counselor at RLHS.“We are doing more to make sure that students are really thinking about elective choices by focusing our elective presentation on Career Pathways and giving them over a month to read through descriptions and choose appropriate electives.”

Choosing the right classes will determine success, especially when it comes to the higher level courses. AP/Honors courses are always said to be difficult but experiencing those classes will prepare a student for the rigorous work in college. “Taking AP and Honors classes was a lot of hard work but I’m glad I took those classes because I was able to get ahead and get used to the type of work that I see in college now,” said David Valdez, a RLHS graduate who now attends the University of Illinois at Chicago. For students who are considering taking an AP/Honors, they are not easy classes, but definitely something worth trying in order to not only prepare for college, but to increase chances of getting accepted into a choice school. “It is important that if a student is wanting to get into an honors course, they are advocating for themselves through their teachers,” said Schaefer.

AP classes are very serious business. They are tough, but they can also be very rewarding in the end. While considering an AP class make sure to be as informed as possible. Talk to the teacher who has that class and make sure to fully understand the responsibilities that come with it.

In addition to the fine selection of courses that the school offers, there is technology campus, which takes a student’s strengths and interests and trains them to know the most from their trade. Technology campus also offers courses from the Arts and Humanities like cosmetology to courses from Leadership and Human Services like Emergency Medical Technician.

Choosing courses should not be taken lightly and some serious thought should be put into choosing interests. We must take advantage of this opportunity since we have the freedom to learn what we like for 3 hours every day.