Students are receiving their class schedules in the coming weeks and many are scratching their heads when trying to decide what elective classes to take or what sports or clubs to join. While every student is unique in their goals and passions, generally there are two big ideas to keep in mind.
1. Do you truly enjoy the activity you are participating in? For instance, are you taking ceramics because it fits in your schedule or because you enjoy making things with your hands. If the activity is something you enjoy or even a class you are curious about, then go for it. These early interests may be areas you want to explore and study in the years to come. You may love computers and want to do something in computer science one day, then be sure to take a technology class in high school. If you love music, take band or orchestra so that you can use your talents. Taking a random class that is of no real interest to you robs you of the opportunity to explore a class you may enjoy and excel at. High school is a great time to explore the things you love and help you determine potential areas of study for college. Whatever classes you choose, try to commit to an activity that you are passionate about so that when it comes time to apply to college your interests and goals show themselves consistently on paper.
2. It is not about quantity, it is about focus. Joining five clubs where you have minimal impact is less impressive than joining a club where you hold a leadership position AND the club is aligned with your interests. Joining a club for only one or two years is not as significant as joining a club for all four years where you participated in activities that helped you develop as a person. By playing one sport, you can excel and commit to is better than playing four sports where you actually sit on the bench most of the time. The extracuricular activities you pursue should serve as an extension of who you are and the areas that most interest you. Offices of admission are interested in seeing a student who is "well-rounded" which means the student pursues activities that are meaningful to the student and they show committment and passion for the things they are involved in. When choosing activities, focus less on impressing others and more on exploring activities, clubs, sports, etc. that help you develop as a person.
Creating a class schedule requires students to think about their long term plan and ideas for their future. Colleges do not expect freshmen students to know precisely what their passion is, however, they do wish to see a path of development through the activities a student chooses during their four years in high school. Classes and activities that are purposeful will create a clear profile of who the student is inside and outside of the classroom. This profile will be beneficial when the student applies to colleges their senior year.
All the best to students as they return to school this month.
Learn. Study. Grow.