The High School Course Selection Dilemma

Choosing classes for the upcoming high school year is often fraught with questions, typically prioritizing how to meet and exceed the college admissions eligibility requirements: 

  • What’s the “right” number of Advanced Placement (AP), Honors and/or dual enrollment community college courses during one year to be competitive for college admissions?
  • How do I balance managing the work of advanced classes while maintaining my numerous extracurricular commitments (also necessary for college admissions)?

Then, students may wonder about how to explore their individual academic interests

  • How do I find interesting classes when my high school offers limited selection?

Typically, class selection is part of a student’s (with their parents’ complicity) chase of an elusive, often subjective college acceptance, under the duress of believing a college education is a must for obtaining economic prosperity. Therefore, students stress about curating The Perfect Transcript, rather than utilizing their education to learn more about themselves or a subject that’s interesting. 

As a result, many students then appear similar in academic qualifications when applying to college, creating the unintended complexities of “How do I distinguish myself?” and “What can I say in my collegeessays that’s unique about me?” Plus, many students are challenged to choose a major, often lacking confidence in their own interests, understandably so, having contorted themselves to look like their peers. 

So, when choosing courses each high school year, students and parents would be prudent to pause and reflect on the individuality of the student and their interests. Then, families can select advanced courses in subjects most interesting to students, and take electives to explore interests in an effort to define an inherent ability that can be further understood via a 4 year college experience reducing the risk of college malinvestment.

Creative Marbles was founded by teachers who appreciate helping students discover their unique aptitude, first in the academic classroom, now as part of the complex college admissions process. For more information, please contact us

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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