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Posted on Jan 23, 2012 - 06:00 AM | College Prep | Comments (0)

We like to tell students they can be whatever they want to be. It’s up to them. All they have to do is work hard and dream big.
Unfortunately, plenty of high-school freshmen are already limiting their options, even if they don’t know it.
Consider these facts:
  • 10% of 9th graders don’t take a math class.
  • 18% of 9th graders don’t take science.
  • 29% of 9th graders couldn’t identify a single occupation.
Yet somehow, 90% of all 9th graders believe they will be able to graduate college – even though they’re not really planning for it.
Match High-School Classes to Career & College Options
·        Target your intended major or career interest. Once you identify your likely college major or career (take a personality test if you need help with this), find classes that can advance you in those fields. For example, interested in medicine? Take biology, chemistry, health class, and Latin (if possible). One or two classes won’t be enough.
·        Take Advanced Placement/Honors/International Baccalaureate classes. Once you know the classes you need to take to get ahead, get further ahead by taking the AP or Honors version of those classes. Algebra II may look good to an engineering school, but AP Algebra II looks a lot better.
·        Know the highest-level class you’ll need. If you want to enter one of the STEM fields, you can’t stop at trigonometry. You’ll need calculus. If you’re planning on majoring in language, you can’t take two years of Spanish and stop. Take the high-level class available to meet your post-high-school plans.
Make a Career Preparation Chart
A career preparation chart lets you recognize what level of education and classes you need for specific types of colleges. Everyone expects a basic four-year college to have different requirements than highly competitive colleges, but a career preparation chart can help you identify those differences. Done properly, they can help you chart the differences between a wide variety of colleges, including:
·        Basic four-year colleges
·        Selective colleges
·        Highly competitive colleges
·        Technical schools
·        Engineering schools
You can also use a career preparation chart to keep track of what classes you’ve taken and what classes you still need to meet your educational goals. Make a chart to keep yourself organized (RSC students can simply download one from our website).
It’s important that you match your high-school classes to your goals for life after high school, no matter what they may be. The right classes are a great first step to the right college and the life you want.
Unfortunately, the right classes aren’t all you need to get into the right colleges. You need to what type of college you want to go to, and that requires additional research. There are more than 4,000 colleges in this country. Once you find the ones that can meet your needs, start working to gain admission to them.
The good news is that by taking the right classes early on – in your freshman and sophomore years – you’ll increase your options and improve your chances of getting into the college that’s right for you.
And that means planning and preparing for your goals as early as you can.


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