Does college look at what classes you take in HS?

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Internetmeme
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Does college look at what classes you take in HS?

Postby Internetmeme » Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:33 am UTC

Hi,

I am a freshman in High School. I am taking Geometry I Honors, English II Honors, Global Studies I Honors, Chorus, Integrated Business Apps (an easy class about Microsoft Office), my one PE class needed to graduate, and have credits for Biology I Honors and Algebra I Honors. I plan on taking a lot of classes, that have to deal with pharmacy, which is what I want to go to college for. What other job will often give you 60k a year starting pay?

I plan on taking things like Sports Medicine, Bio II, Chem I and II, etc..., Statistics, and I want to take Calculus AP for the challenge.

Now, does college look at these classes, to show that you *know* what you want to do, or do they just look and mark it off as "Oh, he's a science major, wonder what he thinks he wants to do"?

Also, is there anything anyone would recommend taking next year?

Thanks,
Internetmeme
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Re: Does college look at what classes you take in HS?

Postby Sartorius » Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:53 am UTC

I'm not sure what you're trying to ask. If you're asking if colleges will look at your high school class record and go "zomg a pharmacist!" then I don't think college cares that much. You pick what you want to do, they think you've got it covered, and they aren't going to force you into something you don't want to do. Also, many people come into college thinking they know what they want to do and end up changing for various reasons.
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Re: Does college look at what classes you take in HS?

Postby Maseiken » Sat Jan 31, 2009 3:14 am UTC

In Australia it goes by two Rounds. First round offers are people that got the clearly In ENTER score.
So, The Uni Takes it's courses, looks at how many people applied, how many placements there are, and uses this to find an appropriate score to gain about the right number of people in the course.

The Second round happens later, when they have a better idea of who's enrolling in which course, and the courses with spots left over will give them to students with lower ENTER scores, but more appropriate subject selections and scores.
Also, some courses will require certain subjects to have been passed at a certain level before entry.
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Re: Does college look at what classes you take in HS?

Postby Why Two Kay » Sat Jan 31, 2009 3:47 am UTC

Don't "slack off" your Junior or Senior years. And from personal experience, get those "required" classes like PE, Health, etc out of the way as early as possible. There are lots of classes that are not offered to Freshmen/Sophomores (such as AP Statistics here) and you don't want to waste time later taking those silly courses when you could be loading up on extra AP and advanced courses that are only offered in the later years.

PE in Junior year = waste of a semester.
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Re: Does college look at what classes you take in HS?

Postby Aiko » Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:34 pm UTC

My mom does admissions for Harvard, so I'm best-versed in their policy, but I imagine it's similar for other schools. I know that Harvard looks to see at what level you're in in the classes that are offered (are you in the highest math offered, science offered, english offered?), and if you are 'maximizing your opportunities', which is code for "are you taking three frees when you could be taking other classes?" and basically taking advantage of independent studies and stuff. I don't think they look and see if you're more math inclined or whatever, but it's useful to have that stuff to bring up in interviews (I like english, so I'm taking three humanities classes).

Again, I think it works differently for different schools, but the same general idea should pull through. Hope that helps.

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Re: Does college look at what classes you take in HS?

Postby LaserGuy » Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:04 am UTC

Internetmeme wrote:Hi,

I am a freshman in High School. I am taking Geometry I Honors, English II Honors, Global Studies I Honors, Chorus, Integrated Business Apps (an easy class about Microsoft Office), my one PE class needed to graduate, and have credits for Biology I Honors and Algebra I Honors. I plan on taking a lot of classes, that have to deal with pharmacy, which is what I want to go to college for. What other job will often give you 60k a year starting pay?

I plan on taking things like Sports Medicine, Bio II, Chem I and II, etc..., Statistics, and I want to take Calculus AP for the challenge.

Now, does college look at these classes, to show that you *know* what you want to do, or do they just look and mark it off as "Oh, he's a science major, wonder what he thinks he wants to do"?

Also, is there anything anyone would recommend taking next year?

Thanks,
Internetmeme


I would say a good general rule of thumb is that you should take the hardest courses that you can get A's in. Colleges/universities (especially good ones) will almost certainly consider the courses you took, but not necessarily in the way you're thinking. They don't care about whether the combination of courses is suited to your program or not, per se...they care about the difficulty of the courses you took. If you're going into science, I would say that you should be taking the hardest chemistry, physics, and math that you can manage.

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Re: Does college look at what classes you take in HS?

Postby Ajtucker22 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:40 am UTC

They look, but not as much as you think. Also, my freshman year I wanted to be a Vet. My sophmore and Junior year I wanted to join the Air Force. Now here I am, senior year wanting to be a web and graphic design, also wanting to write fiction in my spare time. I'm pretty sure thats going to change a little bit more before I graduate in june.

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Re: Does college look at what classes you take in HS?

Postby Internetmeme » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:14 pm UTC

Alright, so then according to the other posters, am I correct in assuming that they (the colleges) don't care what you want to be, as long as you take the highest level classes that you can get a good grade in for that field? Also, thanks for the information Maseiken, but I'm in the United States, not Australia (and it's my understanding it works somewhat the same way in the UK?).

So, I want to be a pharmacist, because of this I would like to assume that they would look favorably on taking Physical Science Hon, Bio II Hon, and Chem I Hon in my sophomore year.

Which brings up some questions:
1)Would they look favorably upon me taking Calculus AP in my senior year, even though it has absolutely nothing to do with medicine?
2)How do you get into AP classes? Do you have to apply to get in?
3)I know that for doctors in a hospital, not a pharmacy, that they have them rotate around the different wards, despite if they are what the final result will be. Will I have to do the same thing as a pharmacist? I am going to be going to MUSC (Medical University of South Carolina) when I get done with High School and College, which is a pretty good hospital taking up several blocks in Charleston.
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Re: Does college look at what classes you take in HS?

Postby Kizyr » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:46 pm UTC

For a general answer to your question, the general rule of thumb is to take the most challenging classes you can (but avoid overloading yourself). Take it one step at a time, though; what you want to do can change drastically between 9th and 12th grade (and between the first and last year of college). For anyone going into medicine, however, I would recommend "setting yourself up" early by making sure you get in some challenging science courses during high school (e.g., AP Bio, AP Chem).

At the high school level, if you're already planning on going to college then there's not much customization you can do based on what field you want to go into. For me, the most customized my classes got for my eventual career was the fact that I didn't bother taking AP Bio (had no interest in medicine), and that I took AP Economics. Most of the other classes, particularly Junior-Senior year, were the usual top-level classes.

Internetmeme wrote:1)Would they look favorably upon me taking Calculus AP in my senior year, even though it has absolutely nothing to do with medicine?

What do you mean it has nothing to do with medicine?
http://www.xkcd.com/435/

Shorter answer: yes. AP classes are the clearest indication that you're challenging yourself. Also, consider the fact that most colleges have math courses as part of their GCRs. Getting a 4 or 5 on an AP Calc and AP English exams is a sure-fire way to free up time later in college.

Internetmeme wrote:2)How do you get into AP classes? Do you have to apply to get in?

Depends entirely on your high school. Technically, you can take the AP tests without having to take a class at all. My high school allowed you to take it as long as you had the prerequisite courses (i.e., pre-calc for AP Calculus, biology I for AP Bio, etc.).

Internetmeme wrote:3)I know that for doctors in a hospital, not a pharmacy, that they have them rotate around the different wards, despite if they are what the final result will be. Will I have to do the same thing as a pharmacist? I am going to be going to MUSC (Medical University of South Carolina) when I get done with High School and College, which is a pretty good hospital taking up several blocks in Charleston.

I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking this, but... you needn't worry too much that far down the road. At this point (when you're just a semester into your freshman year), the amount of planning you've done is way more than most folks, and I think more than adequate to set yourself up for a really good high school record. At this point, you want to make sure you don't pigeonhole yourself into one particular track and neglect other subjects that may interest you. KF
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Re: Does college look at what classes you take in HS?

Postby Fuzzypickles » Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:25 pm UTC

Honestly, I'd say it's three main things that matter: Grades, APs, and if you're taking a full load. If you're doing Woodworking, Metals, Fashion, and Foods Senior year they're going to look at you funny. This should be obvious. Load up the APs (assuming you'll be doing fine in them) and they'll be happy. Any other classes are probably superfluous.

Don't worry about making all your classes related to your career.Wherever you go there'll be general requirements anyway and you'll need classes in English/History/whatever so don't think "oh, AP US History doesn't relate to pharmacy so I don't need it." There's a decent chance you'll switch your career decision anyway.

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Re: Does college look at what classes you take in HS?

Postby Masily box » Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:30 am UTC

I'm basically reiterating what other people have said, but just to make the point that they're right:

Internetmeme wrote:1)Would they look favorably upon me taking Calculus AP in my senior year, even though it has absolutely nothing to do with medicine?

First: it has a lot to do with medicine. Second, almost any college is going to require you to pass at least a semester of calc anyway, so they definitely care about it. Third, you don't need to plan out the rest of your career/life as a freshman and high school, and you certainly shouldn't restrict what classes you take because you think they aren't relevant. Keep doing history, literature, fine arts, and everything too--and at as high a level as you can. Colleges look most favorably on well-rounded students, and anyway, there's more to life than just math/science.

Internetmeme wrote:2)How do you get into AP classes? Do you have to apply to get in?

This depends entirely on your school, so ask a school counselor or someone. (Actually, it might be good to get to know your school counselor, since they have to write a recommendation for your college apps. Not that that recommendation actually seems to matter, but if they actually do know you and have something positive to say, it might stand out.) As someone else said, you can also study on your own and take the AP test in May without having taken the course.

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Re: Does college look at what classes you take in HS?

Postby Alpha Omicron » Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:24 pm UTC

No, they don't. Beyond ensuring that you have marks in the classes they required you take to get into the program you applied for.
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Re: Does college look at what classes you take in HS?

Postby Poochy » Wed Feb 11, 2009 12:19 am UTC

From what I've seen, they don't really care about what classes you take specifically, but they do look at the level of classes, such as the number of honors, AP, IB, etc. courses you take, whether you're taking Calculus or Pre-Calc your senior year, etc. Same for electives: The more challenging an elective, the better it looks on your transcript. Advanced Japanese will look good, Underwater Basket-Weaving will look really bad.

Also...
Internetmeme wrote:What other job will often give you 60k a year starting pay?
My advice: Don't pick a career just based on the pay. Pick something that you like to do and are interested in. If you're concerned about money, take a list of careers that you'd be intrinsically motivated to do, then look at how much they pay.

To directly answer your question, though: many technology-based jobs. A student with a B.Sc. in some kind of engineering or computer science major from a fairly good IT university could probably expect $60K+/year starting pay. And one with a Master's degree would probably be settling if he/she took a $60K starting pay position. (And on the extreme end of the scale, you'd look really silly if you tried to offer any five-figure starting pay to someone who just got his Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT.)
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Re: Does college look at what classes you take in HS?

Postby Sartorius » Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:32 am UTC

Internetmeme wrote:l3)I know that for doctors in a hospital, not a pharmacy, that they have them rotate around the different wards, despite if they are what the final result will be. Will I have to do the same thing as a pharmacist? I am going to be going to MUSC (Medical University of South Carolina) when I get done with High School and College, which is a pretty good hospital taking up several blocks in Charleston.


My brother is a nuclear pharmacist, and he did rotations. I don't remember what all he did, but it was pretty diverse.
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Re: Does college look at what classes you take in HS?

Postby Averazul » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:44 am UTC

It's been my experience that all high school curricula are not created equal. Everyone knows that the SAT is a crock of shit that doesn't actually say a hell of a lot about the student who took it, but it's a standardized metric that can be used to compare students (within some margin). What I mean is that you and I can go to different high schools and get all A's for 4 years in all of our AP/honors english courses, but I'm going to get a 780 on the SAT reading and a 750 on the writing, while you get 580 and 550, probably because your highschool english program sucks. Same goes for AP tests. An A in AP physics doesn't count for nearly as much as a 5 on the test.

I was accepted into the CalPoly SLO EE department with a 3.3 highschool GPA, 2140 on the SAT, 5 on the chem and physB ap tests, and an A in pre-cal my senior year. Yeah, no calculus.


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