Course Selection: The Pressure of Deciding What Classes to Take

Delaney Vallee '24, Contributing Writer

As course selection is coming in full force, there’s been constant worry-filled chatter among students about what courses they are taking next year. 

Around WHS, it has been a common misconception that the only way to be successful in college is to take the highest level of classes available. I am here to say that is not the case and that stereotype is false.

The best way to select your schedule is to consider the following: what after-school activities you do, how much time you would like to spend with friends and family, how much sleep do you need, and what subjects you are interested in. Your schedule should be based on your life, not what will look good on your transcript.

The stress of managing school work as well as family life, hobbies, and sleep, can be extremely exhausting; especially when school work is getting in the way of your basic needs. Earning good grades is important, but developing as a person is too.

Personally, it feels like many students think taking a level three class is a college dealbreaker, or that they need to have all honor level classes on their schedule. It just is upsetting to have to watch people be sleep-deprived and stressed constantly, just because they believe they need to take certain classes in order to have an exceptional transcript.

Taking high-level classes is great if you enjoy the subjects, have the time for them, and actually want to take them. But if you’re doing it all because of the pressure that society puts on young people, then you’re not setting yourself up for success despite what you might think so.

There’s a misconception that the only thing that matters for prestigious colleges is to be at the top of your class. Yes, your grades are an important factor, but the activities you do out of school and how you spend your time matter as well.

Colleges look at your interests and involvement in your community just as much as they do your grades. Personal statements and teacher recommendations are important as well. So, as important as your grades are, it is critical to make time to be involved in your community. And one way to balance that is to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself by sleeping, eating, self-care, and anything you need to do to be your best.

Ultimately, I am not saying that you shouldn’t take all the hardest level classes offered, what I am saying is that you shouldn’t feel like you have to meet a certain academic level, in order to be successful.

It can be scary to hear about all the high-level classes your friends are taking, so if you’re ever in that situation, remind yourself that you and your friends aren’t the same, so there is no pressure to meet their academic level.