Entering a new school year can be intimidating for some students. The mundane yet overwhelming task of picking classes can add unnecessary stress to a student's life. Picking classes is stressful for several reasons: navigating how to demonstrate rigor on a transcript, deciding how heavy of a work load a student is willing to take on, and the anxiety surrounding possible college applications. In an effort to subdue their stress, many students decide to hyperfocus on one of these reasons when choosing classes, instead of finding a way to balance all three interests. To prevent this from happening, there are three steps you should take: pick your strongest subject and increase rigor, pick electives surrounding possible major/career paths, and pick classes with teachers who are the sponsors of extracurriculars.
When you’re picking new classes, you must identify your biggest strength and increase the rigor however you can. For example, if your strength is math, take the most rigorous math class available to you. This can be done in several ways, most commonly by transitioning from honors classes to AP classes. But there are more unconventional ways to do this! If AP Calculus seems too intimidating for you, increase math rigor in extracurriculars; become a math tutor or join the math club!
Another way to make picking classes easier is by choosing electives that fit or create a niche. If you want to major in Biology, pick STEM electives with increasing rigor in the subject. Electives like AP Environmental Science demonstrate interest in a STEM field and allow you to start the process of creating your niche. This will help tremendously when applying to colleges since admissions officers like seeing well-rounded but subject-focused students.
One of the easiest ways to ensure smooth sailing when picking classes is by choosing teachers you are familiar with! Ask upperclassmen and friends what teachers they liked for your harder subjects and choose accordingly. Any way that you can make your school year easier is worthwhile! Make sure these teachers fit your learning style and classroom needs, but keep in mind that quality education will always pay off. If you really want a teacher but know quality-wise there's another who is better, pick the better teacher. The knowledge you take from this class will help you more than a free period will.
Overall, picking schedules can be stressful and time consuming. To make this easier, increase rigor where you can handle it, create a niche, and choose teachers that will pay off in the long run!