top of page
  • Jill Madenberg

Jill’s Top Tips for Choosing High School Classes

Deciding which classes to take in high school can be overwhelming! Let’s simplify it. You want to consider your school's requirements, and your high school and college aspirations should be weighed in. In addition, it’s important to keep your abilities and interests in mind and to maintain a balanced, healthy daily life. With so much to consider, it helps to start the planning process early.

If college admission is your priority, then choosing the right classes is essential. The high school transcript is almost always the most important document in your application, and although one particular class on a transcript may not determine the outcome, the whole picture matters.

Here are Jill’s recommendations to guide you:


  • Take the most rigorous courses you can handle without overdoing it.

  • Taking rigorous classes in areas of interest is another way to show colleges you are ready to academically succeed at the next level.

  • Build writing, critical thinking, problem solving, and time management skills.

  • AP, IB, and Honors classes will help prepare you to academically succeed in college.

  • You do NOT need to take every AP/Honors class available to you. Even the 'top' colleges want to see you live a balanced life.

  • When appropriate, continue with English, Social Studies, Math, Science, and a Foreign Language throughout high school.

  • Develop good work habits! Midterms and finals won't feel as overwhelming.

  • Talk to your school counselor about your interests and class selection options.


  • Pursue your passion. Don't have one? Don't worry! Electives are a great way to explore what you might enjoy.

  • Enjoy a specific club? Perhaps there is a complementary elective class to dive deeper.

  • If you have an interest but your high school doesn't offer an elective in the subject area, consider an online class or perhaps one at your local community college.

  • Elective choices can show colleges what interests you. If you might want to study Business and your high school has a strong department, take a few classes, and ace them!

  • Try something new! Electives are a great way to get out of your comfort zone and learn. If it's a super hard class, ask if you can take the elective P/F. That way you can focus on learning, while keeping up your core class grades.

Beginning your High School journey and have questions about class selection and more? Jill can help:


bottom of page