The course selection process is underway at Hinsdale Central High School. Freshman, sophomores, and juniors are selecting the classes they will be taking for the 2017-18 school year. The process includes short meetings and discussions with teachers, weighing course options, and student-counselor planning conferences.
Having gone through almost four years of high school, I've decided to compile a list of classes that every student at Hinsdale Central should consider taking, whether it be for the knowledge acquired, bonds made, or simply positive reviews. These recommendations may just influence your decisions.
TO THE FRESHMAN:
Your class options are fairly limited for sophomore year. The majority of your classes will continue to be core classes: Math, English, Social Studies, Science, Foreign Language. Although, you can begin to make some distinct choices regarding the difficulty of your classes and the topic of study.
Sophomore year history classes are definitely interesting. Ranging from African American Studies, to Western Civilization. Almost all of the provided Sophomore year Social Studies courses are semester-long. Except for one exception. AP European History is a year-long history class, giving sophomores the opportunity to challenge themselves with (most-likely) their first AP course.
"AP Euro is definitely a challenging class, but we also learn some of the most interesting topics about the history of Europe, and how it has influenced the world," said Borislav Sharapchiev, sophomore.
Everyone seems to be following a different path when it comes to science. Whether you flourish behind the lab bench, or you're simply a science amateur, there is a class for you. Students can choose to study Earth Science, Chemistry, Biology, or even more at this level.
"I really enjoy Honors Chem, because I like to learn about the fundamental building blocks of life and how the world works," said Thomas Monsoon, sophomore.
Most courses come in three levels, traditional (a regular, math-based course), themed (a more interactive, group-oriented course), or honors (naturally, more fast-paced).
"One of the most influential courses I have ever taken has been Earth Science Honors," said Laura Diggs, senior. "Although it was a challenge, the class was an overall fun atmosphere. The projects were great and the topics were even more fascinating."
Math and English courses are still pretty standard for sophomore year. You can choose to be at a more advanced pace, or in regular course. Either way, you're setting up the foundations for harder courses to come in these sections. The foreign language course you chose will most likely be the one you continue with as well, although you're welcome to study even more!
There's also great electives that kids from any grade level can take. Look toward the end of the document to find suggestions on elective courses that have really made an impact on students throughout high school.
TO THE SOPHOMORES:
Many junior year classes are required. Every junior has to take U.S. History, whether that be regular or AP. Your math and science classes are still arranged by your counselor without many options. You continue with the same foreign language class, but you could possibly add a little flair, taking AP Spanish or Spanish 4.
Many juniors choose to study AP Language and Composition, a writing heavy course that challenges students in their ability to understand rhetoric. The other option for students at this grade level is English 3, which is equally as interesting, combining both reading and writing in the class.
"English 3 was a really interesting class, particularly because I like to read, and it's the only English class that is more focused on reading," said Kaitlyn Barbour.
Junior year courses are often times interweaved with senior year courses as well. This means that many of the senior level classes that I will present next are also available for willing juniors. Talk to your counselors to work out the best plan for you.
TO THE JUNIORS:
Senior year will be the best time of your life. Not only is it your last year of high school, and your last chance to live up everything Hinsdale, but it is also your final shot at choosing courses that fit your interests. Every subject has a multitude of senior year classes to choose from, and the options are limitless. It's these courses that shape us and mold us into gauging future interests and college majors.
We'll start with the basics. Every senior has to take a math class, but the options are much more open. Many students choose to take rigorous courses, like AP Calculus AB or BC, one being a semester of college level math in a whole year, and the BC being the more challenging of the two. Yet, some students may be even more advanced, taking these classes their junior year. For you lucky ducks, options include AP Statistics, Math Topics, or AP Computer Science, all of which fulfill the math credit. Kids looking for courses with less rigor could continue with Precalculus, honors or regular, or Introduction to Statistics.
Although science is by no means required as a senior in high school, it is recommended. And the bright side is that Hinsdale Central offers many options. You can take classes that you haven't previously completed, like Physics, MAGO, or Earth Science, or you can take one of the many AP science classes, ranging from Environmental Science to Biology to Chemistry and beyond.
This is where it gets interesting. You've completed all of your required, "historical" courses and now you actually get to study social studies. Whether you have an interest in AP Macroeconomics, AP Government, Sociology, or any of the outer social studies courses, you can take it as a senior. Or even as a junior, if you want it as an elective.
"AP Gov was so great," said CJ Enright, senior. "Mr. Wilbur is a great teacher, the projects were fun, and I honestly felt like I learned many valuable lessons about the way our government is run, especially in a time like this with the new presidency coming up."
Senior year English courses also give out many options. If you want to challenge yourself with strong language classes, an AP Literature course, which focuses primarily on reading and understanding fiction and poetry, is for you. Or if you find writing more interesting, Honors Seminar, an advanced writing course that involves a junior year application process, may be for you. Semester-long courses are also provided, ranging from Speech and Communication, to British Literature, and so on.
"Speech and Communications is a class everyone should take," said Teodora Cirovic, senior. "Public speech is necessary for future success, and this class can help you get over your fear of it, or help you improve on it."
The majority of students can take these classes, whatever grade level they may belong in. Here are some student opinions on electives that don't get much attention:
"A great art class I took was Ceramics," said Laura Diggs, senior. "It's a great creative outlet and you don't need much previous knowledge or experience to succeed in it."
Other courses can introduce you into a field you may later want to study beyond high school.
"Intro to Sports Medicine was the most valuable elective I could have taken," said Riley Burr, senior. "It embodied everything I always wanted to do in a career."
Electives can also be an added interest during the school day, which can help you relax in a rigorous schedule.
"Taking any Cooking class is a really great way to destress during the school day, while also learning life lessons and how to survive on your own," said Cirovic.
Hinsdale Central's electives provide students with the opportunity to engage in whatever creative outlet they may want to. Classes can embody exactly what you want to do after school, or at home.
"Choir was honestly my favorite class all of high school," said Molly Awalt, senior. "I loved it because of the unity within the choir itself, and the chance to express yourself through music."
You can even choose the gym class that most benefits your athletic ability, physical needs, or interests.
"Adaptive PE was a great class to take," said Claire Brennan, senior. "You get to help kids workout and communicate with them in a personal way."
So, as you choose your courses, make sure to assess what's right for you. Whether you want a challenge, an interesting subject, or the what you're used to, Hinsdale Central has the courses for you. Working with your current teachers and counselor, you'll get that perfect schedule for next year.