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By: RTSplayer , 5:22 PM GMT on June 26, 2014
First of all:
Unless you plan on being a College Athlete or Sports Coach, you should take the minimum of P.E. in High School as possible.
Unless you definitely plan on joining the Marine Corps, you should not take more than 2 courses in JROTC. The third and fourth years are mostly a waste of time if you are planning on going to College, as you won't learn anything new in that time period.
Recommendations for your High School Curricula so you don't get totally blind-sided by your first two semesters of College.:
Trig/Advanced Math (required)
Pre-calculus*/ High School Calculus if possible, if offered
Computer Literacy (Hands on, not correspondence).
"Physical Science" or equivalent, required.
Physics 2* (High School if available)
Foreign Language: Get some teaching CDs/DVDS and watch them in addition to High School Classes, otherwise you're pretty well screwed if you don't have a bi-lingual family. A college Spanish class does not allow ANY speaking in English after the first week, for example. If you didn't get an "A" in Spanish 2 in High School, you'll probably fail.
Take anything possible during summer to try to fit this all in.
Junior High (your future child, or your younger sibling):
Algebra 1 if offered and qualified.
Pre-algebra if not.
Take Algebra 1 as correspondence or in a technical school during summer if you did not get in 8th grade, this will free up more room for math or sciences in your Junior and Senior year in High School.
* I did not take in High School, but should have.
If you're serious about college, you need to graduate High School with about 3 to 6 more credit-hours than what is actually on your advanced curriculum in order to REALLY be prepared for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) related majors.
If you know you want to do something in another field, such as Business, Journalism, History, or Education, then you should take 3 to 6 (High School equivalent) credit hours worth of related courses in those fields during High School, ABOVE the "advanced" High School Curricula. That means additional English, Foreign Language, or History related courses outside of High School, or at the very least tutoring, free if possible, paid if not, in Foreign Language ahead of time.
Get your parents to pay for it, or see if you can get financial aid. Skip some Christmas gifts or something, and save money to go.
If you can't pay for a full blown course and credit, or if you don't feel you can do well on all of that, either take the extra courses during the Summer, or get a tutor who can at least teach you the subjects above and beyond High School level WHILE you are in High School.
Sure you need to have fun, but one hour per week getting tutored by somebody in calculus, for example if you didn't get it as a senior or junior in High School, even if even not for a grade, would help you immeasurably when you get to college.
If you know limits, derivatives and integrals for some basic types of functions, and some 3d geometry, then when you take the college level Calculus class you are going to be in a lot better shape than I was when I started my first Calculus class.
This can literally make the difference between an A or B in a course vs a Drop/Fail for the first attempt. Don't take it lightly.
When possible, in college try to take math classes a semester ahead of the allegedly equivalent physics class. In spite of what the curricula says, you probably will not be ready for the physics class, even if the counselor says you are, unless you've done some of the above options I discussed while you were in High School.
If you don't plan on going to college, which is generally a bad idea, since you need at least a 2 year degree to do just about anything now, then you still need business math and I'd recommend some drafting and shop, welding, or electrical related classes. A four year, Bachelor's, Degree is not for everyone, but in general you want at least a 2 year degree or certification. This is mandatory even if you plan on doing hand's on/blue collar work, and ever want to be above entry level. Just like the "College Prep" above, you should be taking night or summer classes in the skill or trade you want to employ.
High School is not enough to prepare you for a real job or career, unless you get very, very lucky and are placed in a hire-and-train situation, or have family connections, and it is not enough to prepare you for college either. Colleges currently have a 66% dropout rate, and generally only people who made 3.0 or above in High School even attempt college. This isn't to scare people, it's to make people realize the education system is inadequate.
If anyone else has any comments or clarifications feel free to post. This is not meant to be exhaustive and is more focused on anyone doing anything related to a Major or Minor STEM.
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