As McNicholas moves into the second semester of the current school year, planning has begun for the 2018-2019 school year, including student scheduling.
The freshman, sophomore, and junior classes were given scheduling sheets during advisory/homeroom on Jan. 24, and they are to be returned by Feb. 1. Students will conference with their school counselor during theology classes the week of Feb. 5, and final schedules will be sent out the first week of August.
“Challenge yourself without over-challenging,” Director of Counseling and College Readiness Alaina Way said. “[Students] need to be in classes that are challenging for them but they can still succeed in.”
Some seniors wanted to advise underclassmen in scheduling as well. “Take at least 3 years of a language, but 4 is even better,” senior Sam Veeneman said. “Also, always take a class that colleges will want to see before you take a study hall. Only take a study hall if you have a free spot in your schedule,” he added.
Way said that colleges want to see that students have challenged themselves in school when reviewing applications. According to Way, colleges require 4 credits in English and math, at least 3 in science and social studies, and most want at least 2 years of foreign language. Additional McNick requirements include 4 theology credits, 1 fine art credit, and 0.5 credits in health and PE.
Senior Emily Lawrence suggested finishing required credits like health and PE during freshman and sophomore year to free up junior and senior year schedules. She also said that, regardless of what classes students take, they should ask questions, participate, and avoid procrastination. “Whether it’s in class, clubs, sports, theater, whatever, high school goes by too fast to waste it [or] be afraid.”
Way also suggested students plan ahead and pay attention to what their schedules are building up to in subsequent years. This includes watching out for courses with prerequisites, making sure to have strong foundations for AP courses, and taking electives that will help in future careers.
“Even [elective] classes require effort,” Lawrence agreed. “They’re not all that easy. Make sure you’re actually interested in the class instead of just filling up your schedule.”
Senior Trevor Wray added that students should look for how their classes can be applied to clubs, such as Rocket Report or Senior Video. Wray took Video Editing and Film Making his junior year and works on Rocket Report this year. “I took both classes junior year and, being on Rocket Report [this year], I wish I would’ve waited ‘til this year so I could work on it during school,” he said. Wray and Lawrence recommended students take Video Editing and Film Making sometime during their years at McNick. Other classes seniors suggested included Anatomy, Ceramics, Creative Writing, and Psychology.
Overall, Way urged that students should be happy with and enjoy their schedule. She said students should focus on “what’s the best placement for you,” rather than what classes look like to other people. “Take any honors classes you feel comfortable with,” Veeneman added.
If students turn out disliking their schedule or have any scheduling questions, they should talk to their school counselor. Way said they’ll do what they can to fix any problems.
“Don’t feel pressured to take classes for college,” senior Lauren Steinkuhl said. “Do what makes you happy.”