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29-07-2008 by Cindy He

Five tips about Course Selection

I don’t think I need to explain this term. Course selection, it is pretty self-explanatory. It is a simple yet crucial process. As a soon-to-be university student, I want to share something about course selection.

1. Know what you need. I believe for most students, you always want to take more courses than you are allowed to. There are so many dazzling courses offered, but you can only take eight (in my case). First and foremost, take all those mandatory courses. In this case, mandatory courses are courses you need in order to graduate from high school. At this moment, you ought to have a rough idea about what you want to in the future and what do want to major in as well. Remember, when you apply to Canadian universities, different majors will have different prerequisites, which are courses you have to take in high school. For example, if you want to major in biology, you’d better take biology 12 at school. In order to take biology 12, you probably need to take biology 11. Therefore, carefully plan your future; it is never too early to start.

2. Know what you want. After filling out all those courses you have to take for the sake of graduation and post-secondary education, count how many blocks are left for electives. The remaining space is in your total control now. Read the course planning booklet carefully. Do not choose a course simply because it has a cool name. Go through the introduction section. Then carefully consider what this course can offer you. Then you can prioritize you list of electives according to your personal interest, course content, and any other things that are important to you.

3. Watch out for pitfalls. Please, please, do not take a course simply because your friend is also taking it. You can spend other time with your friends, but not your valuable school time. Moreover, avoid taking super easy courses. Although those courses will boost your average and beautify your report card, universities do not like them. Universities expect you to challenge yourselves and fully utilize resources at your school. Therefore, if you have the capability, take the most challenging courses, such as AP and honors.

4. Talk to your friends and parents. It is always a good idea to talk to your friends who have taken those courses previously. Chat with them. Ask them how they like those courses and if they suggest you take those courses. After all, course planning booklet is only a collection of elaborate words; it sometimes does not reflect reality. Before you finalize your decision, tell your parents about your choices and ask for their suggestions. They can always offer you every useful advice.

5. Talk to your soon-to-be teachers. Students always have strong preferences towards teachers. In case you will meet really mean teachers and thus suffer for an entire school year, talk to them first, and see if you like them. A bad teacher can really ruin your whole learning experience.
After completing all these steps, it is time for you to fill out your course planning sheet confidently and hand it in to your guidance counselor. Now, you can wait for the next exciting school year!

CINDY HE is a grade twelve student at Magee Secondary in Vancouver, BC. Two years ago, her family immigrated to Canada from China. She went through ESL and now she is a regular student. This article is just some thoughts and knowledge she has about this unique program. She hopes it will be helpful.

Image courtesy of user "laihiu" at Flickr.com via Creative Commons License.
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