If you are like me, and not a fan of change, the thought of altering your course schedule can be a pain. A new class can mean a new teacher, new classmates and potentially having a completely rearranged schedule. Although these are things the average teen would consider, the most important aspect to remember is that you are at school to learn and do well. If you are not learning anything in AP Calculus or you are starting to think you could be teaching your Spanish 3 class, it may be time to think of switching to another class. Deciding you want to change your schedule can be a hard decision to make, especially after you have been in the class for a few weeks or even months. Your counselor will be able to give you advice based on your specific situation, but for now, here are some general things to consider.
Before you automatically decide a class is too hard and you just want to quit, take some time to evaluate why you are struggling with the class. Is there any tutoring available to you at school or near where you live? Have you tried using online resources? Discuss what problems you are having with the material with your teacher. He/she may have information about resources to help you.
Another thing to consider is how your class choices now will affect your choices later on in your high school career. For example, at my school, if you take IB English in eleventh grade, you can take AP or IB English in twelfth grade. If you take AP English & Composition in eleventh grade, you have AP English but not IB English as an option for senior year.
Finally, be honest with yourself. If the class you are struggling with is beginning to impact your performance in the rest of your classes, it might be time to switch down. Is it really worth being in a class that you think will look good to colleges if you are not learning anything?
Maybe you spent the summer at a foreign language intensive camp or took a class at a local community college. When you returned to school in the fall, your Spanish class felt way too easy. Switching to a more advanced class may be the right thing for you. Even if you don’t meet the prerequisites for the class you want to take, ask your counselor about the flexibility of the requirements. You can also ask your current teacher if they think you are ready for the next level, and it wouldn’t hurt to ask a previous teacher too. Taking regular geography instead of the honors version may be an easy A for you, but colleges are looking for high grades in advanced classes. The fear of not getting an A in a harder class shouldn’t stop you from changing your schedule. A class at the right level for you will keep you engaged and allow you to develop new skills. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself!
Even after you have made your decision, there are some aspects out of your control, such as openings in the class you are interested in or other rules specific to your school. At my school, for example, all schedule change requests must be made by the second week of the grading period. It may make sense for you to finish out the grading period in your original class, and then have a fresh start in your new course to coincide with the new grading period.
It is especially important for seniors to discuss schedule changes with their counselor and the possible effects of any changes. After you have applied to colleges, those colleges expect you to complete the courses you listed on your application. Taking an elective out of your schedule may not be a big issue for colleges, but deciding to change a core class could cause a bigger problem. Overall, make use of the resources available to you and make the choice that will be beneficial to you now and in the long run.