Opinion: Three takes on course selection


Credit: Chloe Zilembo

In the second installment of their opinion series, “Three Takes On,” Jenny Shine, Chloe Zilembo and Ryan Chase discuss their opinions on course selections.

Jenny Shine, Chloe Zilembo, and Ryan Chase

Ryan Chase, freshman:

As a freshman, it’s been hard to decide between honors level or college level classes. Originally, I was thinking about taking mostly honors classes, but my opinions have changed based on what I’ve heard about these courses from upperclassmen. This year, I haven’t struggled with my coursework, but next year the rigor increases, causing me to hesitate on some of my decisions.

Now that prerequisite grades are no longer required, making decisions on course selection is even more difficult. Ultimately, I decided that I’ll listen to my teachers’ recommendations, as they know how I have done in their classes.

I hope that my course selections for next year will allow me to do my best work, and that I am not overwhelmed in my classes. There are also so many options to choose from with electives, however, I’m held back because I need to meet the WHS art requirements. Instead of taking classes I want to take, I’ll end up taking an art class next year out of necessity.

Chloe Zilembo, sophomore:

Sophomore year is coming to an end, and junior year feels like it’s right around the corner. Everyone says that junior year is the hardest year of high school, so the courses you choose are crucial. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself, but you want to take classes that challenge you because colleges look closely at your junior year course load.

There are so many great electives to take at WHS that it seems impossible to decide on which ones I would enjoy. I would love to take another fine arts elective, but at the same time, I want to have the extra free periods that come with having only one semester of wellness during junior year. The good thing is that if I decide not to take an art elective my junior year, then I can always take a fine arts elective as a senior. I have the luxury of having two more years of high school left to take a variety of electives.

The amount of classes I want to take during junior year makes it difficult to rationalize these classes into my already limited schedule. Currently, I’m taking journalism as my English elective. Journalism is a high priority elective, but I also want to take sports broadcasting, which could be another year long course. On the other hand, there are fun fine arts electives like ceramics and honors metalsmithing. In reality, there is probably no way I can do all of the classes I want to take and still have a reasonable course load. There is simply not enough time in the day.

Jenny Shine, junior:

Picking courses that I will take my senior year, my final year at WHS, has been a very different experience than selecting courses for other years. I’ve found that there are a lot more options and freedom for course selection for seniors, which is great but also overwhelming. Almost all classes for seniors are electives, which means I can take whatever classes I want without being restricted by a grade prerequisite.

I am a very indecisive person, so having too many choices might be my downfall. I can hardly decide what to order at a restaurant, let alone classes that impact college decisions. There are so many classes I want to take, but realistically I won’t be able to fit them all in my schedule and manage the workload. As an athlete, I need to be realistic when it comes to the amount of classes since extracurriculars take up so much time.

Picking courses for my senior year is the most stressful course selection process I’ve ever experienced because for the first time there is no clear-cut path that is suggested by teachers or the school. It’s no longer just picking the level of class you are going to take along with everybody else, but instead you have to pick which class you want to take, which level and any other electives you want to add.

For most students, this could seem amazing. However, it has been a nightmare for me. Wanting to have a rigorous class schedule that looks good for colleges while also not wanting to suffer through senior year is a tough balance that doesn’t seem to be attainable. This will be my last time going through the course selection process, which is definitely bittersweet because I’ll miss the structure of high school. But I won’t miss the stress of course selections.