[Editorial] The Measure’s Guide to Course Selection
by The Milton Measure on Friday, February 24th, 2012
Over the past few days, Milton students have consulted advisors, upperclassmen, teachers and the course catalogue to choose their classes for the next year. By March 2nd, freshman, sophomores, and juniors must decide what classes to take, and the task is far from simple. Students’ course loads greatly affect their happiness, health, and stress level in the next year as well as their ability to take classes in the future. Looking back on our time spent at Milton, we feel we have advice to offer surrounding course selections.
For freshman, course selection provides the first opportunity to carve your own academic path. You can finally choose to take courses based on your own interests. We suggest that you take an art of your choice sophomore year so that you can take advanced art courses during the rest of your time at Milton. Art courses break up the monotomy of the regular course load and they make sophomore year slightly more relaxing.
If you interested in biology, take chemistry in your sophomore year as it is a prerequisite for honors biology. Chemistry is vastly different from physics and draws upon different skill sets. The first time you see two clear liquids combine to form an orange solution you will forget all about FAT=MAV.
To all freshmen that truly enjoy English classes, we recommend taking Foundations. Foundations will help you adjust to the fast paced reading of different texts that one faces in the two year English course. We urge sophomores who consider themselves English buffs to take the two year course. You will be exposed to a variety of styles from different time periods that will help you become a better reader and analytical thinker. Not to mention, the summer reading books of Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice are the most enjoyable.
The biggest decision facing sophomores is deciding whether to take history, biology, or both. We strongly recommend that you choose one and not both. Taking both biology and history is extremely difficult because the amount of textbook reading quickly becomes exorbitant. We recommend that you take the subject you enjoy the most in your junior year so that you will be able to take advanced courses in that area in your senior year. If, however, you enjoy both subjects, we suggest that you take biology in your junior year. Working on a term paper as a senior greatly mitigates the stress you would feel as a junior.
We would also like to encourage sophomores to begin taking electives in junior year. Taking semester courses may be difficult but taking half courses such as Topics in Psychology or History of Civil Rights provide the unique opportunity to explore individualized areas of interest. Taking classes such as these might help you decide potential majors when applying to colleges.
In general, we advise you to take the hardest math class you think you will be able to handle. However, we believe it is in your best interest to take some form of calculus at Milton if you have the chance. If you are able to take BC Calculus and score a 5 on the exam (about 40% of those who take the test get 5’s), you may not have to take a Calculus in College. If you do not make it to that level, you will still have had exposure to Calculus in a high school setting, which we believe is more conducive to learning math than the lecture setting of a college.
If you like language classes, continue with a language until level 4. AP level languages are far more interesting as they introduce you to literature. If you don’t feel confident that you will be able to survive more language courses, do not take a level 4 class your senior year just because you think colleges expect you to. You will be more successful at something you are genuinely interested in.
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