Register for classes – the smart way

Every year it’s the same story. You’re trying to register for classes, and all you can hear are the counselors telling you to challenge yourself, older students warning you to stay away from APUSH and Honors Physics, and your friends discussing which classes they will sign up for together. So how can you possibly balance these influences to make your decisions?

The Patriot Press staff pooled its advice and expertise to help make sure that next year, you can balance being a successful student while enjoying your time in high school.


Take on challenges…

Some people tend to stay away from taking hard classes in school; some just don’t care enough to tackle an academic challenge, and others fear the consequences of getting a lower grade in a harder class. However, keep in mind that colleges actually prefer seeing lower grades in harder classes than higher grades in easier classes. A University of Washington admissions counselor even said that the school had rejected 4.0 GPA applicants who took no difficult classes before, so it’s important to remember not to take the path of least resistance.


…But stay sane.

While overcoming challenges is an important part of growing up, there is such a thing as too much. We’ve all heard the stories of “mental breakdowns” brought on by the stress of tests, ridiculous homework loads, and lack of sleep. Maintaining this lifestyle is incredibly unhealthy.

If you’re overloaded with AP and Honors classes, take a waiver or Guided Study to give yourself a break, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your counselors and teachers are there to help you if you need it.


Registration Advice:

1) Get advice from others about your strengths, and know yourself before you choose your classes.

Some people love English and are very good at it; others excel in science and math. It may not be the best choice to take the most difficult classes in subjects you don’t enjoy. Instead, take a difficult class on a topic you find more interesting.

Your parents and teachers often know your strengths and your weaknesses, so see what they suggest. One Press staff member explained that he decided not to take APUSH because after speaking to Mr. Darnell, he concluded that the class wasn’t for him. But there are many others who love the class too, so find out for yourself.

You don’t want to go into a class unprepared, but you also don’t want to miss out on an opportunity that may be rewarding.

2) Don’t let other students’ biases scare you away from classes, and don’t follow your friends to a class that might not be the best fit for you.

It can be valuable to talk to students who have taken certain classes before, but the Press advises that you look for advice from students who aren’t currently in the class. If a current student was stressed out about an upcoming test, they would most likely give you a negative review of the class. Take horror stories with a grain of salt.

Making class choices based on your social life can have negative consequences as well. Following your math-minded friend into AP Calculus just to spend more time with him or her can be dangerous if you aren’t good at math, just as wasting time in a class you hate isn’t a good way to experience high school. Make your class choices independent of your friends’; there’s no guarantee you’d be in the same period anyway.

3) Keep the future in mind at all times.

When registering for classes, check into what credits you still need to graduate from high school. You don’t want to miss walking with your class at graduation because you forgot to take a semester of PE or Art.

Don’t be afraid to apply to specialty classes, such as band, journalism, or yearbook. They can often be some of the most rewarding and enjoyable classes of your school day, and you don’t want to miss out. Plus, applying and getting in is a lot easier than you might think!

Turn in your class choices on time! If you don’t, you could get stuck with a bunch of classes you don’t want or need because the others have filled up with students who turned their forms in on time.

Take classes that have something to do with what you might want to do as a career later in your life. In addition to the regular classes you can take at Liberty, check in with the Career Center about special courses you can take with the Running Start or WaNIC (Washington Network for Innovative Careers) programs to prepare you for your future. Running Start, for example, lets you take classes at Bellevue College, and by registering for WaNIC you can take courses in engineering and nursing (among others) off-campus as well.


Take a deep breath

Remember to keep your life in perspective. High school might seem like the entire world for you right now, but we’ve all really barely started experiencing life. There’s a lot more coming up ahead.
But for right now, you’ve got things to do. So after doing your research, go with your gut when it comes to choosing between classes. Don’t overload or sell yourself short. Keep your life balanced. We hope you have a happy, healthy, and successful 2015-2016 school year.