When the time comes to choose a course to take, the decision making process may branch off into two distinct paths trailing into subsequently different thought spirals: being overwhelmed by the choices (whether for better or for worse) or on the other hand, finding none of them appealing and being unsure, perplexed, or indifferent. Choosing a course can be simultaneously exciting and stressful and here are four deciding factors you should consider while picking the best ones for your academic and personal needs.
Is it necessary?
Most students have requirements to fulfil, including a reaching a given number of credits and taking certain subjects and prerequisite courses to name a few. If you have not yet met these requirements, they should your top priorities when choosing a course. Ensure that you will have acquired enough — or more than enough — credits by the time you graduate and that you will have taken the necessary courses, even the ones you do not like. However, bear in mind that the courses will likely be useful to a certain extent, whether for the sake of broadening your scope or teaching valuable concepts and skill sets. These courses, after all, were made compulsory for a reason.
Is it relevant?
By the time they near the end of high school, the majority of students will have an idea of what subjects they plan to study in the future and some may even be able to envision their career path. As a result, a number of the courses you take should align with your intended studies and help you develop skills and obtain knowledge that will be useful in the long run. At the same time, you do not have to sacrifice taking other courses that may spark your interest. Strike a balance between courses that pertain to your future studies and career and courses that may not be as relevant but are fun nonetheless.
Do you have the time?
Part of choosing a course involves being knowledgeable about your own strengths and weaknesses. If possible, avoid taking a course that you anticipate not having the time for, despite its reputation or popularity among the rest of your peers. Be aware of your capabilities regarding your ideal workload. While you should always strive to be accomplished, do not stretch yourself thin as overexerting yourself will most likely result in poorer performance across all areas of your academic life.
Do you like it?
There is little use in taking a course that you will dread, even if it is easier than one you might legitimately enjoy (that is, unless it is compulsory). Your outlook on the subject you are studying wields an unsurprisingly significant influence over your attitude in class and by extension, your academic performance. If a course negatively impacts your mood and stress levels, avoid it unless you are given no other choice. If you are not fond of or are impartial to any of the options presented to you, choose the lesser of the evils. On the contrary, if you are offered a course you find interesting but are hesitant to take due to its possibly daunting nature, general unpopularity, or seeming insignificance, if you can afford to take it — take it! If everybody else turns to economics, don’t be afraid to walk the other way into visual art if you enjoy it. If French dominates the linguistic landscape, foray into the depths of Latin with guns ablaze. Audaces fortuna iuvat!
If you make a wrong decision, remember that if you must, you will often be able to drop the course and choose another.