It’s that time of the year when GLCs visit classrooms to hand out thick manila envelopes filled with goodies that will guide students to choose a well-rounded schedule for the following year. Incoming upperclassmen may select which courses to take without much hesitation, but for the freshmen who might not be so sure, here are a few tips.
Take as many honors classes you possibly can. Not only will they look good on your transcript, honors courses are not that much different than their regular counterparts. Advantages of taking the slightly more difficult course doesn’t stop there. Let’s say you take Chemistry Honors as a sophomore, and want to take AP Chemistry as a junior. The Honors course will allow you to take the AP course with a second semester grade of C, whereas you would have to earn at least a B in the regular course. Of course, I am certainly not advising you to shoot for a C, but it’s always nice to have a bit of wiggle room.
For the vast majority of overachievers at DBHS, sophomore year is also the time to dip your toe into AP courses and test them out. Since taking a history course is required for you to move onto junior year, in which a majority of your classes will be AP, take up the challenge and draw a big, dark circle around AP European History. This class, with Emily Clark, is widely the first AP course for many students and can somewhat accurately gauge your performance in the AP courses you will enroll in later.
This directly lends a hand to our next topic: 0 period. Unlike World History, which you can take over the summer, AP Euro is offered only during the school year. This won’t be a problem for those of you who are not enrolled in an elective such as Journalism or Dance, but for those of you who are, I send you my sincerest condolences. You will have to take a zero period. Although this is a blessing (only sophomores can have 0-6 period), as a second-year veteran, I must admit it is a curse most of the time. Waking up early in the morning to be seated and ready to go by 7 a.m. was probably one of the hardest things I was faced with during my high school career. You will not have the extra hour to complete whatever you did not finish the night before. If you absolutely know that you will be embarking on this painful journey next year, I advise you to start waking up a little earlier starting now. Your body will definitely take some time adjusting to the new schedule. To be quite honest, zero period is terrible and only for the fittest.
The summer before sophomore year is also a great time to get required classes done and out of the way. In order to graduate and be eligible for entrance into any UC or CSU, you need to take a Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) course. You can take Fundamentals of Art or Music Appreciation during the summer. It’s not too late to sign up for summer courses, so either enter your name to be in the running for free summer school, or sign up for the regular D2L courses.
While great classes such as Choir or AP Studio Art also satisfy the VPA requirement, some classes kill two birds with one stone. Marching band and dance count as VPA and P.E. credit, so go ahead and sign up for those classes.
Hopefully my insight on ways to be a successful student at DBHS, can help prevent incoming sophomores from mindlessly flipping through the packets with a lost look on their face.