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In high school, is it better to take career-related classes or classes that are pretty unnecessary to your future but are fun for you?

In high school, classes are separated into core classes (main subjects like Mathematics, English, Science, etc.) and electives (classes outside a required curriculum like Creative Writing, Band, Ceramics, etc.). Electives may not seem that important because they are more of a "just because" class, so many take classes that are laid-back and don't require much work and energy. On the other hand, elective courses also allow you to explore your passions, interests, and career opportunities. I have taken both career-based and laid-back elective courses before and I have to say, both have their positives and negatives. It is hard for me to pick a career-related course though because I don't know if I really want to waste a period on a class that I could take up in college if I wanted to. I took an Engineering Drawing course my freshman year of high school due to an interest in engineering I had then. By the end of the year, I wanted nothing to do with engineering. When looking back, I know it was a great experience to have, but would I have regretted it less if I took a less demanding class? high-school-classes student-counseling electives

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Wolf’s Answer

Take the career-related courses that look fun to you. Take electives that you cannot see being a [tone="serious"] necessity to your future [/tone].

It is great that you took the engineering class and discovered that you hated all the related processes. If you had never done that, you might be flunking out of a prestigious engineering program in college. Much cheaper and lower-impact to find out in High School, don't you think? If you are currently in High School, you are about to discover that you have far more capacity to make what you want to do into a career, or series of careers.

In my experience, it is a waste of effort trying to gauge whether a particular class is on the path or not on the path. Every choice you make is on the path, so instead of asking yourself constantly if your path is true, learn as much as you possibly can in each course and try to integrate your education into the path. If you have ever driven a car, or ridden a bike, you know that you are constantly making little corrections in your path of travel. Life is a series of small and large course corrections. Once you get through High School, you will discover that the only thing that matters about your High School career to your potential employers is that you completed it. Later, you will discover that the most important thing about your Bachelor's degree is that it is competed. Since you can't know something before you know it, don't waste your time second-guessing what you didn't know at the time.

I was a music geek in school, and was in every band I could make time for, and even choir and theatre. I did these because I was good at it and it was fun. Not always easy "A"s, but always fun. I had a part-time job playing in a band for a while. My current career path started as a hobby. I was interested in IT security, and there was no college degree in IT security. There was no HS course in IT security. I got my first (and following) book deal because of my hobby. I currently get paid to perform tasks related to that hobby. Programming and IT security are similar (at least in my mind) to how music is put together.
I use my statistics course all the time now (never expected that)!


I completely agree with you! I wasn't sure whether to over think or not when choosing my electives. I have many friends who are filling up their electives with actual core classes and laid-back elective courses are therefore very limited to them. This made me feel like it was crucial to pick a class where I can relish to my full extent. Ultimately with your advice, I have found that I just need to appreciate the fact that I am able to choose classes that I am interested in. It doesn't matter whether the class won't affect me in the future. I am going to live my dreams and take risks. My life is passing right before me! Karen P.

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Felicia G’s Answer

Hi Karen! Have you taken a career assessment? That should be your first step. Then reach out to your school counselor or academic advisor to give you direction on which career related courses would best suit your interests.


Hello Felicia! I have taken a career assessment, but I'm not sure how much I could rely on it. I'm still trying to find out what my passions are and from there I would like to start looking for a career path I would like. Thank you for your input! Karen P.

Not sure what career assessment you've taken but I always recommend a quick free assessment at www. mynextmove .org. And you've also spoke to a counselor or academic advisor about your results and possible course selections? Felicia G Meadows

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Isabelle’s Answer

I think that it would be helpful to take PSEO (Post Secondary Enrollment Options)/Dual Enrollment during high school when your school considers you eligible to do so. PSEO/Dual Enrollment is very helpful in that you get to attend college courses at a college of your choice (likely in your state or online). Not only does it help you take the classes that you WANT but it also counts towards your credit during your high school curriculum.


I have a friend who took as many PSEO/Dual Enrollment courses as she possibly could and because of it actually got to bypass high school completely because she had earned enough credits to graduate. This option may not apply to your school specifically so I'd ask. It's definitely a huge perk though.

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