Both traditional high school students and those returning as adults want the same thing. They want to graduate and open new doors to things like college, trade school, and more. Some students aren’t sure what they can do after high school. Having a high school diploma is the first step to open many doors.

Even if you’re unsure of where you’re going, you should always use online high school classes to prepare for the future. It’s not just about getting a piece of paper. Taking the classes that prepare you for college and give you a well-rounded education. Even if you decide late, you’ve already done the preliminary work. What kind of classes should students take to stand out once they graduate?

No matter where you go, colleges look for signs of progression. Are you taking harder classes each year? Are you maintaining good grades? Earning a B in a harder class can count for more than an A in an easy class. Some classes are required.

Core Curriculum for Online High School Students

Whether you attend online or in a physical location, the core curriculum remains the same. You have some options depending on your skill and which areas you’re interested in. During your four years in high school, you progress through different levels of four subjects.

  • English: This is sometimes referred to as language arts. In your fourth year, you can also explore AP options. Depending on the school, you can also use remedial options to catch up. You’re required to have four years in English progressively working your way up by the time you graduate.
  • Math: Before you graduate, you should have three to four years of math class. You start in jr high with pre-algebra or algebra depending on how you test. Then you progress through a set schedule that ends in pre-calculus or calculus for most students.
  • Science: You’re required to have three years of science. There’s no set class you should take from year to year. Many students focus on an area they’re stronger in like biology or physics. Some students choose chemistry or human anatomy or biology to get started on their preparation for medical school. If you stay within the same core discipline, you’ll have multiple options including more specific classes and those at a higher level.
  • Social Studies/History: Many times, schools provide a mix of world history or geography and American history. You’ll need to complete two to three years of this subject to graduate.

Before you start planning your classes, always check your local requirements. Some states vary slightly, and you should be prepared to get these basic classes out of the way each year. You can talk to school counselors and teachers to decide which classes you want to take.

What Kind of Electives Do Universities and Others Want to See?

If you already know what kind of plans you have after high school, you can map your elective classes out to meet your needs. Some students might want to focus on creative writing or other related courses. Other students take extra math or science classes to prepare themselves for their future studies.

Some students focus on home ec and other hands-on classes. You might study in a workshop or focus on learning practical skills like working on cars. Some of these classes require a physical classroom. If you’re dedicated to learning those skills, online high school classes might not fit all your needs. You can split your time or choose a standard high school. As long as you continue to show progress and a drive to take harder classes as you proceed, you’re building a strong resume.

How Long Does It Take to Earn Your Online High School Diploma?

A standard high school education takes four years. This can be accelerated using packets, online, and other alternative classes on top of your current studies. How quickly you graduate from an online high school is up to you. Some students take more classes every semester. Others go slower to take things at their own pace or work around an already busy schedule.

One of the most important things schools look for is rigor or progress. Are you challenging yourself throughout your high school career? Whatever your plans are, the best thing to do is talk to counselors and other education professionals at High School of America. We can help you make a plan and stay on track. We can also help you adjust your plans if you change your mind. To discuss online curriculums and more with High School of America, click here.