Course Selection and Planning

What should I consider when selecting classes?

A few guidelines you should follow are:

  • Make sure you have enough mathematics/science classes for graduation requirements.
  • Make sure you have taken the prerequisite for the class.
  • Check with the appropriate teacher for advice about the workload of various electives.
  • Pick courses YOU are interested in. Especially in science, consider taking courses in different areas.
  • Consider the expectations of colleges. If you are interested more in engineering, you may want to focus on physics and chemistry; if pre-med is a consideration, focus on chemistry electives.
  • If you are interested in taking the Advanced Placement Chemistry exam, it is recommended to list BOTH sections of Advanced Chemistry as two of your top priorities.

IMSA’s Graduation Requirements

In order to be considered for graduation, students must complete the following:

  • 4.0 Science credits
  • 3.0 Mathematics credits
  • 1.0 additional credit in either Mathematics or Science
  • 3.0 English credits
  • 2.5 Social Studies credits
  • 2.0 World Languages credits
  • 1.0 Wellness credit
  • 0.5 Fine Arts credit

What do colleges expect?

While all colleges are not the same in terms of admission requirements, there are definite similarities about the academic basics colleges expect in order for a student to be competitive for admission. Below are some of the general admission requirements for a state university, a selective small liberal arts college, and an Ivy League school. These are to be used as guidelines only as specific departments/specialized majors within the schools themselves may have additional requirements for a student to complete to remain competitive.

Large State University (Total Units = 16):
  • 4 years of English
  • 3 or 3.5 years of Mathematics
  • 2 years of Social Studies
  • 2 years of Laboratory Science
  • 2 years of World Languages
  • Some Universities require 1 year of Fine Arts
Selective Small Liberal Arts colleges (Total Units = 16):
  • 4 years of English (emphasis on writing)
  • 3 years of Mathematics (3.5+ preferred)
  • 2 years of Social Studies (3+ preferred)
  • 1 year of Laboratory Science (2+ preferred)
  • 2 years of World Languages (3+ preferred)
Ivy League/Highly Selective Colleges (Total Units = 16):
  • 4 years of English
  • 3 years of Mathematics for some majors, 4 for specialized
  • 3 years of Social Studies
  • 3 years of Laboratory Science for some majors, 4 for specialized
  • 3 years of World Languages (4 preferred)