Academic choices in high school can open or close doors for your future. Before you register for classes, meet with your counselor and talk over your choices. Ask for her advice regarding available course selections. Attend orientation sessions. Challenge yourself academically and plan to join at least one club or activity, too.

Core Courses

Find out the entrance requirements if you plan to attend a college or university after high school. Begin by taking at least five core courses. Each state has specific requirements, but most include English, math and science. Also consider taking classes in history, the arts or a foreign language, even if they are not required.

English Language Arts

Schools often require students to enroll in a language arts class that promotes critical thinking, reading, writing, speaking, listening, media and research skills. Academic achievement or proficiency tests in language arts at the end of ninth grade vary from state-to-state.


Many schools require algebra I or algebra I honors for incoming freshmen. Schools frequently offer geometry for students who have completed algebra 1. Florida now requires all freshmen to take an algebra I state exam in May. The state of New York mandates a regents exam. Find out your state's math requirements for graduation.


Schools vary in their offerings of science courses to freshmen. Options often include environmental science, biology, earth science and marine biology. Most colleges require biology, but depending on size and courses available at your high school, you may not have this option freshman year.

Social Studies

Not all schools offer courses in geography or history to ninth graders. Some high schools now offer advanced placement human geography to incoming freshmen who want to be pursue academically challenging courses.

Foreign Language

Globalization has changed the dynamics of personal interaction. As a result, learning a second or third language will provide a competitive edge in the world market. Begin or continue your study of a foreign language in your freshman year.


Many schools do not have the facilities to enable freshmen to take a course in computer graphics, programming or language. However, if your school does offer introductory courses or advanced courses, consider taking ones that lead to a specialized certification.