High school students can best prepare for life after graduation by taking classes that challenge their intellect and expose them to a variety of skills. College preparatory classes, for instance, ensure students meet basic college requirements, but students in this track benefit even more from taking advanced placement classes. In addition, students entering the work force after high school can get hands-on experience in vocational technical courses, but taking a course like psychology will better prepare them for roles in management. Learning a second language also broadens a teen's future career choices. Equally important are classes that educate teens in basic life skills, such as balancing a checkbook and preparing a healthy meal.
Advanced Placement Classes
According to the College Board, high school advanced placement courses help mature a student's intellect while providing an opportunity to earn college credit. AP classes help students hone their writing skills, strengthen critical thinking capability and provide experience in the work habits needed to succeed both in college and professional life. Colleges, in turn, see a student's choice to take advanced placement courses as a sign of maturity and a commitment to academic excellence.
Vocational Technical Programs
All public high schools are required to offer general education classes, but students entering the work force after high school benefit more from a high school curriculum that combines general education with vocational technical training. Students in vocational technical tracks are given the opportunity to develop professional skills that are useful either in a trade or a continuing education alternative to college. Examples of vocational technical training at the high school level include programs in automotive repair, computer programming, cosmetology and carpentry.
Family and Consumer Science Classes
Family and consumer science is the home economics class of the 21st century. The course is structured on the assumption that even students who take it as an elective will be entering the work force rather than becoming a full-time homemaker. In Pennsylvania, study of family and consumer science is required either as an independent class or as a unit in the social studies curriculum. The coursework in family and consumer science is gender-neutral and more about life skills than homemaking. Topics include personal finance, nutrition, resume writing, entrepreneurship and assertiveness training.
Study of a second language in high school has many benefits, particularly in a global economy. In Europe, 53 percent of students speak a second language, usually English, according to Annenberg Classroom, a website affiliated with the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics Research. Many colleges require applicants to have at least two years of foreign language study. In addition, study of a second language has been shown to improve a student's skills in English and math. Fluency in a second language also will broaden a student's future career opportunities.
- Public School Review: Are Public School Students Prepared for the "Real World?"
- Concord Monitor: Family and Consumer Sciences Prepare Students for Life After High School
- Public School Review: Should Public Schools Provide Students With Vocational Opportunities?
- Christian Science Monitor: Whatever Happened to Home Economics?
- Annenberg Classroom: Speak Out: Should Schools Focus More on Foreign Languages?
- University of Louisville: Department of Classical and Modern Languages: Why Study a Second Language
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