Recommended High School Classes

Once you reach high school, you have choices about the courses you take. While it’s tempting to take only the classes you need to graduate, you will be more prepared for college if you take more challenging courses.

Completing classes like those described below will help you meet the basic admission requirements at most colleges, but your high school graduation requirements may differ.

Key Subjects

Your knowledge and skills in language arts, math and science go a long way in determining how well you’ll do in college.

  • Language Arts (Recommended: 4 years)
    People who succeed are people who can read and write. No matter what you end up doing, it pays to be able to speak clearly and write well. You should prepare by taking as many classes in reading, writing and speaking as you can fit into your schedule.
  • Mathematics (Recommended: 4 years)
    Everyone uses numbers in the real world to solve problems. Math teaches you to think logically and abstractly. Two years of algebra and one year of geometry are recommended for all high school students, but it’s always good to take even more than that.
  • Science (Recommended: 3 years)
    Learning how things work and studying the world around you will help you understand how scientific discoveries affect you, your community and the world. Biology, chemistry and physics are good subjects to prepare you for college.

Other Vital Subjects

In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to understand what’s going on around you and connect globally.

  • Social Studies (Recommended: 3½ years)
    Classes in geography, civics, history and economics will help you understand what is happening in the world and how you fit in it. They also prepare you for college-level courses.
  • World Languages (Recommended: 2 years)
    Studying different languages is a great way to understand how other people live and think. You’ll not only learn more about another culture but your own as well. This will help you work with people from all over the world. Take at least two years of the same language.
  • The Arts (Recommended: 1 year)
    Art helps you explore and appreciate your creative side and those of others. Classes might include music, drama, dance and the visual arts.

Optional Classes

High school gives you the opportunity to explore your interests through optional classes called electives. You may be able to take classes in agriculture, business, computers, physical education, construction and much more. One of these classes could even launch a new interest.

Take a computer class. It may not be required for graduation, but all students need to know how to use computers.

Earn College Credit in High School

Minnesota students may be eligible to take classes at a college or university as a high school junior or senior through the Postsecondary Enrollment Options program. If you want to do this, careful planning in ninth and tenth grade is important. Your high school may also participate in Advanced Placement, College in the Schools or International Baccalaureate which also allow you to earn high school and possibly college credit.

Career Preparation

Youth apprenticeships in addition to Tech Prep opportunities can give you on-the-job training while you earn technical college credits…all while you’re still in high school.