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Choosing the Right College/Highschool courses prep



I don't know what category to ask this question so hopefully you can give me some advice :)

I'm 16, homeschooled, and will be a Junior this fall. I hate math, always have, and now I feel I'm behind :( I'm finishing Algebra 1 and will be starting Geometry this fall How many math courses do I need to get into a decent college? Do I need a math after Algebra 11 like Trig or pre-calculus or calculus? Would you recommend taking two math courses this year like Geometry and Algebra 11?

I'm also planning on taking Chemistry this year and Physics next year, is that okay? Is their any other courses I should take before college? I'm not planning on doing PSEO this year but will for sure do PSEO next year.

I do a Catholic online school and I feel like I'm behind in school :/  I haven't decided exactly what I want to go to college for but I either want to work with children (child care, elementary education) Like be a teacher or child care provider or work with animals like a Vet Tech. What math and science courses do I need? Also, will I be behind if I only do 1 year of PSEO?  I get straight A's except in math I get a little lower so I have decent grades.

This is what my online school says I should take for 11th grade:

Religion 11
English 11
American Lit
American History
Algebra 11 (recommended but not necessary)(I haven't completed Geometry like I said)
Foreign Language 1st year (recommended)
My elective choices would be: Chemistry, Geography, Economics, Accounting, Logic, Advanced math, calculus)

For 12th grade they say:

Religion 12
English 12
American Government
World Geography (recommended)
Foreign Language 2nd year (recommended)
Elective (Chemistry, Geography, Economics, Accounting, Logic, Physics, Advanced math, Calculus)

I'm really worried about my future so any advice would be great and whatever courses you would recommend me to take my Junior and Senior year and also advice on PSEO!!

Thanks :)


Thanks for writing. As for math most colleges like to see at least 3 years and prefer 4 years. At the very least you need to get through Algebra 2 because there are all sorts of studies that indicate that this class is the most important class for predicting how a student will do in college.

As for what classes to take colleges like to see students taking classes in all of the 5 core subjects including math, science, English, history/social studies and a single foreign language. The closer you have to 4 years of each of these subjects the stronger candidate you will be. Most colleges want to see at least 4 years of English, 3 years of math, science and history/social studies and two years of a foreign language.  For the jobs you mention the focus in high school is just on getting a good general education. You don't need specific classes.

You do not need to do PSEO at all as most students do not do this unless their high school is lacking in the appropriate classes to take. It should not be viewed as a substitute for high school classes but to be used if you have exhausted all options. Some college courses can be helpful for the home schooled student to show that you are capable of handling college level work. That is particularly true if you are not a good test taker for the SAT or ACT.

I hope that helps answer some of your questions.

Take care.

Todd Johnson  

Choosing the Right College

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Todd Johnson


I can help students and families understand the whole college admissions process from evaluating what a student wants from a college to finding the right college. This includes advising on the college application, the essay, recommendations and visiting colleges. I also can help families understand college financial aid. I have particular expertise in helping students who are applying to BS/MD programs.


I am a lawyer as well as a college admission consultant and have spent more than 11 years consulting with students and families on how to find the right college for each student. I work with students throughout the US as well as international students who wish to attend college in the US. I have helped hundreds of students find the best college for each student's needs. I have particular expertise helping students become the most competitive candidate for BS/MD programs.

Independent Educational Consultants Association, Professional Member; Higher Education Consultants Association; National Association for College Admission Counseling; Minnesota Association for College Admission Counseling

Todd is the author of "BS/MD Programs-The Complete Guide: Getting into Medical School from High School." College Admissions Counseling’s blog content has been featured by the Chicago Sun Times, Fox News, Reuters and other major websites. It is syndicated by Blogburst.

BA St. Olaf College; JD Washington University in St. Louis

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I am an instructor for the University of California Irvine extension.

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