You are here:

Help with College & Grad School Applications/I would like to Major in English. What classes should I take?



My name is Grace. I am currently a Sophomore in high school.I want to plan ahead for college so I know what courses I need to take in high school.

I am currently taking a senior English Course and am a year ahead of many students in my grade in science and math. I also started taking Spanish my Freshman year of high school and will take it all four years.I have a 4.0 GPA and will be involved in student council for four years, National honors society for two years, volunteering for about 3 and a half years at a daycare, and am considering starting my own club called students 4 students, a sort of free student run community service tutoring program.

I want to major in English and pursue a career as a judge. I would like to know what AP classes I should take in high school and how many science, math, English, and other credits I would need to finish my undergraduate (probably at Michigan State University)as someone not necessarily going into a math or science field.

The AP courses my high school offers are:

AP literature- this class focuses on analyzing fictional literary works.
AP language- explores how to analyze non-fiction literature
AP Biology
AP Chemistry
AP Physics- This class is four trimesters and all others are three.
AP calculus
AP US History

I currently have room in my schedule to take either AP language or literature, Biology or Chemistry, calculus, physics and US history OR I could take both AP English courses, Biology or Chemistry, calculus, and US history.

Should I try to get as many math and science credits out of the way as possible or should I focus more on English Credits? Which classes would be more beneficial for someone wanting to major in English to take?

Also, I would just like to thank you for taking the time to read over and answer my question.It is very much appreciated :)

Dear Grace,

I am very impressed by your early planning.  Many students make the mistake of waiting until late in their high school careers to start planning.  It appears that you have already received some excellent guidance regarding the coursework you should take.  AP courses are meaningful to college admissions committees as is a strong GPA.  Starting your own student organization is a great idea, particularly if through your club you can partner with well-known local businesses on community service projects. Such partnerships are also a great way for you to do some excellent networking which can lead to worthwhile internships.  

I am concerned about your desire to be an English major. With the myriad of majors available, combined with your ambition, I encourage you to explore the variety of majors available to you.  Have you met with any judges?  You say you want to be a judge.  It is critically important that you meet with at least five judges, of various years of experience, to ask them how they became judges.  Ask them what they might do differently if they had their academic careers to do over.  Ask them if there might be any opportunities for you to volunteer with the court.  Perhaps your student club could be court related.  You may wish to Google what other student clubs operate to help students learn more about the legal system.  If one does not exist in your area, perhaps that is a club you should consider founding.  

The specific courses you will need to take to accomplish your high school, college and professional goals are determined by the requirements set out by your high school (state, fed, school board), your selection of preferred colleges and your law school. While some requirements are universal across the U.S., many are not therefore I cannot advise on what specific courses you should take because I am not familiar with the requirements in your area.  Make a friend of your high school guidance counselor, as your counselor will be the author a very important recommendation letter for your college admissions application. To stand out to admissions committees you will need to maintain an excellent GPA, take AP courses, receive an excellent SAT or ACT score, become a leader in student activities, involve yourself in community service and distinguish yourself by forming a student or community organization.  Creating a special program, project or doing something newsworthy will also be very helpful.  You want to be different from the other students.  

I am very optimistic about your future because of your obvious determination and forethought. -Karen Dechman

Help with College & Grad School Applications

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Karen Dechman


As a Harvard graduate with almost 20 years of experience, I can accurately answer questions on how to be competitive in the admissions and scholarship process. I can also answer questions on achieving academic excellence in high school/college and how to obtain excellent internships for future employment success. You will need to visit the websites of the schools of your interest to learn the answers on specific questions, such as expected SAT scores or deadlines. I will not advise on athletic scholarships.


Since 1997, I have been helping students to reach their professional goals by helping them to understand how to successfully operate within high school and college environments. These environments have seen a dramatic change over the past twenty years, making them far more competitive. In turn, I have helped students learn how to shop their professors, create internships and identify extra-curricular activities that will distinguish them in both admissions and scholarship situations. I also work with military academy and graduate school applicants.

Harvard Club of DC, Board of Directors Harvard Club of Virginia, President US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Director of Research John Tyler Community College, Department Head, Student & Community Activities White House, Volunteer

East Carolina University, 1992 Harvard University, 1998

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]