Middle School Courses

Get ready for college in middle school! Research shows that students who take algebra and geometry early are much more likely to go on to college than students who do not. Parents should encourage children to sign up for those subjects in middle school or junior high school. That way, they will be eligible for chemistry, physics, trigonometry and advanced placement courses before finishing high school. College-bound middle-school students should take:

Algebra I in eighth grade, Geometry in ninth grade or other challenging math courses that expect students to master the essentials of these subjects. Algebra and geometry are the foundation for advanced math and science courses that colleges want their students to take. They also give students the skills they need to succeed on college entrance exams, in college math classes, and in future careers.

English, Science and History. Together with math, these courses make up the basic academic classes that every student should take every year in middle and high school. Students can take a variety of English, science and history classes - all of them good preparation for college.

Foreign Language. Many colleges require their students to study a foreign language for at least two years, and some prefer three or four years of one language. Taking a foreign language shows colleges that a student is serious and willing to learn more than the basics.

Computer Science. More and more jobs now require at least a basic knowledge of computers. Make sure your child takes advantage of any opportunities the school offers to learn to use computers.

Classes in the Arts. Many colleges view participation in the arts and music as a valuable experience that broadens students' understanding and appreciation of the world around them. It is also well known and widely recognized that the arts contribute significantly to children's intellectual development.

Reprinted from the U.S. Department of Education's Getting Ready for College Early: A Handbook for Parents of Students in the Middle School and Junior High School Years