I am posting on behalf of my ten-years-younger sister. My advice to her so far as she selects HS classes has been that she demonstrate her passion, challenge herself, but not to the degree that she doesn't have time to pursue her interests outside of school (a la Cal Newport's "Relaxed Superstar").
Compared to her friends, the following courseload is about average (though her friends are in the top 5 percent of her class and she is just outside of the top 10 percent -- though rapidly climbing). I personally fear for some of her friends' sanity (one is taking AP Calc, AP Chem, AP Phys 2 among two other APs and 2 more honors classes). Would the courseload below still tick the guidance counselor's "Most Rigorous Schedule" box?
Dual Enrollment Stats (AP value added to GPA) (Fall)
Dual Enrollment Anatomy and Physiology (AP value added to GPA) (Spring)
AP US History
AP English Comp
Early Childhood Education 4 Honors (she will be working in a preschool and earning her childcare certificate, while building a portfolio and preparing a case study of one of her students)
Early Childhood Education Directed Study (here is the class which she worries about as it is not honors, but it is highly encouraged that students take it in conjunction with Early Childhood 4).
In place of Early Childhood Directed Study, she was considering AP Environmental or Euro, or Anatomy Honors (but then she'd struggle to find another class at the college). She has plans for 5 APs next year...