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Course selection in High School

juniormom2juniormom2 3 replies2 threads New Member
Hi everyone, my son is a junior at a boarding school in the New England area and is selecting his courses for the year. He loves computer science but was informed that it is a red lined course meaning colleges do not give it the weightage it deserves. Do you know about courses being red lined? Should he not take it then? Thank you!
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Replies to: Course selection in High School

  • skieuropeskieurope 41675 replies8008 threads Super Moderator
    edited September 15
    It's fine to take as long as it is not at the expense of a core course - English, math, science, social science, foreign language.

    There is similarly no expectation from any college that every HS course needs to be a core course. Indeed, many HS require non-core courses to graduate.
    edited September 15
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 84672 replies752 threads Senior Member
    Assuming that it is a boarding school with a dedicated college counseling staff that has insider connections to highly selective colleges of your interest, it sounds like they are saying that they believe that admissions readers at those colleges tend to see that course as lower rigor than other electives that may be available at that school. He should ask the college counseling staff whether taking that computer science course versus some other elective would significantly harm his chance of admission to his colleges of interest as a prospective computer science major.
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  • juniormom2juniormom2 3 replies2 threads New Member
    You're absolutely right. I think so too but unfortunately there is no access to a college counselor until January while we have to select courses by this friday. Thank you!
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  • PikachuRocks15PikachuRocks15 515 replies2 threads Member
    edited September 15
    @juniormom2 If he's applying for CS I'd argue that it's an ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT COURSE: colleges will want evidence that he's actually explored the area during high school. Knowing CS is never a bad skill to have as well. However, as @skieurope says, taking the core courses should be your son's primary concern throughout high school, and challenging himself in advanced classes in his fields of interest.

    I go to Brown and their bulletin has a helpful list of courses they recommend students to have: https://bulletin.brown.edu/the-college/

    "Subject Requirements
    Brown’s commitment to fostering a liberal education assumes that a candidate for admission will profit most from pursuing a comprehensive college preparatory program. A strong background in English (both literature and writing), foreign languages, mathematics, science, and history will enable students to benefit from the intellectual opportunities offered by Brown University. Brown considers the programs listed below to be a desirable secondary school preparation.

    English—four years with significant emphasis on writing, continued through the senior year;

    Mathematics —at least three years of college preparatory mathematics, preferably continued through the senior year;

    Foreign Language—at least three years, preferably continued through the senior year;

    Laboratory Science—at least two years of laboratory science above the freshman-year level. Prospective science or engineering students should take both physics and chemistry, and as advanced a level of mathematics as possible;

    History—at least two years, including American History;

    The Arts—at least one year of study in music or art;

    Elective Subjects—at least one year of elective academic subjects;

    Information Technology—facility with computers is recommended for all applicants.


    Exceptions may be made. The Board of Admission encourages the growth of innovative programs and welcomes applications from students of varying educational backgrounds who have shown outstanding intellectual promise. Exceptionally able students who are well-prepared to enter college before completion of secondary school may also be admitted, although such cases are unusual."

    Hope that helps!
    edited September 15
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  • juniormom2juniormom2 3 replies2 threads New Member
    Thank you for such helpful information!
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 2827 replies48 threads Senior Member
    I would suggest reading the CC post on college prep high school course recommendations -
    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/high-school-life/2055289-faq-high-school-college-prep-base-curriculum.html - or specific schools a student may be interested in.
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