"Writing-intensive" English courses?

High school junior here. Some of the small LACs I’m looking at applying to want applicants to have chosen “writing-intensive courses” or “courses with a writing emphasis” for English.

I’ve taken interdisciplinary English courses all three years of high school so far (English/SS in 9th, English/Art in 10th, English/SS again this year). All three have been engaging and deeply challenging, and I’ve written a lot in all three, but I wouldn’t call any of them “writing-intensive” although that could just be because I don’t have a clear idea of what it means. I also self-studied for the AP EngLang exam last year and got a 5, but the schools I’m most interested in are (rightfully) unlikely to take things like AP exams seriously as a measure of knowledge. Outside of class, I write for my school newspaper and have one other writing-heavy EC.

What does “writing-intensive” really mean? Am I on track to fulfill what these schools are looking for? Should I try to take the most writing-focused options in my senior year, or even squeeze in three semesters of English (likely at the cost of other courses I want to take)? Or should I just take the English courses I’m most interested in to finish out my time in high school?

Self studying for an AP shows nothing - it’s not a class you took, it’s not in your GPA or on your transcript.

I’m not familiar with the classes you took - but certainly your GC or an English teacher can point you to the most rigorous offerings in school. In college, you’ll likely have an intensive writing class first year.

My daughter took AP Seminar and Research. I wouldn’t call it intensive but there was lots of writing.

Good luck.

It would be helpful to know which colleges you are considering. But it sounds as though you’re fine. Most colleges expect applicants to have taken four years of English. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a college that specifies high school students need to take special writing courses in order to apply. Maybe St. John’s, maybe Reed?

Most high school students need to take what their high school curriculum requires. No college is likely to turn down a student simply for completing required high school courses. I don’t see there’s a problem for you.

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If you write well, writing intensive courses are your friend.

Stop worrying about what may be your most enjoyable courses during college–based on your background as presented in this thread. You appear to be well prepared for 'writing intensive courses".

Most English 9, English 10, etc courses qualify. Where potential issues come into play is in senior year electives. Even if the HS counts as English courses toward graduation requirements, expect colleges not to view courses like Public Speaking, Debate, Yearbook to meet their standards.

Hybrid courses like American Studies (American Lit + USH) are fine.

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If your school offers it, and you are interested, AP Lit would be a good choice of a “writing intensive” course (son currently enrolled and there is quite a bit of writing). I don’t know the selectivity level of the LACs you are looking at, but an AP English course of some kind is a good choice to show rigor in this area (they won’t count courses that you self-study). Good luck.

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You’ll probably be fine with what you’ve already taken.

If your school offers Journalism, that would be a writing intensive class. I know you write for your school paper, but an EC is not always evaluated the same as a class in which you earned an A.

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Very helpful, thanks all! Lots to think about. I’ll definitely chat with my GC about this too.