Course Scheduling Information 2021
Please select the appropriate grade level for more information
In order to meet the individual needs of a wide range of students, Weston High School offers a variety of courses, some taught at different levels. All of our academic courses are designed to prepare students for success at college. Electives provide an outlet for students to experience different subjects, explore new ideas and develop skills in areas of strong interest.
Important to Remember…
Selecting courses for next year should be a thoughtful process with the ultimate goal to create an appropriately balanced educational experience for each student. There are some important things to keep in mind when selecting courses:
- You should be challenged by your courses, but not overwhelmed. It is more important to be successful in a level than to take the highest one offered.
- Choose courses that keep you on track for meeting graduation requirements and the recommended years of study for college admissions.
- Take into account everything you do, remembering that you need to balance homework time with sports, extracurricular activities and time to relax with friends and family.
- While there are 40 blocks in the 8-day rotation, electives and required courses don’t always fit “neatly” together within that structure. As a general rule you should request between 33.5 and 36 credits. This also builds in some unscheduled times for studying, working on projects and meeting with teachers. Note that if you’re enrolled in fewer than 35.5 credits, you will likely have at least 5 open blocks/frees per 8-day rotation in one semester.
- Use your best judgment in selecting the right courses for you; while it may be difficult, do not let the classes your friends take influence your choices.
Leveled courses are designated CP (College Preparatory) and H (Honors). In addition, there are seventeen AP (Advanced Placement) courses offered in a range of subjects that are the equivalent of college-level courses. Based on the grade achieved on the AP exam and the college you attend, the school may award credit and/or placement out of prerequisites.
“What looks better…”
Many students and parents ask questions that start this way. The most important thing to remember when you select courses is that your courses belong to you, and your goal should be to create a personally rewarding experience of learning – avoid basing your choices solely on what you think colleges want.
The big picture…
It can be helpful to think about your academic journey including what courses you’ve already taken and what courses you would like to take in the years ahead. For example, if you are considering a career in STEM, you may want to consider taking engineering. Or if you are considering studying business, you may want to take economics and other business courses. This Four-Year Course Planning Guide is a useful tool in creating a four year plan:
The steps for selecting courses is fairly simple. But if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact your counselor.
- The Program of Studies is available online HERE so you have time to review the course offerings for next year and discuss options with teachers, parents, and counselors before sitting down to enter course requests in February.
- Recommendations for your next year’s leveled courses will be posted to the Infinite Campus “Backpack” along with your grade’s Course Request Form.
- In February, high school students meet with counselors to review choices and enter the Course Request Forms in person or via zoom: Class of 2022 students 2/2, 2/4 and 2/5; Class of 2023 students 2/8, 2/9 and 2/11; and Class of 2024 students 2/12, 2/22 and 2/23. Class of 2025 (current grade 8 students) submit the Course Request Form to Middle School Guidance by 2/12. High School counselors will be meeting with current 8th grade students 2/25 and 2/26 at WMS or via zoom.
- Course requests are entered during the meeting with your counselor. Teachers are usually the best judges of appropriate levels –
many of the students who overrode levels this year returned to the recommended level. If you or your parent disagrees with a teacher’s level recommendation, we strongly encourage discussing it with the teacher in order to gain insight as to why that recommendation was made.
- The priority deadline for override requests is Friday 2/26. The Override Request Form is completed by the students and emailed to their counselors, after which the student is responsible for having discussions with their current teachers. Any requests or teacher meetings taking place after 2/26 will put students on a waitlist for placement in September.
Level Selection Considerations
Most WHS students take a mix of levels. It is important to find the best course fit for each of your academic subjects. However, remember that you also need to look at the whole picture to ensure that the load will not be too great. Even if individual teachers each suggest Honors, for example, you may decide that a course load of multiple Honors classes will be overwhelming and choose to take the class in which you have less interest or is most difficult at a College Preparatory level. Most AP courses require summer work. To get a sense of the work and the difficulty of the course, it can be useful to look at past summer assignments on the library webpage found HERE.
The best means of determining your course level next year is to gauge how you are doing this year.
- If you have effective reading and writing skills, but understand concepts better when teachers provide some structure to help in understanding, College Preparatory levels may be a good fit.
- If you like to learn independently, enjoy open-ended analysis, have strong communication and conceptual skills, are extremely motivated and can organize time well to manage a lot of homework, an Honors course can work for you.
- Please remember, if the current work in an honors level class has been too hard, you’ve needed a lot of support of the teacher or a tutor, you have trouble organizing concepts and/or you struggle to complete homework along with everything else in your day, you might want to consider taking a CP level next year. (Homework is expected in every class, but keep in mind that Honors and AP classes generally have significantly more homework than CP classes.)
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between Honors and Advanced Placement courses?
Advanced Placement (AP) courses are bound by a pre-approved college-level curriculum. Honors classes have more flexibility in what’s covered and the pace. For members of the class of 2021 and 2022, AP and Honors classes add points to the GPA. You can expect to have a significant amount of homework in an AP course. Students are encouraged to take the AP exams in the spring.
For members of the Class of 2023+, how will having only an unweighted GPA affect me?
Starting with the Class of 2023, only an unweighted GPA will be calculated and reported. We believe that this will encourage students to take courses of interest to them, at whatever level, without the worry of lowering their GPA. The unweighted GPA will reflect the grades you earn in all of your courses. Most colleges recalculate their own GPAs, and those that don’t will assess students within the context of their school. Colleges focus on the information on the transcript (courses and grades) instead of a single number.
How many Honors and AP courses do colleges want to see?
Colleges want to see challenging coursework, yet it is not as simple as counting courses. They want to see a balanced and successful schedule.
Isn’t it better to enroll in Honors classes now, since I can always move to the CP level later?
There are several problems with this strategy. First, you will not be able to change levels if CP sections are full. Second, if you are able to find an open section, it may require you to change other classes in your schedule, change teachers or drop electives in which you are already enrolled.
From the college’s point of view, isn’t it better to get a C in Honors than be in a CP class?
There are consequences for shooting too high. Taking a course isn’t the same as succeeding in a course. In fact, low grades in an Honors classes can hurt your GPA. A grade of C in Honors earns you a 2.7 whereas a grade of B in CP adds 3.0 to your GPA. And if are struggling with an AP grade of D+, your GPA is calculated as 2.3. Earning just a C+ in the CP class would earn the same 2.3. More importantly, it is likely that you may do much better in the course level more appropriate for you. Colleges take into account the course you took, the level, and letter grade – they want to see you challenge yourself AND do well.
How many years of a language should you take?
Some students come to high school with years of language study under their belt and continue with the same language, whereas others decide to begin studying a new language. While WHS’s graduation requirement is two years of the same foreign language, many colleges will recommend or require three to four years. Students who attain high levels of proficiency in both English and a world language may be eligible to earn a Seal of Biliteracy from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts upon graduation. See the Program of Studies for details.
Which language is best to take for college?
The language itself doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you take one that interests you.
If I’m not at the top of the class I won’t get into a “good” college.
With over 3,500 colleges in U.S. alone, this isn’t an accurate statement. Students at every level at WHS get into the right colleges for them – colleges in which they can grow and succeed.
Will I get all the classes that I sign up for?
It is important to understand that sometimes the courses students request cannot be accommodated into their schedules. For example, courses listed in the Program of Studies may not run for a variety of reasons, courses may conflict with each other, or sections might be full. It is important to provide alternate courses for electives and senior year academic courses that have only 1 or 2 sections.