Students reveal insights on course selection process

An in-depth look into course selection

By Era Goel and Izzy La Rue

Every year in February, students attend the course information fair to better inform themselves about the options they have for classes to take in the following school year. Students also admit to facing peer pressure with taking courses that they may not want to take or are not ready for.

Junior Alison Farinas said her decision to take three AP classes and two honors classes this year was solely influenced by her interests.

“For all the APs that I am taking this year, I genuinely wanted to take them; it wasn’t because of college,” Farinas said.

Some students, such as junior Diana Sigismondi, said that growing up in another country, outside of the bubble of the Silicon Valley, has impacted their perspective on course selection.

“It’s really different from where I grew up versus being here. I have two different perspectives because on one side I feel like there’s so much pressure on college and your future over here, but when I talk to my friends in Spain, they don’t feel that,” Sigismondi said. “In the back of my mind, I always keep that mentality open, because they’re doing what they like and it’s less stressful, but at the same time, I know what life is like here.”

Freshman Krystal Le plans to continue taking courses that she said suit her comfort level, although she admits the choices of her friends have some influence over her decision.

“There’s some peer pressure when choosing classes, like Chemistry or Chemistry Honors,” Le said. “My friends said they were going to take regular, so I thought I would too, but after the Course Faire, they changed their minds, and I rethought my decision.”

Sophomore Romtin Rezvani said he feels like his friends and parents do not pressure him to take any classes, leaving him to take the classes he wants. Rezvani said students who are pressured into enrolling in  certain classes should stand strong and only sign up for the classes they are comfortable taking.

Sophomore Michelle Bekku said she plans to take American Studies, Pre-Calculus Honors, AP Biology and French Three next year. Bekku said she is taking these rigorous classes next year to challenge herself.

“I want to challenge myself by taking an honors math course, and I would rather take [an AP science] class next year rather than senior year,” Bekku said.

Freshman Harold Rucker III said he plans to take classes that are not overly rigorous so he can have an easy sophomore year and earn good grades. Rucker said he does not like the idea of having to take AP or Honors courses to “be smart.” He said he likes to take classes he knows he can succeed in.

Junior Natalie Muret said that adjusting to public school from an all-girls private middle school was a big shift, and wishes that she had more information presented to her when choosing her classes in eighth grade.

“They do show charts and diagrams that show the pathway for you when choosing classes, like Geometry Enriched students go to Algebra 2/Trig,” Muret said, “but I would have wanted to meet the teachers of the class, or even the students who have been through the class, because then I would have thought, ‘Oh, this student has survived it, I can do it too.’”

Muret said the importance of course selection begins as a freshman, and a more informed process would set students up for success.

“The classes that you take freshman year will affect the classes you can take in the coming years, and eventually affect how colleges perceive you,” Muret said. “You always worry if you’re taking the right class, and that’s what is really scary. Coming to a new school, whatever you decide here is kind of a big deal.”