It’s that time of the year. As the first month of the second semester comes to a close, students face numerous meetings with their counselors, hold discussions with parents and friends, and pore over class and elective descriptions as they struggle to determine—you guessed it—their course registrations.
But a certain year of students might have it the hardest. As a freshman, I found myself surrounded by new courses and electives and a plethora of unfamiliar information. Right now, freshmen are only one semester into their high school lives, and already they have to make choices that may set their academic paths for the remaining 3 years of high school.
Thankfully, the freshmen aren’t alone in this process—their counselors, teachers, and even parents are all there to inform and support them and their course choices. Discussions and meetings with these people are very important, especially when regarding not just the courses students wish to take next year, but also in years after.
Still, there are some parts of the course registration process which prove to be challenging to freshmen. To figure out exactly which ones, I interviewed four KIS freshmen, each of whom expressed his/her thoughts on course registration.
How was the process of course registration for you? Describe your overall experience.
“Overall, the process did not have many problems. We visited our counselors, got information from them and our teachers about the potential courses we could sign up for, and there was even that day when our advisories went to see all the different electives and their descriptions. With all this information, the registration process was made a lot easier.”
“In my opinion, the course registration here at KIS was a pretty smooth process. It was a slow, informative selection process which gave us students lots of information at our disposal.”
Why did you decide to choose the courses you did?
“I chose one of my electives because I was looking at my high school future and wanted to take all 4 years of [it] to show commitment… and the other I chose because I genuinely enjoy it and I want to invest all 4 years of my high school life into [it].”
“I had most of my courses planned out for a specific path so it wasn’t super hard. It was hard deciding what electives I wanted to take because there were so many interesting courses available. I chose the courses which I found fun and also would allow me to delve into newer and more challenging things.”
“I personally chose [class] as it gave me a chance to continue enjoying my hobbies and build my already existing experience. The thought of learning a much broader scope of [topic] captivated my urge to take the class.”
What were some of the hardships you faced during the registration process?
“Honestly, although the counselors did give us some information about the courses and how to register, there weren’t a lot of clear instructions for what to do when you want to take certain courses or omit others. They gave vague ideas, but weren’t really specific.”
“Some parts of the process were confusing, such as how I would be able to appeal to take certain courses, or what courses to select on your PowerSchool when PowerSchool has all these limitations and standardizations. Also, I had a hard time choosing only two electives to take, when I wished I could’ve taken multiple.”
And finally, if you could change or add anything to the current course registration process, what would it be?
“Well, aside from the electives I already picked, I also wished that I could take economics or computer-aided design… There’s a bunch of really interesting elective options, but KIS doesn’t really give us a lot of opportunities to try them.”
“If I could change anything, I would change the amount of APs that someone could take during their sophomore year.”
“I would make it so that students could have more individual time to discuss with their counselors. We didn’t really have individual meetings—just large group ones, which were kinda rushed and didn’t allow us to ask all the questions we wanted, because of time constraints.”
After interviewing these freshmen and learning their thoughts on the course registration process, it is clear: although counselors and teachers are doing their part in informing students about the potential courses they could take, there seem to be two main sources of frustration with the current process.
With so many diverse courses offered, it is so tempting to take all. Especially as an underclassman with so many required courses to take, the number of electives gets very limited. The second is the general sense of confusion in the overall process.
Realistically, it’s going to be hard to try and solve the first issue. Changing (a.k.a. increasing) the number of electives a student can take to satisfy their desire for expanded horizons will prove to be very challenging.
But the second issue is an issue that can be solved.
Perhaps an increased number of autonomous block and contact time check-ups with counselors could help. But that has, historically, been proven to be an unpopular use of time. Instead, individually scheduling appointments with their counselors and teachers during lunch, autonomous block, or after school can be an excellent way to flush out the confusion.
Course registration for the freshmen—with their lack of experience, knowledge, and the lack of confidence needed to make clear course choices—is a little overwhelming, to say the least.
But it doesn’t have to be.
– Lauren Cho (’22)
Featured Image: Lake Howell High School