What are you signing up for?


Some students take an interest in a course because of the college credit offered for completing it, however, these promises are not always fulfilled. There are several courses, in fact, that are not approved by the University of California or California State University systems for college units despite there being some confusion . Others simply satisfy the graduation requirements known as the A-G requirements.

“Some of the courses I’ve taken throughout high school just kinda leave me wondering like ‘Why did I have to take this?’ Especially during my freshman and sophomore years,” Eveny Mendoza, 12, said.

Among these courses is Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID, which focuses primarily on college readiness. AVID is meant to be a four-year class for its students that prepares them for everything they need to know before and during their college years all throughout their high school years. The course even mixes under and upper classmen to create a family-like atmosphere among the grades. However, due to the curriculum specific to this site, students taking AVID only receive elective credits towards graduation, rather than qualify for college units like other sites do.

“[AVID teachers] get students ready for college, we get them accepted to college and hope that they are successful in college because it won’t come as a huge shock,” AVID coordinator Pamela Whiting said. Whiting also reported that at least 90 percent of AVID seniors get accepted into four year universities annually.

College and Career Readiness is also an elective that only offers elective credits, despite the course name. It is geared towards showing students their strengths and weaknesses and allow them to map out their plans after high school. However, the class still is not approved by any college system to have students earn credits for the material they spend a semester learning. Typically, this course is taken alongside  with Health Science because both of which are only semester-long courses.

“Looking back, I thought it was a fun class but I don’t think I really learned anything that affected me greatly,” Alex Lopez, 12, said.

In addition, freshmen and sophomores can English Honors prior to transitioning into the Advanced Placement English courses. Honors courses are meant to be more rigorous than regular classes and, thus, provide students with college credit for completing the course. The courses offered, however, only satisfies the regular English credit requirements for graduation and not college units, like some believe.

“We move a lot faster and our curriculum is meant to ask more from our students. Honors is meant to prepare students for AP courses [which do offer credit,” English 9 Honors teacher Maureen Smith said.

Health Sciences, however, is a mandatory course that all students must take to graduate. The course, which has a history of being confused as an elective, promotes basic health and safety information. In the class, students discuss topics such as nutrition, mental health, sexual health and more to educate students about real-world issues they may run into. While it is only a semester-long course, Health Science teacher Timothy Corliss stresses that many students every year put it off until  their senior year.

“The curriculum is written for freshman and unfortunately there’s lots of seniors that take it last minute to graduate. It teaches skills that students use and build on throughout life,” Corliss said.

Some courses may not be all that they appear to be, but they do have a purpose. While some are meant to prepare students for more rigorous courses such as AP and those beyond high school, others are meant to prepare them for their post-high school life.

Whatever it may be, it is still a practical way for students to think during their next course selection and consider how their schedule will benefit them and keep track of their A-G requirements.

“As I’ve gotten closer to graduating, I’ve realized I paid a lot more attention to what courses I sign up for. I’m trying to graduate on time,” Silvia Diaz, 10, said.