Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Choosing Senior Year Courses

Now that we've wrapped up our work on the class that will enter this fall, we're turning our attention in earnest to the classes that will follow. If you're thinking about applying next year, I hope you've already seen our essay questions, and I wish you luck with them. And if you're still debating which classes you should take, I hope what follows will be helpful.

We generally like to see students take at least one course in each of the five core academic disciplines--English, math, foreign language, lab science, and social science--right through to the end of their senior year. We also like to see students taking the top course offered in most of these disciplines--say, at least four out of the five--by the time they're seniors.

We think this way not because this is a formula that every student must rigidly follow, but because this kind of curriculum comes closer than any other to the kind our students pursue in their first two years at Carolina. And since one purpose of admission is to make a good match between student and school, it makes sense to us to take into account the courses our candidates are taking in high school, and whether those courses match well with the courses we expect students to take at Carolina.

Again, this is general guidance--not a formula, and not a guarantee of any particular outcome, good or bad. Great students may have good and thoughtful reasons for doing something different--and if that's the case, we'd love to hear about those reasons through the applications these students eventually submit.

Good luck this summer, and beyond. And please let us know if we may help you in any way.

--Stephen Farmer