Back in my day, the only career courses that a college-bound student were likely to take were in accounting, computer programming, foods and personal typing. These courses were electives. I knew several bright classmates who suffered in typing. I join them in being thankful for computers and spell-check.
Forty years later, New Jersey’s public high schools offer more choices, and these courses fulfill five or more credits towards a diploma. Our Department of Education phrases the career course as “21st century life and careers, or career-technical education.” The career course may be in business, family and consumer sciences, Junior ROTC, technology/industrial arts, and co-op work experience.
It’s a good idea to get some exposure to the workplace, work-life skills or military service in high school. The ‘A’ in Cooking or Robotics might make a student feel good, and it might provide background material for a good college admissions essay. But while the course offers experience, exposure or skills, it will not be counted by college admissions offices when they calculate a student’s GPA. Only the college-prep course grades will count.
I offer some thoughts on how to choose the right career course that may help with college admissions, even if the grade is unlikely to count towards the GPA:
Choosing the career course might be almost as important as choosing the right college prep courses to get into the degree program you want. While it might be tempting to find a career course that is less demanding, it is wiser to take one that will make you more in demand by colleges and future employers.
Got questions about choosing the right courses? Contact me at email@example.com
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