Recommended High School Courses

It can be a challenge to figure out which classes you want to take in high school. You have some freedom to pick and choose when it comes to your electives, but not so much when it comes to the core classes.  

Most high schools have a required curriculum that every student must take in order to graduate, and it generally looks something like this: 4 years of English, 3–4 years of math (3 is required; 4 is optional), 2–3 years of history/social studies, and 2–3 years of science. 

Often within those core requirements, different options may be available. For example, you can enroll in AP U.S. Government instead of the standard Government, or choose AP Calculus or an accounting class for math in the twelfth grade.  

Science classes have many options as well, so if physics isn’t your thing, you might try astronomy, marine biology, or anatomy—an opportunity to enroll in a subject that piques your interest.  

Other required courses generally include 1–2 credits of health, physical education, financial literacy, computer technology, and career and technical education (CTE); these vary depending on your school.  

But what if you’re doing online high school? Are the core requirements still the same? The answer is yes. Whether you’re enrolled in a traditional public high school or doing it all online, the path to your diploma is basically the same. Even if different states have slightly different course requirements, most colleges and universities are looking for certain core classes on your transcript. 

The basic graduation requirements at BYU Online High School are similar to what’s listed above, including at least 4 years of English, 3 years of math, 3 years of science, and 3 years of history. You can choose either the Standard Diploma Track or the Advanced Diploma Track. To find out exactly what you would need to graduate, check out our graduation requirements chart and explore your course options.  

Among our 250+ courses for grades 7–12, we also offer 10 World Languages, 15 Advanced Placement (AP) classes, dozens of music courses, and even university-level dual enrollment courses. Our classes are intellectually stimulating and will prepare you for college or a successful career.  

The hardest part of creating your online high school schedule may be figuring out how much of each course to take. Do you skip math in twelfth grade because you’ve already met the 3-year requirement, or will colleges snub you if you do that? Do you take harder AP classes to impress colleges at the risk of lowering your GPA, or coast through the standard courses with easy As? 

The bottom line is that colleges will notice if you are taking just the basics, even if you have a 4.0 GPA. Believe it or not, if your schedule is filled up with more rigorous or AP-level classes—even if you get a few A-minuses or Bs—colleges will pay attention. They’ll look at you as a student who seeks to challenge yourself and is preparing for even harder classes in college. So be ambitious and take the hard ones. You’ll definitely learn a lot, and you might even love them! 

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