While middle school may seem early for students to think seriously about course selection, according to Adventures in Education, "the courses your child takes starting as early as eighth grade can have a large effect on his or her choices after high school graduation." Enrolling your teen in courses that match his interests and challenge him can also play a role in his academic success.
Middle schools often offer elective courses for teens to choose from, ranging from physical education to music. Before choosing one of these electives, encourage your child to discover her interests. Help your child distinguish between activities she likes or dislikes. Determine which subjects your teen has been successful at in the past. Encourage your teen to find something she enjoys doing, whether it be sports, painting, reading or another activity. This will provide a good start to choosing electives.
Meet with the School Counseler
Before choosing an elective, have your teen meet with his school counselor to discuss options. The counselor may be able to match a student's interests with an appropriate elective. In addition, counselors can prepare fast-learning middle school students for high school by encouraging them to take a course that allows them to earn high school credit. While these courses are available at many schools, students should be aware that they can also be challenging.
Tackle College Requirements
Many colleges require prospective students to have taken at least two years of a foreign language. Being proficient in a foreign language can also help students when applying for jobs in the future. If your child is not required to take a foreign language, you'll want to encourage her to take one as an elective. The same goes for computer classes. Computer skills are highly necessary in the work environment. If your child is not required to take a computer class, be sure one is included as an elective.
Consider the Arts
When choosing electives, it's also important to consider the arts. Many classes that were once requirements are no longer included in basic school curricula. In some schools, classes such as art, music and theater are limited to electives. Courses in the arts "broaden a child's understanding of the world and contribute significantly to intellectual development," according to America's Career Resource Network.