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Scheduling Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing Courses:


  • Is it best to choose easier classes so I get all A’s?
  • College admission officers want to see the best grades in the most challenging courses students can manage.  This means A’s and B’s in the most rigorous courses in which students can be successful. Colleges receive our school profile which lists all of the rigorous courses, thus giving them a gauge to determine to what extent the student has challenged him/herself.  Students will need to confirm that they are meeting both Southwest High School graduation requirements as well as the entrance requirements for their post-secondary college or training institution.  Remember, however, that students are compared both to their Southwest peers as well as national and/or international candidates. As such, students are advised to avoid being a “minimum” candidate and are encouraged to take 4 years of both math and science.


  • Are PSEO courses better than AP or IB courses?
  • It depends. Every student situation is unique, and students are encouraged to contact potential post-secondary institutions to receive direction specific to their situation.  In general, we have found that colleges prefer students to remain at SW and challenge themselves in AP/IB coursework.  The rationale is two-fold:
    1. SW is a strong high school known for academic excellence and the AP/IB courses offered here are “known quantities” for college admission officers.  That is, they have a good sense of the curriculum and how that curriculum will apply to and prepare our students for the coursework at the college.
    2. Students taking PSEO courses tend to disengage from extracurriculars and other leadership opportunities at our high school. This is also counter-productive to being a strong applicant.


  • Do I have to take a 4th year of math or science?
  • You only need to have 3 years of math and 3 years of science to graduate from Southwest High School.  However, we strongly encourage you to take a 4th year of math and science. Colleges like to see that you have challenged yourself in high school and many selective colleges recommend or even require a 4th year of math and/or science. Another reason to register for a 4th year of math or science is to stay fresh in those topics.  College Freshmen who haven't had math since junior year of high school are much more out of practice than those who had a senior year math course!


Parent/Guardian Role:

  • As a parent/guardian, do I get to approve my student’s choices?
    • Parents/guardians are encouraged to be an active part of the discussion in choosing course. However, due to logistical challenges, parents are not required to review or approve student course requests at the high school level.  Course requests made by students will be visible on the student/parent portal in the weeks following registration.
    • Parents/guardians are strongly encouraged to attend information sessions regarding registration, speak with current teachers about course options and recommendations, and engage their student in conversations about course planning and registration prior to students' final Course Registration Card submission.


Student role:

  • Can I take whatever I want?
  • As a SW student, it is our expectation that you will be the primary decision maker in this process. Thus, students are expected to explore courses through the Course Catalog and Academics tab of Website, be in attendance at class and advisory when presentations take place, talk with teachers, engage parents/guardians and/or other caring adults in conversations about course choices, and bring final course selection questions to counselors during the Course Registration Card Completion sessions.  SW students are also expected to take ownership of monitoring their graduation requirements when registering.


Next Steps:

  • What happens next?
  • At the conclusion of the course request process, all student selections will be entered into our scheduling system. Course requests will be used to determine the courses offered and how many sections/hours are needed.  Hiring and allotment of teaching staff is determined by course and section needs.
    • Example:
      • 250 sophomores select AP US History (Requires approximately 8 sections)
      • 150 sophomores select US History (Requires approximately 5 sections)


  • Can I change my mind?
  • Once students submit Course Registration Cards, changes can only be made for very limited reasons. It is not possible to honor requests to change course selections or teacher preferences.  Every effort is made to provide students and families with information to make informed and appropriate requests on the Course Registration Card.