A basic preparation for college work typically includes the following high school courses:
- 4 years of English
- 3 years of mathematics
- 3 years of science (at least 2 lab sciences)
- 3 years of a foreign language
- 3 years of social science (history, social studies)
It's likely that this basic schedule is suggested, urged, or even required by many high school college preparatory programs as it will help students prepare for everything from a liberal arts college to an engineering school.
What should be done beyond the basics? Well, that's up to each student to decide. Take fine art and music courses. Take a heavier concentration of favorite courses: more advanced math or science (especially for students who are thinking of pursuing a major in math, science, or engineering in college), special writing classes in English, additional languages, even independent projects with teachers who share a student's special interest. This extra work should be inspirational and enjoyable, since students generally pursue the fields they like best.
High school experience shouldn't be limited to the classroom, however. Life outside class can be valuable too. Applicants might pursue something related to an academic interest or an activity that provides a balance to their schoolwork, such as athletics, music, theatre, or volunteer work. They might want to test their skills as a leader by participating in student government or heading the science or French club. Activities like debate or math team competition can hone life skills and are also taken into consideration by the admissions team.
Applicants are encouraged to review the How to Apply website for detailed information about the unique course requirements and recommendations for each Cornell college and school.