I have a client in the 2024 high school graduating class that had satisfied practically all her math requirements for graduation from high school at the end of junior year. When we met in the spring of junior year to see what her senior course schedule would look like in the fall, the expectation was that she would take pre-calculus. At some point during the summer months, the math class was changed to college algebra. This change in schedule was mentioned in passing and it didn’t make the proper impression on me at the time.
Fast forward to September of senior year and a surprise rejection from a college that should have accepted the student and suddenly the full weight of avoiding pre-calculus became evident. The college major sought by this student requires completing a calculus class. That was not the only thing lacking in the application, but it was enough to prevent her from being admitted into the desired major. Of course, I am on high alert when it comes to senior coursework now and will monitor those classes closely through to the beginning of classes in the fall. This is a good thing because one of my juniors recently sent me a few details from a meeting with his counselor.
It made me proud as I read about the information they exchanged and pretty sure that the counselor held the opinion that this student is really on the ball when it comes to college planning. As I neared the end of his message with a smug smile of satisfaction on my face, my pride disappeared at the sign of a red flag. This student already has the required math credits to graduate and is completing pre-calculus this year. He and his counselor decided that he could skip taking a math class senior. Year. First of all, going a year without taking a math class is a bad idea. Second, his business major will require him to take a calculus class freshman year. He received a quick reply from me encouraging him to rethink his strategy along with an image of his freshman business courses at one of the colleges on his list. I have no doubt that he will take calculus in the fall, and I am very happy that we plan for both summer activities and fall courses early in the spring semester.