Planning ahead for college while in high school is smart for any student who wishes to pursue higher learning. If you plan to pursue a career in counseling, you can take classes that will help prepare you for college programs concentrating in this discipline. Depending on what your school district offers, you can make choices in your high school courses and elsewhere that will prepare you for a smoother transition to a college program in counseling.
High School Psychology Classes
Your high school may offer classes such as Introduction to Psychology or Child Development. In these courses, you will examine topics like the physical and perceptual development of newborns and children, the role of the family and peers during adolescence, and changes that occur in health and life situations during old age. You will study the ways in which people receive, process, store, retrieve and analyze information and the physical and mental factors that cause people to act a specific way at a specific time. Some highs schools offer Advanced Placement Psychology courses. According to the College Board, AP Psychology students study research methods, behavioral and emotional characteristics, developmental psychology and abnormal psychology. Taking this class and passing the AP Psychology exam can earn college credit.
Dual Enrollment and Online Courses
Community colleges often offer dual enrollment programs to high school students. You may be able to earn credit toward your high school diploma and college transcript by taking introductory-level courses. Classes like Introduction to Psychology, Human Growth and Development or Introduction to Sociology are some course options. You may also be able to take online classes through a college or university. Many institutions allow high school students to enroll in college classes after they have taken and passed placement tests.
School districts often offer training to older students as peer counselors. These students are usually juniors or seniors who help freshmen with the transition to high school or work with middle school students. As a peer counselor, you are trained in area such as personal growth, diversity, self-assessment, micro-counseling skills, crisis management and setting limits. According to the article, "Peer Counselors in a High School Setting," published in the the journal, "School Counselor," trained peer counselors have been successful in providing information and referrals, assisting in new student orientation, facilitating assertiveness-training groups, acting as group leaders, providing vocational counseling, increasing student involvement and operating hot lines.
College Prerequisites and Non-Psychology Courses
Some universities require students to complete statistics or calculus courses before declaring psychology as a major. These courses enable you to understand research methods and statistical results. Counseling or psychology programs also expect their students to be able to write well. AP or dual enrollment English classes will enhance your writing skills. Biology and anatomy are important subjects that will help you understand how biological makeup and psychological processes are connected.
- Bristol Virginia Public Schools: Program Planning Guide
- College Board AP: Psychology Course Description 2010
- School Counselor: Peer Counselors in a High School Setting: Evaluation of Training and Impact on Students
- Allentown PA School District: Dual Enrollment Guide
- University of Virginia: Psychology Undergraduate Studies Handbook
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