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High School Classes That Prepare Teens for Their Future

by Laura Leddy Turner

High school students can best prepare for life after graduation by taking classes that challenge their intellect and expose them to a variety of skills. College preparatory classes, for instance, ensure students meet basic college requirements, but students in this track benefit even more from taking advanced placement classes. In addition, students entering the work force after high school can get hands-on experience in vocational technical courses, but taking a course like psychology will better prepare them for roles in management. Learning a second language also broadens a teen's future career choices. Equally important are classes that educate teens in basic life skills, such as balancing a checkbook and preparing a healthy meal.

Advanced Placement Classes

According to the College Board, high school advanced placement courses help mature a student's intellect while providing an opportunity to earn college credit. AP classes help students hone their writing skills, strengthen critical thinking capability and provide experience in the work habits needed to succeed both in college and professional life. Colleges, in turn, see a student's choice to take advanced placement courses as a sign of maturity and a commitment to academic excellence.

Vocational Technical Programs

All public high schools are required to offer general education classes, but students entering the work force after high school benefit more from a high school curriculum that combines general education with vocational technical training. Students in vocational technical tracks are given the opportunity to develop professional skills that are useful either in a trade or a continuing education alternative to college. Examples of vocational technical training at the high school level include programs in automotive repair, computer programming, cosmetology and carpentry.

Family and Consumer Science Classes

Family and consumer science is the home economics class of the 21st century. The course is structured on the assumption that even students who take it as an elective will be entering the work force rather than becoming a full-time homemaker. In Pennsylvania, study of family and consumer science is required either as an independent class or as a unit in the social studies curriculum. The coursework in family and consumer science is gender-neutral and more about life skills than homemaking. Topics include personal finance, nutrition, resume writing, entrepreneurship and assertiveness training.

Foreign-Language Classes

Study of a second language in high school has many benefits, particularly in a global economy. In Europe, 53 percent of students speak a second language, usually English, according to Annenberg Classroom, a website affiliated with the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics Research. Many colleges require applicants to have at least two years of foreign language study. In addition, study of a second language has been shown to improve a student's skills in English and math. Fluency in a second language also will broaden a student's future career opportunities.

About the Author

Laura Leddy Turner began her writing career in 1976. She has worked in the newspaper industry as an illustrator, columnist, staff writer and copy editor, including with Gannett and the Asbury Park Press. Turner holds a B.A. in literature and English from Ramapo College of New Jersey, with postgraduate coursework in business law.

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