Guidelines for Selecting Courses - Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Guidelines for Selecting Courses

What should I consider when picking classes?

A few guidelines you should follow are:

What should I consider when picking classes?

A few guidelines you should follow are:

  • Make sure you have enough mathematics/science classes for graduation requirements.
  • Make sure you have taken the prerequisite for the class.
  • Check with the appropriate teacher for advice about the workload of various electives.
  • Pick courses YOU are interested in. Especially in science, consider taking courses in different areas.
  • Consider expectations of colleges. If you are interested more in engineering, you may want to focus on physics; if pre-med is a consideration, focus on chemistry electives.
  • If you are interested in taking the Advanced Placement Chemistry exam, it is recommended to list BOTH sections of Advanced Chemistry as two of your top priorities.

What are IMSA’s graduation requirements?

IMSA’s graduation requirements are:

  • 3 English credits (.5 each semester)
  • 2.5 Social Studies credits
  • 2 World Languages credits (of the same language)
  • 4 Science credits (SI counts as 2)
  • 3 Mathematics credits
  • 8 Mathematics/Science credits in total
  • .5 Wellness credits (excluding Sophomore Wellness)
  • .5 Fine Arts credits

What do colleges expect?

While all colleges are not the same in terms of admission requirements, there are definite similarities about the academic basics colleges expect in order for a student to be competitive for admission. Below are some of the general admission requirements for a state university, a selective small liberal arts college, and an Ivy League school. These are to be used as guidelines only as specific departments/specialized majors within the schools themselves may have additional requirements for a student to complete to remain competitive.

Large State University (Total Units = 16):

  • 4 years of English
  • 3 or 3.5 years of Mathematics
  • 2 years of Social Studies
  • 2 years of Laboratory Science
  • 2 years of World Languages (same language)

Selective Small Liberal Arts colleges (Total Units = 16):

  • 4 years of English (emphasis on writing)
  • 3 years of Mathematics (3.5+ preferred)
  • 2 years of Social Studies (3+ preferred)
  • 1 year of Laboratory Science (2+ preferred)
  • 2 years of World Languages (3+ preferred)

Ivy League/Highly Selective Colleges (Total Units = 16):

  • 4 years of English
  • 3 years of Mathematics for some majors, 4 for specialized
  • 3 years of Social Studies
  • 3 years of Laboratory Science for some majors, 4 for specialized
  • 3 years of World Languages (same language)

If you have any questions about course selection, graduation requirements, or college expectations about courseloads, please talk to your counselor.