Decisions, Decisions… Time for Course Selections

As quarter three treks on and winter turns into spring, one thing students are looking forward to is the year coming to an end. While that may seem to be far away now, there are only two short months until the Class of ‘23 graduates, and three more months until the year ends for underclassmen. 

With the end of the year comes preparing for next year; seniors are deciding which colleges to go to, and underclassmen now have a familiar daunting task: building next year’s schedule.

Every year, guidance counselors meet with students to collaborate on creating the best schedule for students, keeping in mind class limits, period restrictions, previous grades, graduation requirements, and more.

The first thing students should keep in mind is the difficulty of the classes. For most classes, the options are College Prep. (CP) and Honors. CP classes are built to prepare students for the structure of college courses, as well as give the information needed to be ready for those courses. Honors classes are a more difficult variant of the same classes, usually. Teachers structure classes to include more difficult topics, run at a faster pace, and have a GPA boost.

If honors classes are still too easy, some courses offer an Advanced Placement (AP) course as well. Run via College Board, these classes are built with the plan to take the AP test at the end of the year. If a student gets a high enough grade on the test, it can be worth college credits at their college or university of choice. Not every college will accept AP credits, but it may be worth it to some students, especially factoring in the additional GPA boost.

Choosing the right difficulty of classes can be hard. Whether expectations are too high or too low, knowing which classes to take is a skill not many possess. Principal Mastrangelo noted, on behalf of the administration, “we always want to strive to have a level of rigor.” His belief is that students should push themselves to be the best they can be. Despite this, it is also important to not overexert. “I think the best thing you can do is talk to your teachers… then have a conversation with your counselors.” 

“Take a step back, and you have to take everything into consideration: what clubs am I in, am I in athletics, am I in the band? What is going to pull me from the index?” As classes are not the only thing happening in a student’s life, the other things they do should be taken into account, Mastrangelo noted. Students who have little to no free time after school, extracurriculars, and work ends may not be the best students to be taking several AP classes. 

Another possible option is Early College, for rising juniors and seniors. Through Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC), students have the opportunity to take all of their classes at the local college, instead of at Malden High. These students would earn college credits and high school credits simultaneously. If taken for two consecutive years, students can graduate high school with an associate's degree in their major of choice.

Students who wish to take part in this program should meet with Alison Fornash, BHCC/MHS Early College Program Coordinator and School Counselor. She can help students decide whether this is a feasible option for them, and can be reached at

If leaving high school entirely behind seems like too much, but a student wants a taste of college courses, they can also take one course per semester via the Dual Enrollment program. These courses would be taken in addition to Malden High courses, although some students choose to take a direct study instead of an elective, resulting in the same total classes. Ann O’Connor, BHCC Dual Enrollment Coordinator and Jenkins House School Counselor, can help students decide if this is a good fit for them, and how heavy their course load will be. Her best method of contact is

Additionally, some courses require applications and prior meetings with teachers. Mock Trial, run by Richard Tivnan, needs an application of interest before enrollment. Play Production, with Leanne Derosa, needs students to meet with the teacher to make sure they have the dedication to commit to this class and its performance dates. For most electives, it is usually in the best interest of the student to send an email out to the teacher before enrollment anyway, to make sure the class will be a good fit, but also to make sure there is no application or meeting they are required to attend.

Meetings with guidance counselors will start in just a few weeks, so students should keep an eye out for those dates. For any follow-up meetings and questions, emails can be directed to the corresponding guidance counselor.

For 9th graders, Brunelli and Jenkins students can reach out to Amy Yu,, while Holland and Boyle can contact Alison White,

For 10th through 12th graders, Jenkins students can contact O’Connor; Brunelli students can contact Taryn Belowski,; Holland students can contact Kristy Magras,; and Boyle students can contact Jessalyne Brown,

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