It’s course selection time again. Which means it’s anxiety time for students trying to get what they want to fill their empty course slots. But the popularity of some Penn Manor courses frustrates students trying to get what they want on their agenda for next year.
With course selection for the 2010-11 school year right around the bend, March 9 to March 16, Penn Manor students have to take time and consider a variety of courses that could affect their future. The problem for these students is that many of the classes are extremely popular, and there are limits to the amount of students that are able to be in one class.
According to the counseling office, the Penn Manor courses which have the greatest number of students scrambling to get in are:
- CP Journalism
- Digital Photography
- Criminal Justice
- Ag Mechanics
- Marketing and Law
- Language Courses (Spanish)
According to Melissa Ostrowski, Penn Manor guidance counselor, the way that some of these courses are out in the public could be a factor in their growth. When students see their peers carrying around rats in cages (Social-Psych) or stands set up in the cafeteria selling refreshments or merchandise, (Marketing and Law) it can really give people a new view on these courses and interest them.
“Reading a description is one thing (out of the course selection booklet), but actually seeing what the class has to offer is a good way to advertise,” said Ostrowski.
Also, when students hear about how laid back the course photography is and how students are able to conduct their own projects and express themselves, photography might seem like an ideal course, according to some at Penn Manor.
“You have freedom to do what you want and you’re not just getting lectured the whole time,” said Kaitie Trout, a Penn Manor student about the photography classes.
When students think about their future and what courses would be best to help them be successful, language courses could really help them complete their path. Spanish, above all languages taught at Penn Manor, seems to be the most popular.
“Since Spanish is the second widely spoken language in our country, kids recognize that and take the course,” said Julie Bibiloni, a Penn Manor Spanish teacher.
Some might think that the Spain trip might add students to the Spanish class rosters, but Bibiloni thinks otherwise.
“I don’t really think the Spain trip makes kids want to take the course, but when they do go on it, the kids tend to take more levels of Spanish afterward.” said Bibiloni.
To go on the Spain trip, students need to pass Spanish I and Spanish II.
Many factors help make these courses popular and make them a lot more appealing for Penn Manor students to take. The teachers that run these classes could also have something to do with it, noted Ostrowski.
“The teachers really build up a great class, and through word of mouth, its reputation grows,” said Ostrowski.
Math courses are also on the rise in popularity. “Students have been doubling up in these courses and trying to get more experience in this field,” surmises Ostrowski. “Math courses are becoming more popular because it appears that is where future jobs will be headed.”
Calculus, for example, is a math class that is on the rise in the number of student requests for it.
According to Bookrags.com, in the U.S. the 10 most popular high school courses are:
- Foreign Languages (Spanish/ French)
- Painting/ Sculpting/ Ceramics
- Standardized Test Prep Classes
- Woodshop/ Engineering Design
- Graphic Design
- AP courses
- International Relations
- Concert Choir
Only one of these classes relates or is the same as some of Penn Manor’s most popular classes, Foreign Languages, but they all are courses where kids are “building something.”
In all of these classes (Penn Manor’s most popular courses) the students aren’t just sitting there taking notes. They are all very interactive and that could be a contributing factor as to why these courses are so popular. They also help get students ready for their future.
Principal Phil Gale agrees.
“I’m glad that students are exploring the elective areas so they can prepare themselves for life after high school,” said Gale.
For students who can’t get into these classes, Gale gives advice.
“If students can’t get into a class one year they should just apply for it the next year.” said Gale.
By Simon Zimmerman