1. I need to choose my courses as soon as possible because sign-ups are first come, first served.
Rest assured, we do not allocate courses on a first come, first served basis. In fact, we encourage our students to take time to review and reflect on their choices with their families and counselors. We build our master schedule after we have collected student choices. 

2. It is more important that I have a lot of honors-level and advanced studies courses on my transcript than good grades.
Students should pursue a curriculum that is appropriately rigorous––in other words, one in which the student can be challenged and can also be academically successful. This means that, when choosing high school courses, it is important to take a strong academic program––but it is even more important for students to take classes that they enjoy and in which they can earn strong grades.

3. There are so many cool classes at SAS,  I want to take more than seven courses next semester.  I heard the counselors will let you do it if you meet with them.
Ninth and tenth graders must be enrolled in seven courses each semester—no more and no less. Eleventh and twelfth graders will ordinarily be enrolled in seven courses unless their overall courseload is heavy and they need an extra study period. In this case, juniors and seniors may enroll in a minimum of six courses each semester. Remember, too, that high school is about more than academics. We want you to contribute to the community, participate in extracurriculars, engage in service, play sports.  

4. I heard that SAS removed the SAS Catalyst graduation requirement. 
The SAS Catalyst is a graduation requirement. The most common way for students to participate in Catalyst is by taking it as a stand-alone semester course during junior or senior year.  Alternatively, students can satisfy the requirement by successfully completing the AT Seminar and AT Research and Catalyst courses. Finally, students involved in our SAS Quest program fulfill their Catalyst requirement as part of the Quest culminating project. 

5. My friend said that seniors should take Catalyst in their final semester at SAS. 
We’ve got lots of options for when to take the SAS Catalyst.  We often recommend that students take the SAS Catalyst project during the second semester of junior year or first semester of senior year. The learning gained in a student’s personalized Catalyst project can be of value during the college admissions process. However, second semester senior year is a viable option for students as well. Your college counselor can help you to determine when the best time to take the course might be for your unique plan and situation. 

6. I looked at the math pathways. If I’m not in Algebra II/Trig by grade 10 at the latest, I will never be able to reach the higher-level math courses at SAS.
We work hard to keep our math pathways open for every student no matter where they start. For instance, if a student starts in Algebra I and decides to take one math course per year in our typical sequence, if that student does well, they will still have access to honors-level and advanced studies math options in senior year. After ninth grade, there are opportunities to double up on math courses, too. Please see your current math teacher or counselor to learn more about our math pathways.

7. I heard that every SAS student must take an advanced studies course.
Students do not need to take any AP or AT courses to graduate from SAS. Our counselors will work with students and families to come up with an appropriately rigorous course of study that suits each student’s aspirations and postsecondary desires. 

8. Since I need to take seven AP courses, my friends and I are trying to figure out which ones to take.  What would you recommend? 
Starting with the Class of 2021, there is a limit on the number of AP course credits a student may earn at SAS.  These students may earn up to seven year-long-equivalent AP credits during their high school careers. Remember that the AP credit limit is just that: a limit and not a goal. The “right” number of advanced studies courses will vary from one student to another and from one subject to another (and in fact, a student can take zero advanced studies courses and graduate from SAS).  

9. I need to take AP Economics as soon as possible because it’s going to be phased out.
At this time, we have no plans to phase out any of the advanced studies courses that are in our 2019-20 program planning guide. Check out the advanced studies appendices in the guide to see our advanced studies opportunities for next year and into the future.  

10.  Course registration is no big deal.  I’ll pick my courses now but I can change them in August once I see my schedule.
After our registration process closes, we build our master schedule based on the number of sign-ups we have for each course. We schedule our new students in August. After they are scheduled, there often are not many, if any, seats left in a class. Additionally, in order to change a schedule, there must be a course schedule problem (e.g. a student is missing a graduation requirement, a student has all of her advanced courses on one day, two frees are scheduled on the same day). The bottom line: spend the time now to thoughtfully consider the courses you intend to take next year.

If you hear any other myths or rumors, please reach out to your personal academic counselors, college counselors or administration team! We’re happy to help you find the answers you need to make thoughtful course choices. 

  • catalyst
  • counseling
  • counselor
  • course registration
  • high school

Recent Posts

by Jonna Chen

Senior Jonna Chen writes about the summer of 2018 and how this time spent among honey bees in a laboratory has been her best cup of tea so far.

Didi Hari Krishnan

Did you miss the high school PTA parent coffee on Monday, April 8? Here are the highlights from our recent parent coffee on summer programs and summer semester options.

by Kinjal Shah

Susan Ridley (Class of 1977) had difficulties in learning a new language and challenges with understanding people of different nationalities. Ridley now works for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a forensic accountant.