Registration: Tips for planning your high school career


Photo Credits: Liam H. Flake

Liam H. Flake

With February in full swing, advisories have passed out registration forms and the time has arrived once more for students to register for next year’s classes. There are requirements – awareness of graduation requirements is fundamental in the process of course selection – but arranging one’s classes is a responsibility placed primarily on the student. Registration offers a wide array of options, from Algebra and British Literature to Film Studies and Studio Art History to Sociology of Relationships and Gourmet Foods/Catering. In spite of – and because of – this, both Fossil Ridge counselors and upperclassmen have advice on the matter.

When asked, most upperclassmen quickly offer a recurring piece of advice: balance. ”Challenge yourself a little bit, because if you take the absolute minimum of classes you’re never going to want to do anything and you’re going to hate yourself,” stated Serena Bettis, a senior at Fossil. At the same time, Bettis promotes allowing some room for relaxation. “Take an off period. Even if there’s a class you really want to take, but don’t absolutely need to take, you’ll probably have the opportunity to take something like it in college,” she offered, referring primarily to registering for senior year. Ultimately, evaluation of this balance seems to be key. “Assess how much you can handle,” provided Kayman Riley, a junior at Fossil.

Additionally, many upperclassmen (and counselors) place heavy emphasis on completing one’s credit requirements early in high school. “Don’t take electives until you’ve completed all of your credits,” stated Ema Lukinic, a junior at Fossil. Similar advice was contributed by Jaclyn Ambrose, another senior at Fossil. “Try to make your senior year as easy as possible, because taking your senior year nice and easy is relaxing before you go to college, and college is just going to be a load of stress,” she expressed. However, students are not alone in the stance that it’s easier to fulfill one’s credits earlier. “There are freshman who have chosen to take an off-period and they’re going to kick themselves when they’re juniors and seniors and can’t have those off periods. Take those requirements and get them out of the way. It opens up opportunities in your junior and senior year,” disclosed Carolyn Fries, a counselor at Fossil.

Fossil’s counselors were able to input several bits of advice that extended beyond the insight of students. Amongst this, a large amount of focus was placed upon making an informed decision when registering – and then sticking with it. “We talk a lot about being very intentional on your registration card, and being smart about the classes you’re choosing, because our whole schedule is built off those cards,” claimed Fries. The best way to do this, Fries suggests, is research. “It’s really important for students to do their own individual research on classes, because many students just decide to take classes based on what other people say, or what their friends are signing up for,” she stated. “We find a lot of people end up changing because they sign up for classes and it’s different from what their friends told them,” added Jen Smela, another counselor at Fossil. The Fossil Ridge course guide, which provides descriptions of each course at Fossil and recommended class tracks, is available at Additionally, the counselors note that certain options are simply not available at the time of registration. “I wouldn’t say that’s a mistake, but we just can’t register people for that at that time, not that we don’t want people to be TA’s, but a lot of times we have to have people go back and choose another class,” suggested Fries.

However, the counselors did not contribute tips solely for planning. “I would say some of the PE classes get overlooked, like Adventure PE is a cool class, and not a lot of students take it, or Yoga and Fitness, or the Aerobics and Dance classes. I think the PE gets a bad name, just because whatever and our PE departments work really hard to offer really cool classes,” Fries inputted, describing what courses she thought were underappreciated at Fossil. Fossil’s Physical Education department offers a plethora of courses, including Team Sports and Weight Training. Smela also had a perspective to add on what courses are overlooked. “There’s a lot of classes in business and technology that don’t necessarily sound very compelling from the title, but you learn such amazing things in there. AP Computer Science Principles, that’s an amazing class that a lot of people should be taking,” she offered, “but I think to dig a little deeper into what is computer science, people just kind of have an assumption of what that class is. A lot of business and technology classes are overlooked.”

Registration appointments for Fossil students begin February 12 and are located in the media center.