By Lauren Olszaniecki
I’ve had the pleasure of emailing with some senior Richview students, and they have many, many great insights to share. A common theme is taking at least one course that will help you later on in life.
TL; DR spares are useful in non-semestered times, but can make you lazy in quadmestered times. You can even take two spares in grade 12, however Financial Securities may be advisable. Summer school generally gets you higher grades, and unless specifically stated, most post-secondary institutions don’t look down upon summer school. Courses like heavy science aren’t recommended if they aren’t needed, and data management is a good math course for those who struggle with the subject. For younger students, grade 10 media arts and grade 11 marketing are the way to go.
One grade 12 recommends taking a spare. This helps especially in non-semestered (or non-quadmestered) times, and can be handy when needing to apply for post-secondary, a job, or both, depending on the time of year it’s scheduled in. Fair warning, though, it’s easy to get lazy during a spare on our current quadmester schedule.
This student also recommends a course taken purely for enjoyment of the subject matter- this time, not for the point of being lazy, but for the point of a break from other courses. I wholeheartedly look forward to grade 12 and the possibility of a spare. If, like me, you’ve taken summer school courses and technically have all required courses, you can even take two spares because only six course slots are required to be filled in grade 12. If, unlike me, you only have six courses you want to take, go for it.
A second student recommends a grade 12 Financial Securities course, which to me, sounds like a great use of your time. This course covers concepts that some graduates wish school had taught them, such as “mortgages, how to avoid and reduce debt, how income tax and other taxes work, how the stock market works, and countless other ideas.” And the best part is that there are no prerequisites, so you can feel free to take this course at any time! It’s part of the interdisciplinary studies branch, and brings together math, history, business, finance, and economics. Allow me to quote myBlueprint, the course selection website, on what the course content covers: “many aspects of financial management… capital markets and the ways in which capital is acquired… the stock market… stocks, bonds, and mutual funds… macroeconomic theory… the Canadian taxation system.” This is useful for understanding the fundamentals of business, deciding whether it’s interesting to you and whether a career in this field could be in your future.
Speaking of career paths, the first student recommends picking your courses based on a direction, even one with a large scope such as business, the trades, arts, or sciences. This is why high schools are designed the way they are: to let you get a taste of everything, and then let you decide where you want to go from there. Electives really open up in grade 11 and 12, and that’s where you can start to choose your path even more robustly.
I’ve taken a summer school course and I plan to again this summer. As mentioned, only certain post-secondary institutions dislike summer school courses and are less likely to accept your application. What may affect your admission is repeating a sixth course in the summer before you enter higher education; this delays when your final mark can be calculated and submitted, and therefore delays your potential offer of admission.
Adding onto the summer school course piece, one student comments that many Richview students take summer school courses instead of risking one of Richview’s hard-marking teachers. Very often, a summer school course is a “mark-booster”. It’s not difficult to handle when there are no other responsibilities on your plate. However don’t assume it’s easy and take it on the side with a full-time or even part-time job, because that’ll make your life far too complicated.
Another way to simplify your life at school is by not taking multiple sciences or maths unless it’s part of your career plan. For students who genuinely enjoy and excel at these courses, I encourage you to go for it! But these are a rare few. It can be absolutely draining, both during our former non-semestered time, and especially during short quadmesters with accelerated learning and testing – everything goes four times faster than usual, meaning that study time is reduced by a factor of four.
Data management can be a useful course for those who need a grade 12 math course for post-secondary, but are dreading the heavy workload, or as our first grade 12 student states, “super bad at math”. An efficient way to get that credit is your grade 11 mixed-level functions, then your grade 12 mathematics of data management.
For current grade 9 and 10 students, this may seem overwhelming. You’re welcome to just bookmark this page and come back to it in a few years. But since you’re here, I’ll give you some advice from the same grade 12 that recommended the Financial Securities course: grade 10 media arts and grade 11 marketing are really great courses. For those who hate tests, grade 10 media is reported to not have a single test throughout the entire year! It’s all “creative and unique assignments”, and I imagine the curriculum could be easily adapted to an online format without any concerns about cheating, since these assignments encourage research.
For business-oriented minds, grade 11 marketing has no prerequisites and the teaching style rewards diligent, hard work. “How businesses choose their target markets, how pricing works, how to market your product properly, and so much more,” is a way to look into the world of business and see how the marketing of goods, services, and events is handled, or even just for a reflection on how your choices are driven by marketing.
Choosing your courses might seem simple, but if you look and reflect on where you want to go, it’s all crystal clear. Your next year at Richview will be great. So have fun, dream big, and worry less- you’ve got this!