Course sequencing? What does this mean? Imagine your son or daughter is a junior about to choose courses for his or her senior year and realizes that certain courses are not available due to prerequisites. No big deal, right? Well, because colleges value the rigor of coursework and standardized test success is correlated with subject matter mastery and how challenging courses are, more selective colleges may need to be taken off the application list. Moreover, some classes of interest to a student may also not be available, thus limiting content they would have otherwise wanted to study.
When to begin? 8th grade. When thinking about how challenging a course load, and which courses to take, scope out with an advisor or counselor how the course sequencing plays out over the next few years. The purpose is not to think about this decision in the context of college planning, alone — thinking like this could add unnecessary stress to the decision of the student. But, this decision is not just an “off transcript” 8th-grade decision. Whenever possible, take that more rigorous course if possible, but provide the student with the support (study skills training, soft skills training, and tutoring if necessary) until he or she can become more self-sufficient.