Advanced Courses And Outside Activities

These are some of the things colleges look at when you apply:

  • Grades

  • The kind of courses you take

  • Extracurricular activities — what you do outside of academic classes

Encourage your child to take advanced classes if they can manage them.

  • Aim high but get support. If your child can handle an advanced course but only if they have support, ask for it! It could be a tutor, a study class, or some extra accommodations.

  • If they want to go to college, they should push themselves to take honors or AP classes.

  • AP means Advanced Placement classes.  At the end of the class, students take an AP exam that is the same for students at all high schools.  Taking AP classes will help them get into college.

  • Make sure the IEP gives them as much support as possible.



Image of an exclamation markImage of one person standing out in a crowdIDEA gives all students a legal right to a free and appropriate public education.

If "appropriate" for your child means taking tough classes or preparing for college, then you can push for the supports they need!


Encourage your child to do meaningful activities outside of classes. These are called extracurricular activities.

What does your child like?

  • Sports? 

  • Music, dance, or theater?

  • Art — drawing, painting, or photography?

  • Writing stories?

  • Working with children?

Look for opportunities to help them get involved

  • Talk to your child about how they want to spend time after school.  Try to find things they like and that have some meaning.  (For example, not video games!  But if they like video games, look for a class in video game design.)

  • See if there are clubs at school they'd like.  Newspaper?  Jewelry-making?  Some schools might have teen advocacy groups that work for things like civil rights or helping people in need.

  • Maybe they can volunteer somewhere they like.