Sophomore Course Selection

Elective Courses

Emma Hurley

With 10th grade quickly approaching, freshmen must already begin to select next year’s courses. Most of the decisions involve honors language, math, and/or chemistry. Some ambitious geometry students may try to advance to pre-calc by taking Algebra 2 self-study in the second semester of freshman year. But be warned; the chapter tests are challenging and many students eventually drop the course. Of course, there are a handful of electives available for sophomores. But, for the most part, the only big decision is history.

For the required social studies credit, sophomores have a choice between American Studies and APUSH, aside from regular US history. Let’s break down these two courses. 

With American Studies, history and English are scheduled in the same block. Though they are still two different classes, they tie in with each other using cross-curricular, theme-based learning. Students describe American Studies as essay and project based, which means that there are fewer tests and quizzes. In fact, the final is a combined essay for both English and History, which occurs before exam week and frees up one day of finals. This course dives into themes of our nation’s history and doesn’t necessarily follow a chronological timeline. It is a good fit for students who particularly enjoy writing and creative projects.

AP US History, or, as most refer to it, APUSH, studies in-depth topics relating to the social, economic, and political aspects of our country’s history. Since it is an Advanced Placement program, it is very structured and is the most challenging history option. This class involves unit tests, occasional reading quizzes, in-class essays, group discussions, and extensive note taking. The homework load is somewhat heavy, but certainly not unbearable for well-organized students. And, though there is required summer reading, many people find it to be much easier than they expected. Finally, students celebrate their favorite day of the year in May: the day of the AP exam, which is taken by APUSH students around the country. This class prepares students to receive a 4 or even 5 on the exam, scores that earn college credit. For English, people in both AP and regular US history students take regular English 2 – American Literature. AP US History is best for those who are enthusiastic about history and wish to challenge themselves.