Pathways to Postsecondary Choices

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The Manchester School District has developed a core curriculum designed to give students postsecondary choices upon graduation from high school. While there has always been an emphasis on college readiness for all, not all students want to attend college right out of high school. Entering into a trade or serving in a branch of our Nation’s military are viable and attractive options, as are several other paths for our graduates to follow. It is the desire of the school district to ensure that all students are prepared for whatever their personal future holds and to be certain that they have the skills and knowledge to embrace the choices available when the time comes to leave the Manchester School District.

Along those lines we offer the following suggestions for selecting courses in high school. The compilation of courses under each pathway is the result of reviewing successful  students’ careers in Manchester high schools and the directions they took at graduation. These course selections are only suggestions and not necessarily required for admission to postsecondary programs. Students should work closely with their parents, guidance counselors and teachers to build the very best academic program to meet their individual goals.

Entering the World of Employment

Students who are not planning to attend college and instead want to enter the workforce or military should still consider preparing themselves with the basics of a two-year community college preparatory program, as explained below. While college may not appear possible or attractive right after graduation, it may surface in the years after high school graduation. By following a college prep pathway, such as taking at least two years of a foreign language, students will have the background to enter a college program when they feel they are ready and need not take remedial, noncredit courses to build the required foundation for admission. Further, students should strongly consider enrolling in a two year Career and Technical Education program to fine tune their employability skills and earn a beginning credential upon graduation.

Considering The Two-Year Community College System

Many students today are considering beginning their postsecondary career in a two year community college for several reasons, the most common of which is cost. Four year colleges and universities are becoming increasingly expensive and the two year college is a much better financial alternative for many students. Whether or not a student has decided that the two year Associate’s degree is what they want or s/he wishes to transfer from the community college into a four year for the remaining two years, community colleges are a great way to test the postsecondary waters and make decisions regarding a career.

4 years English

Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 & Trig, Pre-Calculus

Business Electives, including ICT

Career and Technical Education Pathway in any one of the 18 career and technical education programs

Electives in the Arts

Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, Human Anatomy (for health and medical technology occupations), Physics (for drafting, machining, engineering and HVAC occupations)

Health and physical education

3 years of social studies including economics, civics, world history, and U.S. history

2 years of world language (at least)

Enrolling in Four-Year Colleges and Universities

Most four-year college and universities require four (4) years of study in the core content areas and at least two years of a foreign language (taking three or four years is strongly recommended). Foreign languages are not required for high school graduation in New Hampshire so they are considered elective courses and will need to be factored into the schedule each year.

Building a strong foundation and competitive transcript for college admission should be a key factor in deciding what courses to take as well a growing interest in a particular career field. While not every student will pinpoint their career with great certainty while enrolled in high school, there should be some inclination or interest in investigating different career fields. Using the curriculum to explore these interests is highly advisable and performing well in these courses will add great value to the college search.

Students are encouraged to use the following suggestions to build a successful academic transcript while in the Manchester School District. It is recommended that students work closely with parents, guidance counselors and teachers to research specific admissions criteria at attractive college and universities and tailor their program of study to meet those criteria.

Business Management & Administration, Marketing, Economics, Finance, & Hospitality & Tourism 

4 years of English

English Writing and literature electives

Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 & Trig, Pre-Calc or Calculus

4 years of social studies including world history, civics, economics, and U.S. History

3 years of science including biology, physical science, and chemistry or physics.

2 years of same foreign language at minimum, 3 or 4 recommended

Health, physical education, and art/music elective

Electives focused on career interest including business, marketing, and ICT.

Two-year MST CTE programs in Academy of Finance, Culinary Arts, or Marketing.

Architecture & Construction, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Information Technology, Physics, & Chemistry

4 years of English

English Writing and literature electives

Algebra 1*, Geometry*, Algebra 2 & Trig*, Pre-Calc* or Calculus*

4 years of social studies including world history, civics, economics, and U.S. History

4 years of science including biology, biotechnology, physical science*, chemistry* and/or physics.*

2 years of same foreign language at minimum, 3 or 4 recommended

Health, physical education, and art/music elective

Electives focused on career interest including engineering, technology, and ICT*

Two-year MST CTE programs in trades and/or technology

* when possible, AP or highest level available to student

Health and Medical Sciences

4 years of English

English Writing and literature electives

Algebra 1*, Geometry*, Algebra 2 & Trig*, Pre-Calc* or Calculus*

4 years of social studies including world history, civics, economics, and U.S. History

4 years of science including biology*, physical science, chemistry*, and AP Biology

2 years of same foreign language at minimum, 3 or 4 recommended

Health, physical education, and art/music elective

Electives focused on career interest including biotechnology and genetics, human anatomy, and anatomy and physiology

Two-year MST CTE programs in health science and technology

* when possible, AP or highest level available to student

Liberal Arts: Fine Arts, A/V Technology & Communication, Foreign Languages, History, Creative Writing, Literature, Philosophy, Psychology, & Many Others

4 years of English*

English Writing and literature electives* including Journalism, British Literature, College Composition

Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 & Trig, Pre-Calc or Calculus

4 years of social studies including world history*, civics*, economics*, and U.S. History*

4 years of science including biology, physical science, chemistry and physics

4 years of same foreign language*

Health and physical education

Electives focused on career interest including AP Psychology, AP Modern European History, Law, AP Studio Art, Computer Graphics, Painting, Pottery, Sculpture, Music

Two-year MST CTE programs in design communication, game design and graphics, video and digital media production, public safety and law

* when possible, AP or highest level available to student

Life Sciences: Biochemistry, Biology, Botany, Environmental & Agricultural Systems, Marine Biology, & Zoology

4 years of English

English Writing and literature electives

Algebra 1*, Geometry*, Algebra 2 & Trig*, Pre-Calc or Calculus*

3 years of social studies including world history, civics, economics, and U.S. History

4 years of science including biology*, physical science*, chemistry*, biotechnology and genetics

3-4 years of same foreign language

Health, physical education, and arts/music elective

Electives focused on career interest including AP Biology, AP Chemistry, ecology, earth science

Two-year MST CTE programs in Green Technology, Health Science and Technology

* when possible, AP or highest level available to student

Undeclared/Undecided

4 years of English

English Writing and literature electives

Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 & Trig, Pre-Calc or Calculus

3 years of social studies including world history, civics, economics, and U.S. History

4 years of science including biology, physical science, chemistry, and physics

2 years of same foreign language at a minimum, 3 to 4 years recommended

Health, physical education, and arts elective

Electives focused on exploratory and personal interests

Technology education, business, and music electives

Undecided students should enroll in as many courses within the five (5) major content areas as possible (English, math, science, social studies, and world language) to broaden their transcript. Use the electives available to explore possible interests as well as excel in areas of strength. As with all other pathways, seek to enroll in AP or the highest leveled course available.

Pursuit of the Highly-Selective College and/or University

According to The Ivy Coach, Bev Taylor (2015), “of the approximately 3,500 accredited colleges and universities in the U.S., only about 50 of them are considered highly selective. These are schools that typically admit fewer than 25% of all their applicants.” For example, Ivy League Yale University admitted 1,310 of the 26,000 applicants who applied to be members of the Class of 2013, or 5%.  

So what does it take to be part of that 5%? The most critical factor for admission as reported by Ivy League college admissions counselors is the academic transcript. Admissions counselors look for students who truly reached out of their comfort zone and excelled in the most challenging and varied courses. Granted, admissions offices also rely on the strength of the applicant’s leadership experiences in co-curricular activities and the community-at-large, but the transcript remains the number one make or break it reason for acceptance.

4 years of English* including AP Literature, AP Language and Composition or American Studies

English Writing and literature electives*

4-5 years of math including Algebra 1 (taken in middle school), Geometry* (possible in middle school), Algebra 2 & Trig*, Pre-Calculus*, AP Calculus, AP Statistics

4 years of social studies including AP World History, civics*, AP Microeconomics, AP Macroeconomics, and AP U.S. History*

4-5 years of science including biology*, physical science*, chemistry* and physics*

4-5 years of same foreign language*

Health* and physical education

Electives focused on broad interests including AP Psychology, AP Modern European History

Band* or Orchestra*

Students should enroll in as many higher level and AP courses as possible within the five (5) core content areas and, when possible, take as many higher level electives as possible to demonstrate wide-ranging proficiency in many different subject areas without sacrificing the major academic course offerings.